For months, Joe Biden has lead the majority of the national polling tracking the Democratic primary for the Presidency, despite not officially running. As of today, he’s in… which makes it as good a time as any to look at just what he’s all about. You know, something more substantial than him being an older male version of Kirsten Gillibrand or the second coming of Hillary Clinton.
The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy…everything that has made America — America –is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019
When it comes to monetary policy, the “Obama-Biden plan” called for a “rapid, aggressive response” from government agencies like the Federal Reserve to use more “authority” than they have in the past. He supported “injecting capital” into Wall Street in order to encourage more lending at a time the market was struggling to correct itself from exuberance and liquidate bad debt. To that end, he worked to offer more assurances and credit to the big banks, which his party among others roundly criticized for exacerbating the underlying crisis in the first place. Essentially, his response was to prop up big banks and support policies that consolidated the power of the larger institutions at the expense of community banks, savers, and the stability of the system absent easy money. He does, after all, seem like he’d listen to “Hotel California”.
When it comes to social security, he opposes private accounts, raising the retirement age, lockboxing the trust fund, and limiting public debt. He’s voiced concern over the risk of retirement funds in the market, while remaining silent about the risks of lending 12.4% of income earmarked for retirement to the general fund through treasury purchases (and seems to have no qualms about using the proceeds to buy bombs). Congress, the entity that got us into $22 trillion dollars in debt and growing, is seen by Biden as the safer bet than the market (which has consistently grown, especially over time horizons as long as ‘working years’, and recovered quickly from it’s various recessions).
Few Democrats have remained as consistently pro-drug war as Uncle Joe. His influence over drug policy and mass incarceration was instrumental in the 80s to advancing Reagan’s failed approach, having ridden the “tough-on-crime” wave since the early 70s. He’s supported civil asset forfeiture, mandatory minimums, mass incarceration, and the militarization of the police. He’s supported the concept of a “drug czar” (and wrote the law establishing the office) since 1982, supported drug propaganda efforts, and his signature legislative accomplishment in the 90s was the ’94 crime bill. He didn’t just spearhead the effort, it was known as “The Biden Crime Law”. He was, literally, the chair of the “International Narcotics Control Caucus”. He has yet to take ownership for the vast majority of these things, and is one of the few Democrats running that actively opposes the legalization of pot.
It’s hard to find an example of a subsidy he doesn’t support, from banks to agriculture, from federal involvement in local infrastructure projects to energy companies including oil. He admits government subsidies have increased tuition costs, yet voted for increasing those subsidies all the same. He’s openly supported deficit spending directed at stimulus, and never seems to oppose giving just about everyone a piece of the pie from just about everyone else. The only subsidy it seems he ever opposed was for companies that hired foreign workers.
Likewise, it’s hard to imagine a war he refused to support. In Africa, he supported involvement in Darfur and thinks NATO got Libya right (despite Obama’s violation of the war powers act and the fact that it ended with open-air slave markets). In Europe, he not only supported intervention in the Balkans, he called his success in pushing for American intervention over the initial objections of both Bush and Clinton his “proudest moment in public life” on foreign policy. He voted for the war in Iraq, and worse—he was calling for a war in Iraq to dethrone Saddam since 1998. He has described himself as a “Zionist”, claiming “there is no daylight between the US and Israel” on foreign policy. He’s one of the most hawkish Democrats in the race, and compared to candidates like Mike Gravel and Tulsi Gabbard, he may as well be Dick Cheney. Compared to the rest, he’s at very least the new Joe Lieberman.
Many have labeled him as a “centrist”, but I’m not sure the label actually fits. Booker, Buttigieg, and Harris are centrists, while Joe’s in a category all his own. More fitting than ‘centrism’ is that he’s extreme on plenty of issues by today’s standards, but some of his extreme positions aren’t even in the same direction that the modern Democratic base actually wants. From a party that prides itself on being ‘progressive’, he’s a regressive stuck on standards of the party that existed when he first got into Congress in 1973… too old to change and too proud to pass the torch.
From a liberty perspective, as a general rule, the worse a Democrat is on domestic economics, the better they tend to be on foreign policy and civil liberties… and vice versa. With Biden, Democrats are presented with a candidate that takes the worst positions of Democrats and mixes it with the worst positions of Republicans.
And that’s all without even ‘touching’ how inappropriate or creepy his not-quite groping may be.
If Biden remains the front-runner, I’ll take my free pony and secret dental police, thank you very much.