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Assault on America, Day 404: Biden’s facade candidacy implodes from lack of real substance

Joe Biden Candidacy
What do Democrat national poll leader Joe Biden's presidential candidacy and the fictional town of Rock Ridge (of Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles fame) have in common?

Anyone? Stumped? They're both facades with nothing supporting them! I know, some of you might've (just as correctly) answered, “They're both turning into sh-t”, but you'd have to remember all the words from “The Ballad of Rock Ridge” to understand the meaning of the ditty. Let’s call it bonus points for anyone who came up with either credited response.

No matter. The fallout from last Monday’s Iowa caucuses continues gently raining down from the political heavens and it’s looking awful grim for the former Obama veep’s chances of ever taking the top job’s oath of office. As of this writing, it’s still not clear whether all of the numbers have been tabulated and which Democrat hopeful/horse ended up in the winner’s circle. Thirty-something former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Boot-edge-edge) still clings to a microscopic lead over Vermont Senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, who is more than twice the younger guy’s age. Curiously, Sanders got more total votes than Buttigieg, but he wasn’t declared the winner. What is this, the Electoral College?

The two Democrat wannabes are so close they might actually end up tied. Wouldn’t that be fun? Regardless of which candidate comes out ahead, it won’t be by much. Both should be considered Iowa winners, a fact that won’t make the Democrat establishment very happy. Don’t forget Hillary Clinton edged out Sanders by a quarter point in 2016 and the Bernie brains are still crying foul. It’ll be even worse this time if their man isn’t awarded the gold medal. The impending Democrat party crackup might arrive well ahead of prognostications. If they can’t even get their elections right -- and impeachment was an unmitigated disaster -- what’s the reason to go on?

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren seems to have solidified her hold on third place, snatching the last of the proverbial three tickets out of Iowa. Which leaves Grampa Joe, and to a slightly lesser extent, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (who finished fifth, a few points behind Biden), wondering where he/she stands. As is often the case, Iowa won’t necessarily determine who will be president as much as it shines a glaring spotlight on who won’t be living in the White House, and right now, Joe and family (does this include Hunter and his babe of the moment?) shouldn’t bother with measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.

Or maybe they’d prefer blinds, which can be partially opened to let in a little illumination. By nature, the Bidens don’t exactly appreciate the full light of day lest it expose something they’re not comfortable sharing with the public. Talk about skeletons in the closet. Creepy Joe’s been in politics so long he's got a whole graveyard’s worth of bones stashed away in his mental storage capacity somewhere. And he’s so scatterbrained and memory-challenged that he doesn’t know where to search for them anymore, either.

Though the candidate himself doesn’t exhibit many telltale signs of worry concerning his underwhelming Iowa finish, there’s plenty to be anxious about if you’re an establishment Biden backer trying to figure a way forward for the chap. Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo reported at Politico, “… Biden’s unexpectedly weak performance Monday … has provoked frustration and recriminations within the campaign, according to interviews with more than a dozen campaign aides and surrogates.

“Donors needed to be calmed. Staffers began pointing fingers over what exactly went wrong. The campaign parted ways with its Iowa field director, Adrienne Bogen. Outside the campaign, Biden’s Iowa train wreck revived questions about the durability of his candidacy, and threatened to slow a fundraising operation that was already showing signs of stress.

“’We had precinct captains who didn’t know how to run a caucus. And a few didn’t even show. We lost friggin’ people on the second ballot of voting in the caucus. Someone’s head had to roll,’ said a top-level Biden campaign staffer Wednesday.”

Sure, someone’s head had to roll, and it couldn’t be the candidate’s, could it? Biden’s people weren’t the only ones taken in by the supposedly unbiased polls and overconfidence. Yours truly famously predicted a second place finish for ‘ol back slappin’, hair sniffin’ good guy Grampa Joe in Iowa last week. I based my guess on the opinion surveys but also the fact the other potential establishment choices just weren’t very enticing. Everyone knew Bernie Sanders would do well there because he’d almost taken the state four years ago, but who would’ve thought Iowans would anoint the still-wet-behind-the-ears Buttigieg as their de facto first choice (or co-winner)?

The kooky Iowa caucus system allows meeting attendees to switch candidates practically on a whim, which basically means if someone isn’t real set on one particular contender there will be opportunities to change rides in mid-race, so to speak, without fully committing to anyone until the very end. By the looks of it, where Biden wasn’t “viable” -- meaning where he didn’t command at least 15 percent of the precinct votes -- his supporters bailed on him wholesale and flocked to Buttigieg.

The same probably happened to Amy Klobuchar’s initial backers. Anecdotal evidence indicates both Biden and Klobuchar didn’t have a large enough following to maintain “viability” in a huge number of precincts. That’s bad in Iowa. It also means Buttigieg, as a great many people’s apparent second choice, probably outperformed his actual numbers, inflating his importance as the New Hampshire primary looms.

Then there was the viral video of a woman discovering that “Mayor Pete” is a married (to a man) homosexual and asked for her vote back. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Click on the link and watch the clip -- see Buttigieg’s precinct captain trying to persuade the woman she’s wrong about being bothered by a man wedding a man. These are strange times, indeed.

But Biden’s problems go much, much deeper than merely finishing behind the two socialists (Sanders and “Pocahontas” Warren) and a fresh-faced gay dude with a nearly blank political resume. If Biden were a more inspiring choice and offered a real message (other than, “I’m not Trump! Let’s restore the soul of the nation” … or something like that) people would organically become enthused about him, at least to the point where they’d give up their time to come to a caucus site and stay with his organizers until allowed to depart.

There were plenty of clues concerning the weakness of Biden’s candidacy prior to last Monday’s caucuses. For months he’s struggled to draw sizable crowds to his Iowa events -- which again, points to a lack of organization, but also indicates too few felt amped enough about the man to seek him out. Compare it to Trump’s efforts in 2016. The eventual GOP nomination winner didn’t do much traditional political advertising yet the candidate never had difficulty getting people to his appearances. And Ted Cruz had a much better “on the ground” data operation than Joe’s.

Instead of leaning on tried-and-true grassroots organizing methods, Biden relied on his oversized ego and status as national polling leader to fuel his campaign. He also rested on the notion that he was the most “electable” Democrat in the race, the one quality Democrat voters seemingly cared about above substance. Trump-hate in a place like Iowa doesn’t exist in great quantities, however, so caucus-goers clearly wanted more. For Joe, there just wasn’t anything to give them except platitudes, a promise to fix healthcare (which he was supposed to get right with Obamacare, wasn’t he?) and his vast Washington experience.

Aside from this, there’s the Trump outsider effect. Lots of people, Democrats included, swear Trump has changed American politics forever. And he has. Americans’ expectations have been elevated to a point where warmed-over plain-wrap ruling elite candidates like Biden just won’t cut it any longer. It’s the main reason why a crotchety Soviet-loving commie near octogenarian like Bernie Sanders is doing so well -- and it’s not necessarily just because young kids dig his issue platform (though the gimme-gimme crowd is always partial to handouts and income redistribution). They gravitate to Bernie because he represents change from the discredited old guard, of which Biden is a charter member.

A little exercise will demonstrate the assertion. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Trump’s name? MAGA. Twitter. Rallies with chanting crowds. Winning. Punching back. How about Bernie Sanders? Socialist. Redistributionist. Climate Change nut. Amnesty proponent. Old. Heart Attack. Kook. Anti-establishment…. One positive attribute, most not so good.

Now, Joe Biden? Obama’s buddy. Gaffes. Groping. Plagiarism. Longtime Democrat. Family corruption. Mean. Old. Amtrak. Grumpy. Moderate (even though he’s not). Been in Washington forever. What’s there to get excited about? Biden himself argues he should be the Democrat nominee because he can “get stuff done,” but what exactly is he talking about? Then there’s his unrelenting airy political puffery, promising to “restore the soul of the nation” after Trump. What the heck does that even mean? Where’s the soul found? Isn’t it invisible?

For what it’s worth, Biden’s people think he will recover from his Iowa malaise. From the Politico piece cited above, “’This was a knock. But he admitted it. He’s going to get up and keep going and fight even harder,’ said Sarah Morgenthau, a Biden donor and fundraiser. ‘Showing that strength and resilience shows that Joe Biden magic. It’s not just that big smile. It’s that he has that ability to identify with the struggles of everyday Americans.’”

Big smile? Is she serious? Huh? How does Joe Biden, in DC for nearly a half-century, “identify with the struggles of everyday Americans”? This quote sums up Biden’s foibles in a nutshell. Joe cratered in Iowa because he’s a hollow dud as a person and as a politician and always has been. And now he’s got the impeachment failure to deal with, a crippling hinderance. S.A. Miller and Stephen Dinan reported at The Washington Times, “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden … called his poor showing in Iowa’s kick-off caucuses a ‘gut punch.’ If so, it’s a punch delivered largely by his own party’s obsession with impeachment, which has put the one-time Democratic front-runner’s record in the spotlight and raised questions about his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China…

“Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Biden had Iowa mostly to themselves over the last couple of weeks as Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernard Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were trapped in Washington for the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump. The timing — the result of Mrs. Pelosi’s decision to refuse to send over the articles of impeachment for a month — could not have been worse for them.

“In those weeks, Mr. Buttigieg soared and Mr. Biden slid. The current results from Iowa put Mr. Buttigieg in first in delegates awarded, and Mr. Biden a disappointing fourth.”

Impeachment will likely end up killing Biden’s final run for president, but as argued above, there wasn’t much of a foundation for his candidacy to begin with. All along Joe chose to defend his son against some pretty obvious charges of political favoritism. It’s a choice he made… and the man chose his family over being president.

So be it.

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