"Come on, man!"
You've likely heard Joe Biden utter these words before. It's his way of deflecting. He says it quite often, along with "Give me a break!" and even more to the point, "You're full of shit." Why is Biden so defensive? Because, increasingly, he is entangled in a web of lies. Flat-out lies, not the gaffes for which he is so well known.
Biden's pivot to the far left is the root cause for some of his lying. Decades of his moderate past don't jibe with Joe 2.0 and his devotion to the Green New Deal and other socialist daydream legislation.
Last night's debate cemented Biden's positions. It also exposed him as a shameless liar. Far be it for host CNN to hold Biden accountable. Moderators had ample opportunity to hold his feet to the fire, but instead went after Bernie Sanders, no surprise there.
How does an affable guy like Uncle Joe become such a slimy, mendacious snake?
The behavior model on display is similar to that of a small-time criminal who, caught in the act, claims passionately that he didn't do anything, over and over. In the mind of the criminal, no misdeed occurred because he was caught before he completed the crime. For Biden, it's the opposite: his support for cutting social security, for instance, was a political lifetime ago. That was a different guy, he's silently pleading to the public. I'm the other Biden. Gimme a break.
In the breezy catacombs of his mind, Biden is innocent, immune to ethical judgment because the alleged crimes of his general election opponent are so awful. If I have to lie to win and take on Trump, well, the end justifies the means.
So Biden took the stage last night and told a slew of baldfaced whoppers. His strategy became clear: if Sanders goes left, go with him. Say whatever it takes to avoid Sanders claiming victory. Confuse him, lie--just avoid a loss.
It started with the above exchange about Super PAC money. To be clear, Biden pledged at the beginning of his campaign that he wouldn't take Super PAC donations. He was trying to be like Bernie, who famously eschews corporate funding. It's the foundation of the Sanders story. It's like the Geico ad: everybody knows that.
Biden went back on his pledge when funds dried up in October. He quickly and quietly formed the "Unite the Country" PAC. Biden knew he was vulnerable on this point--the swamp creature beholden to corporate cash. So he chose to sling mud.
Biden had the temerity to lie about PAC money, wildly claiming that Bernie takes money from "nine" Super PACs. CNN gave Biden the break he's always requesting, moving on to the next question. Sanders, to his discredit, let it go. Embarrassing for everyone involved.
What about social security?
Biden was in fact one of the few vocal supporters of cutting social security over the course of his career, but he denied as much to Sanders, to the senator's astonishment. Indeed, Sanders was so floored by Biden's balls to the wall approach, he was unable to make the lie stick. Same with Biden refusing to support gay marriage on the debate stage twelve years ago.
Verifiable lies. One after another.
The next one--the credit card "bankruptcy bill" Biden helped to write--is especially ugly, because it involved Biden's great albatross, his disgraced son Hunter. The bill decimated the ability of families to file for bankruptcy. The effects of its passage (signed into law by George W. Bush) were exacerbated in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008. Biden supported it because 21 year-old Hunter was working as a consultant to MBNA, a bank, and the largest employer in Delaware.
Biden hurt middle class families across the entire country so his derelict son could make money on a no-show job. Why do I say no-show? Because 21 year-old skirt chasers with a Poli. Sci. major and a beer-soaked diploma from the state U don't possess any wisdom that a large bank would find valuable.
Not only is the initial sin an awful one, but to then lie about it is utter folly. Trump won't be as kind as lights-out-in-the-cottage Sanders. This is red meat. Joe is dead meat.
While "social distancing" insured no danger of actual fisticuffs, as Biden might put it, there were some aggressive looks telegraphed across the stage during the Grumpy Old Man hour on CNN (see tweet below).
The next lie is a more fluid situation, or it was until last night. Biden had wrangled the endorsement of Pennsylvania governor Conor Lamb by claiming that he would keep fracking and drilling jobs alive in his state if elected. The issue? Only the economic health of oil and coal states like Pennsylvania.
Biden might have assuaged Democrats across the country during the debate, but his desperate promise of no drilling or fracking surely lost him a lot of Democrat and Independent voters in key swing states. Again, it's as though Biden would do anything to finally snuff out the barely-Berning candle that is Sanders' campaign.
Then there's the pandering to black voters. Why do Democrats get away with this? From RealClear Politics:
"This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid," Biden told voters in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 11, in a story about his time as the Democratic senator from Delaware. "I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on [Robben] Island."
With Sanders reaching black voters, Biden retold his lie about Mandela at a black history awards brunch in Las Vegas, and even added some Bidenesque embellishments.
"He threw his arms around me and said, 'I want to say thank you,'" Biden told supporters. "I said, 'What are you thanking me for, Mr. President?' He said: 'You tried to see me. You got arrested trying to see me.' "
Saving Face? Biden has Bell's Palsy, or at least a bad Botox reaction
Want to see something remarkable? Skip to 15:25 in the video below. This is from a disastrous town hall in Illinois on the 14th, where the Biden team got everything wrong. Biden's left eye--yes, the same one that filled with blood during a town hall in September of 2019--seems to shut of its own accord. Biden, to compensate for this loss of control, walks out of the frame, presumably to the corner of the imaginary boxing ring to see his cut man, then shuffles back into place.
This is a different kind of dishonesty. Biden is lying about his health. Indeed, he took and passed a physical exam in December, but his doctor claimed that he didn't perform the cognitive function battery of testing. My guess is that he did, and Biden failed. Why else would he allow such an omission, all the more glaring by its absence?
Let's be clear about Biden: he's a liar. His has been a long run, and he's suffered more than his share of tragedy. His bad decisions have been made to try to benefit his family and friends (the Biden chapter of Peter Schweizer's "Profiles in Corruption" is damning), and any parent understands that impulse.
But to be exposed as a common, base liar? That doesn't fit the carefully cultivated image of straight-talking, "No Malarkey" Joe Biden.
That dissonance will be his undoing once someone makes his lies stick.