The New York Times admitted Wednesday that former Vice President Joe Biden is not pivoting toward the center, as most candidates do when they have secured their party’s nomination. Rather, he is moving to the left — toward embracing what the Times refers to as “systemic disruption.”
Biden was already the most left-wing frontrunner in U.S. electoral history. Now he has adopted the rhetoric of the far left as well, calling the coronavirus an opportunity “to fundamentally transform the country.”
Then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) made a similar promise on the campaign trail in 2008, telling voters they were just days away from “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” The country was in the midst of the financial crisis, and desperate for new leadership. After Obama won, his incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, infamously said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The new administration focused on big, ideological changes — not the ailing economy.
Biden was happy to go along with all of that. He called the passage of Obamacare a “big f—ing deal” on an open mic. But Biden himself was not a radical. Nor was he a moderate. His record in the Senate was wildly inconsistent, driven more by political expediency than ideological convictions.
The main skill Biden brought to the Obama administration was his ability to schmooze fellow Senators — a skill that was largely neglected, as Obama was uninterested in negotiating with Congress.
Biden wants to take the country back to “normal” — where “normal” means fulfilling Obama’s most ambitious policies: taxing the rich, throwing open the country’s borders to illegal aliens, ending the fossil fuel industry, moving toward socialized medicine, and sending money to regimes that support terrorism.
Biden made the bizarre comment earlier this month that he sees himself as a “transition” candidate. He has no vision of his own. His job is to be a bridge between the muted radicalism of Obama and the revolutionary zeal of the new “resistance.”
Biden said that he was “making way for the Mayor Petes of the world to come into my administration.” But this week, he brought Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) onto his team, alongside other radicals. That is who will drive the agenda.
In March, Biden floated his potential Cabinet picks. Aside from Pete Buttigieg and a few other former presidential rivals, many of them were old Obama hands: former Secretary of State John Kerry, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and more.
Biden’s new and expanded team, however, looks more like a Sanders administration. In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, who will co-chair Biden’s panel on climate change, Biden has recruited Stephanie Kelton, a former Sanders adviser who is described as “the foremost evangelist of a fringe economic movement called Modern Monetary Theory, which, in part, argues that the government should pay for programs requiring big spending, such as the Green New Deal, by simply printing more money.”
All campaigns have teams of advisers. With Biden, however, they are particularly important, as the candidate himself is old, ailing, and isolated. (New York magazine reported this week that “none of Biden’s top advisers have seen him in person since mid-March.”)
A Biden presidency would function as a regency, run by Obama alumni in pursuit of Sanders policies. Neither he nor his vice president would lead these groups, but take direction from them. The real power would be behind the scenes.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.