With campaigning and debating covered, the left now must simply excuse Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says he didn't 'overpromise' Finland PM pledges 'extremely tough' sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine Russia: Nothing less than NATO expansion ban is acceptable MORE from governing. At each juncture, Biden becomes an increasingly silent partner in his presidential run. No longer offering a pretense of presence, America should wonder whether he would govern at all as president.
No one can accuse liberals of subtlety. Only the “Dance of the Seven Veils” is more of a mystery than Biden’s shrinking profile. Last week, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman removed another veil by laying the groundwork for Biden to duck the presidential debates.
Friedman candidly stated every liberal’s concern about Biden leaving his basement — especially for events so public and important as nationally televised debates: “I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE. He should do it only under two conditions.” Of course, the real “conditions” the left really want are “hell” and “no.”
Why would Biden refrain from ducking the debates? Biden’s campaign has rationalized avoiding everything else to the point that his 2020 New Year’s resolution appears to have been seclusion. Biden’s steady progression of isolation is now nothing less than a sprint for cover.
During Biden’s Senate career, each office had an “auto-pen,” a machine calibrated to perfectly replicate signatures of absent, or too busy, Senators. The auto-pen gave the official appearance of presence in absence. It is the perfect metaphor for Biden’s presidential bid.
His campaign has been a complete self-transformation. For encroaching on half a century, Biden crafted a Washington career from just “being there.” Despite six Senate terms, he authored no particularly illustrious legislation. He then spent eight years as vice president, Washington’s ultimate “being there” office. Throughout both, he was a nondescript moderate — more visible than memorable.
Over the last two years, he has gone from nondescript moderate to unabashed left. Biden has also gone from “being there” to seeming “not all there” in the Democratic primaries, to not being there at all in the general election.
Like the Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland,” he has slowly disappeared, consigning away piecemeal elements comprising a campaign.
Floundering in the primaries, Biden adopted leftist positions to ingratiate himself to the party’s majority. Still fending off former foe Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema White House to make 400 million N95 masks available for free MORE (I-Vt.), he promised a woman the vice president selection; now the strong hint is for a minority woman.
When media exposure exposed him, the campaign recused him from all but simple, scripted encounters, allowing the media to ghostwrite the storyline. Then it was realized there was no upside to him outside, and no downside to him staying inside. Biden was relegated to his basement.
Next went the convention. Now, the debates are teetering. Presuming Biden must show up for inauguration, all that remains for consignment would be governing. Of course, this is where the consignments started: With Biden bequeathing his agenda to the left.
It is a small wonder why the left salivates for Biden’s victory. Sure, they want Trump gone, but never has their agenda had a less obstructed path than with a Biden presidency. His is their best chance for an agenda America would not otherwise accept, but one Biden is only too happy to — if it just allows him to “be there.” The left’s agenda and Biden’s name: The auto-pen works just fine for both.
Biden 2020 directly contrasts with Biden 40-plus. Before, moderate; now, left. Before, always just there; now, never so. He has become the anti-Waldo: Instead of being found in every picture, Joe is now in none.
Joe Biden is trying to disprove the axiom that you can’t beat something with nothing. The problem is that in accepting nothing, America will get something they do not like: The left. In perhaps 2020’s strangest turn of events, this year’s White House race includes a candidate running from the race.
J.T. Young served under President George W. Bush as the director of communications in the Office of Management and Budget and as deputy assistant secretary in legislative affairs for tax and budget at the Treasury Department. He served as a congressional staffer from 1987 through 2000.