Feehery: Are you better off now than you were 47 years ago?

Feehery: Are you better off now than you were 47 years ago?
© Getty Images

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

That was the question that Ronald Reagan asked Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWhy Joe Biden should pardon Donald Trump Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE during the final debate of the 1980 election, a question that helped turn the tide for the Republican and swept him into office.

Are you better off now than you were forty-seven years ago?


That’s the question that President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE should ask Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE in tonight’s first debate.

For almost five decades, Biden has toiled in the halls of Congress and in the swamp known as Washington, D.C., and in that time our capital city has undergone a remarkable transition, from a sleepy backwater to a powerful financial hub.

Biden’s tenure in Washington is symbolic of a broader shift of wealth, power and privilege from the center of the country to the Acela corridor.

Almost every vote taken by Biden has helped to accelerate that transition.

Biden voted for trade policies that helped shift manufacturing jobs from the heartland of America to countries with lower labor costs. He voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and for permanent normal trade relations with the Chinese.


It was reported a few months ago that Wall Street bankers are helping to fund the Biden campaign. Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown calls on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign Biden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics MORE, who made his money providing services to the financial sector, promised to spend $100 million to turn Florida blue for Biden. That should come as no surprise. As a long-time representative of the financial industry — Delaware being a no-tax state for the big banks — Biden voted to make it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy in 2005, but when almost every major financial institution teetered on the brink of disaster in 2008, his final vote as a senator was on the second installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout.

It’s not just Biden’s votes that are problematic. It’s his judgement.

Despite being on the Foreign Relations Committee for decades, where you think he would have learned something, Biden’s track record on national security issues has been glaringly bad. As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it, Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” He voted against the initial successful removal of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in the 1990s, but for the misguided invasion of Iraq in 2003. He came out against the successful surge in 2006 and when he was vice president, he advised that the operation to kill Osama bin Laden not move forward.

The nation is currently bracing for a nasty Supreme Court fight. Trump has nominated an extremely qualified candidate who has the right experience and temperament to be an outstanding Supreme Court justice. But because of the precedent started when Biden presided over the nomination of Robert Bork as the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, we can expect Amy Coney Barrett to be viciously and personally attacked by the left. If you wonder why the voters have lost some measure of faith in our justice system, you can thank the leadership of Joe Biden.

Forty-seven years ago, things in America weren’t perfect by any means. But we did have a stronger middle class, we had a stronger manufacturing base, we had less stress on the average family and we had a healthier and happier society.

Biden isn’t solely to blame for America’s current troubles, but he is emblematic of a Washington culture that typically ignores the struggles of everyday Americans, especially those who live outside the Acela corridor.

For close to five decades, Biden has taken a train service that has been subsidized by the federal government to work every day. Amtrak is a perfect symbol of the self-dealing which has alienated the rest of America from our nation’s capital. It uses taxpayer money to serve the elite while providing almost no service to the rest of the people.

Joe Biden is a nice guy and a great politician, but for 47 years, he has served the interests not of the country but of the political establishment that so strongly supports him today. That’s what Donald Trump should be focused on in the debate later tonight.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: To move past Trump, Republicans have to think local Revising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Feehery: Trump disloyal to the Constitution and the American people MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).