In another jarring about-face, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Oct. 10 scolded President Donald Trump for shutting down the U.S. economy over the coronavirus. This peculiar new line of assault comes after Biden has repeatedly attacked Trump for not doing enough to combat the health pandemic and even vowed if elected to close down the country himself were he advised to do so.
“No, look, he’s [Trump] the guy that shut it down,” Biden told a reporter in Erie, PA, when asked if he would support a nationwide lockdown. “Let’s get this straight, he shut it down.”
The sudden switch is similar to Biden’s breathtaking defiance on fracking. The Democrat adamantly claims he has never posed a threat to the industry, despite a year’s worth of easily documented statements to the contrary. In our Internet Age, hot topics become ancient history in days. But can a major presidential candidate openly reverse course on clearly stated comments to such a bold degree without facing blowback from voters?
It’s the Shallowness, Not the Dishonesty
Yes, Team Biden can count on the establishment media to run cover all the way. Just do a Google search on “Biden,” “fracking,” and “fact check” if you have any doubts about that. But can such distortion mask a far more severe flaw inherent in Biden’s ultra-casual flip-flopping? Biden’s duplicitous words appear worse than hypocritical. They seem meaningless. And here lies the danger. How do you get people motivated to turn out for a transparently vacuous candidate?
We now witness the rather predictable second half of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary being played out. The leftist pandering from that circus was so extreme that it bordered on the comical at times. Everyone raise your hands if you want to give illegal aliens government health care!
Campaigns have traditionally appealed to the party’s ideological base in primaries and then moved toward the middle in the general election. There are more subtle ways to do this, by utilizing nuance and stressing particular policy agendas above others. That way party nominees can avoid coming off as nothing but opportunists as they make a notable but smooth change of direction.
But what happens when a campaign deliberately refuses to talk about its agenda? Biden’s widely reported remark on Oct. 9 that voters “don’t deserve” to know whether he would help Democrats pack the U.S. Supreme Court if elected is more than just a gaffe. It is a major-party standard-bearer in a two-man race refusing to tell the American people what he stands for. This has been the hallmark of Biden’s unique “stay under wraps” campaign.
Harping on dark and dystopian themes of life in Trump’s America similarly serves that purpose. With all this in mind, sharp U-turns from previously pronounced positions on significant issues start to make more sense.
No Substance Means No Direction
The Democrat primary tilted so far left that Biden had no choice but to directly contradict his many spirited statements against fracking. And a campaign that exists only to react against Trump instead of stake out its own identity won’t be bound to a consistent line of reasoning on the coronavirus or any other issue.
This is how a rudderless Biden can suddenly slap at Trump for shutting down the economy after sternly vowing less than two months ago to do just that if the “scientists” told him to. He never had a core position. It was always about using the issue to attack his opponent.
“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden told ABC News anchor David Muir on Aug. 23 in his “first joint interview” with Harris after selecting her as his VP pick.
“That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus,” he continued.
“So if the scientists say shut it down?” Muir asked. “I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists,” Biden replied.
This trait can also be seen in the candidate’s change of direction on fracking. “I’m talking about stopping fracking, as soon as we possibly can. I’m talking about telling the fossil fuel industry that they are gonna stop destroying this planet. No ifs, buts and maybes about it,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Biden’s last remaining Democratic primary foe, firmly proclaimed on March 15 during his one-on-one debate with Biden. “So am I,” Biden exclaimed.
“I will repeat, and the American people know, that Joe Biden will not ban fracking. That is a fact. That is a fact,” Harris unabashedly asserted at her debate against Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 7.
The false tone of steadfastness only adds to the insanity. And it is all being done without apology or even a blush of reservation. Biden is counting on the short attention span of a nation hooked on the internet and its continuous 24-hour news cycle to blunt the negative impact of his malleability.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.