Joe Biden’s Game of Hyde And Seek

By

Leonard Zwelling

The most important reason not to lie is so that you don’t have to remember what you said. Just tell the truth and you’ll be fine.

That’s hard over a 40-year career as a U.S. Senator and Vice President as Joe Biden is beginning to learn. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He looks and sounds like a fish out of water gasping for breath and new positions that vary from his old ones. Was he lying then or lying now or just being expedient at all times?

For many years during his career in the Senate and beyond, Mr. Biden has backed the Hyde Amendment that precludes the use of federal monies for abortions. Mr. Biden was recently asked again about this stance which is not one shared by most of the rest of the Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination. He affirmed that he was still for the Hyde Amendment. Two days later, he wasn’t. Putatively the women on his staff convinced him that the Hyde Amendment disproportionately disadvantages poor women who often depend on Medicaid services for their health care.

Hello, Mr. Biden! Come in please. Earth calling.

I believe this is characteristic of why Joe Biden is not the man for the Democratic presidential nomination. To be blunt, he is too old, too old-fashioned and has taken too many different positions on various policies over the years. As far as I am concerned, his inability to apologize face-to-face to Anita Hill is disqualifying, but he has also been correctly accused of plagiarism and is well known for his mouth getting ahead of his brain on numerous occasions until his foot stops it from talking.

As this blog discussed recently, the question of abortion is still very contentious among Americans. But a recent NPR-Marist poll indicates that most Americans do support Roe v. Wade being the law of the land in some form, but there are still many who support the Hyde Amendment. Basically they are saying it should be legal but I don’t want my tax dollars supporting it.

Unfortunately, under what passes for the current American health care system, many women (and men) depend upon the support of the American taxpayer to get their health care. That would be those receiving support from Medicare, Medicaid, The VA, the Indian Health Service and the U.S. military. That’s millions of people. That’s reality, Mr. Biden and your backing of the Hyde Amendment for all those years made it harder on them. Now you want to give the government a pass to support maternal care through Medicaid for example. Gee, thanks. Just in time.

I continue to feel that Joe Biden does not get 2019 America. His brand of blue collar populism has been supplanted by Trumpism and the core of the Democratic Party has shifted left. Yes, he’s experienced. Yes, no doubt he is an honorable man. Yes, he seems to like people (especially women who he touches way too frequently).

In the end, if he runs against Trump, it may be very hard for the key voters who need to swing Democratic to see a vast difference between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump beyond their rhetoric. They will ask, is this the change we need now? They will answer no.

The key to this election is not the Hyde Amendment. It is, as Mr. Clinton told us, “the economy, stupid.”

If Friday’s job numbers are a harbinger to economic softness; if Trump’s tariffs hit the pocketbooks of average Americans; and if the Fed cannot keep growth going by lowering interest rates, it is possible that the economy might not look so great a year from now.

That being said, Mr. Biden’s stance on the Hyde Amendment reveals the most important flaw in his quest for the presidency. His time has passed. He tried twice before and failed. That was when he was in step with young voters and middle of the road Democrats. He’s not any more. He’s not the guy to beat Trump if that is what the Dems want to do. They are going to have to look elsewhere—somewhere younger, woker and probably female.

To beat Trump will take hope, change and a worsening economy. Biden can only address the first two and he’s neither.

Leonard Zwelling