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Edward-Isaac Dovere, for The Atlantic:
“Biden’s aides say they don’t want this to be seen as a political move, but as a thoughtful evolution squeezed into a frantic Wednesday and Thursday. The official Biden campaign line is that changing his position proves he’s acting on principle. “Vice President Biden’s honesty and candor are big reasons why his candidacy is resonating all across the country. Voters respond to his authenticity, and want a president with values that are nothing like the current occupant of the White House,” said Biden campaign press secretary T.J. Ducklo in a prepared statement.”
There are times when Joe Biden’s age and how it affects his positions really stand in a stark light; his apparently genuine support for bans on federal funding for abortions is one such time. Best I can tell, he is the only 2020 Dem candidate who held this position. While this may have been acceptable to many in the past, it’s not now, and credit to the liberal activists who pushed the campaign on this issue.
Still, this episode feeds into the fundamental flaw of the Biden candidacy: he’s an old white dude with old white dude views who also eats shit a lot. I struggle to think of a single argument for his campaign that does not rely on his time as Vice President and the lionization of Barack Obama. Everything about him—his policies, his identity, the compromising way he approaches politics—feels completely unsuited for this moment. And that’s before he says something dumb about race or acts weird around young women.
His campaign seems to be aware of this, pushing him towards progressive policies and limiting his time in front of the press. But can this work on primary voters, much less the general electorate? I have my own, biased reasons for hoping it won’t, but also, frankly and objectively, I don't see how it can.