Last week The Wall Street Journal identified former Vice-president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mayor Pete Buttegieg (D-South Bend) as the top five candidates in the crowded (twenty-four and counting) primary contest for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States. With the exception of Ms. Harris, it wasn’t a good week for the front runners.
Mr. Biden was caught again plagiarizing someone else’s words in a climate change speech and he followed it by flip-flopping on his nearly forty year support of the Hyde Amendment forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions. Look, Mr. Biden is not a very bright guy. In fact he is known as a premier gaff machine lurching from one foolish statement after another. Robert Gates – a life time Washington insider – who served as Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama (you remember the Obama-Biden administration) famously noted about Mr. Biden:
“Still I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Mr. Gates reiterated his concern by affirming his statement in a Face the Nation interview with Margaret Brennan last month.
Mr. Biden is a serial plagiarist – a habit that has haunted him all the way back to his law school years. (For those of you forced to suffer a teachers union led education* in the Portland public school system, a plagiarist is someone who uses someone else’s thoughts and words without attribution as if they were his own.) Plagiarism can be accidental when a word or phrase sticks in your head but you cannot recall the author or the reason. However, serial plagiarism over one’s lifetime is a clear sign of intellectual dullness – a sure sign that the plagiarist is devoid of original thoughts or reasoning, or even curiosity. Mr. Biden does not quite understand the intellectual inconsistencies of his statements. For instance, Mr. Biden’s sudden, but not unexpected, flip flop on the issue of federally funded abortion on demand which is the cornerstone of the national Democrat party.
Mr. Biden is a CINO – a Catholic in name only. The Catholic Church universally condemns abortion as the taking of a human life – life begins at conception. For forty years Mr. Biden has tried to have it both ways – supporting abortion rights while denying taxpayer funds for something at least half of the nation finds abhorrent. He latched on to the Hyde Amendment that supposedly denied federal funds for abortions. He said that while he believed in a woman’s right to choose, he felt that taxpayers should not have to fund that choice. But the Hyde Amendment was more the exception than the rule. For instance Planned Parenthood routinely tapped the federal treasury for $500 Million annually even though they were and are the largest abortion mill in the country. Planned Parenthood and others similarly situated were able to skate by because they provided other women’s health service and wink wink the federal funds were used for those services – a crock of bull but if you never audit you will never know. And all the while, Mr. Biden whole-heartedly endorsed such a ruse.
But Democrat politics demand endorsement of federally funded abortion on demand up to the moment of birth – including the so-called partial birth abortion where the physician punches a hole in the baby’s skull as it begins to “show” and sucks the child’s brains from its body. So in order to pass the Democrat litmus test on abortion Mr. Biden in the space of two days (June 5 to June 7) abandoned his support of the Hyde Amendment in favor a full-throated endorsement of the national Democrat policy. His rationale was that he couldn’t support taxpayer-funded healthcare for all without supporting taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. So Mr. Biden’s choice was to support the termination of life – he said he believes that life begins at conception. It is a remarkable demonstration of intellectual weakness and a lack of personal moral clarity. But it is exactly in keeping with Mr. Biden’s history of gaffs and inconsistencies.
As I said before Mr. Biden is not a very bright guy. In essence he is just a union steward with hair plugs and Savile Row suits with Gucci loafers. He has learned to pound his fist, shout his slogans and curse his opponents. If elected, Mr. Biden would have to be on the phone to former President Obama or former AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka for every decision from foreign affairs to the lunch menu.
Sen. Bernie Sanders faired no better. It is beyond me how a national politician reaches the age of seventy plus years without learning that businesses do not pay taxes; only consumers pay. Taxes are just another cost of goods or services sold to consumers. And yet Mr. Sanders declared that he would eliminate all student college debt incurred at publicly funded colleges at a minimum cost of $1.4 TRILLION. After all, he assured us that these students incurred $1.4 TILLION in debt “through no fault of their own.” (Apparently Mr. Sanders believes that these students didn’t know they were incurring debts that had to be repaid – which, if true, begs the question as to whether they were smart enough to actually be in college.) Mr. Sanders assured the public that there would not be a problem since he would “tax financial transaction on Wall Street.” Translated into real world terms that means that the costs of financial transactions on Wall Street would increase dramatically and adversely effect the investments for employee pension funds, IRA’s and 401k’s, taxpayer funded public works projects, and a host of other public and private investments. Meaning the middle class would foot the bill. But that wasn’t enough for Mr. Sanders because he added on to this a proposal for free college education for all – “free” meaning that the cost will be borne by taxpayers.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter because Mr. Sanders doesn’t really matter. His time has come and gone. Had the Democrat National Committee not rigged the primary process in 2016 in favor of Hillary Clinton, Mr. Sanders would have won and he would have likely beaten President Donald Trump. And we would already be in the social and economic mess that a socialist will bring to America as President. Now, Mr. Sanders is just another old, white guy trying to demonstrate relevance – just like Mr. Biden, and for that matter, me.
Senator Warren has taken to one upping her primary rivals. No left wing proposal is sufficiently costly that Ms. Warren can’t make it bigger, less definable and more costly. She has signed on to the notion of reparations for African-Americans without the slightest care about defining the beneficiaries, the cost of implementation or the rationale for who pays. (Both sides of my family came to America well after the Emancipation Proclamation and settled in rural Montana where discrimination was pretty much directed at Native Americans – a group in which Ms. Warren claimed ancestry and for which she took advantage of minority hiring practices.) But that wasn’t good enough, Ms. Warren has now demanded reparations for members of the LGBT community. Left out of her equations are reparations for Native Americans and the Irish condemned to slavery conditions during their migration to America as a result of the Great Famine in Ireland.
But again it doesn’t really make any difference because Ms. Warren will surge in Democrat polls and quickly fade away. She is not a likeable person. She is a finger-wagging scold who has demonstrated her brittle personality in the United State Senate for the past six years. Ms. Warren epitomizes those Liberals who are constantly offended on behalf of someone else – resting secure in the knowledge they will never have to suffer similar indignities.
Mayor Pete Buttegieg is toast. Actually burnt toast. You cannot win the Democrat presidential primaries without support from African American voters. Mr. Buttegieg has none. And it got even lower this past weekend when a white policeman in South Bend (Mr. Buttegieg’s domain) shot and killed an African American man. Mr. Buttegieg had previously promised to increase the representation of African Americans on South Bend’s police force, which promptly went from ten percent to five percent. For Democrat political purposes it doesn’t make any difference about the facts surrounding the shooting, the optics started out bad and got worse when Mr. Buttegieg appeared at a “town hall” meeting to address the situation and appeared to be a deer caught in the headlights.
But it doesn’t really matter because Mr. Buttegieg no longer matters. He trafficked in being the first openly gay presidential candidate and went on to prove that one’s sexual orientation should be irrelevant in determining competency.
And that leaves Sen. Kamala Harris who had a pretty good week by just keeping her head down. Ms. Harris is probably the strongest candidate that the Democrats could put forward. She is attractive, intelligent, and articulate. She exudes warmth with the strength of steel behind it. She has used self-deprecating humor. And while she has adopted all of the far left proposal of most of her opponents she is the spokesman for none – leaving one with the view that if she actually pursued any of them it would be with moderation.
So, in the end, only Ms. Harris matters because she can. Mr. Trump and his advisors should be well warned not to take Ms. Harris lightly, nor to dismiss her with one of Mr. Trump’s usually accurate sobriquets.
*Some readers mistakenly believe that my recurring comment about a teachers union led education in the Portland Public Schools is a condemnation of public schools generally. The people who arrive at that position must get their only exercise from jumping to conclusions. I am a product of the public schools in Montana where, when I attended, there were no public employee unions and those belonging to the National Education Association did so as a professional organization – not a trade union.