Thursday, April 25, 2019


Do you agree with this?

I'm not so sure. Pat Buchanan briefly pursued the 2000 Republican presidential nomination and said that his first act after being sworn in would be to turn to his predecessor, Bill Clinton, and say, "Sir, you have the right to remain silent" -- and he didn't even make it to the Iowa caucuses. Nevertheless, I know I'd look favorably on a candidate who talked that way about Trump.

There's no one in the Democratic field like that -- but as it turns out, the candidate who seems most inclined to take the fight to Trump is the guy who's routinely criticized for being too GOP-friendly:

Former vice president Joe Biden opened his third campaign for the presidency on Thursday, ... taking direct aim at President Trump and declaring that “we are in the battle for the soul of this nation.”

In a video posted on social media, Biden recounted the deadly clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters at a 2017 gathering in Charlottesville, after which Trump said there were “some very fine people on both sides.”

“In that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in our lifetime,” Biden said, adding: “The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America America is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”
Charlottesville and Trump's response to it take up the first half of Biden's announcement video. And Dave Weigel points out that this is consistent with Biden's recent rhetoric:

Weigel sees this message as consistent with a naive sense of bipartisanship on Biden's part. So does Matt Yglesias:

I don't care. I may disagree with Joe Biden about the political worth of John McCain or other Republicans, but I'm pleased that there's at least one candidate in the race who's going to "center Trump in his messaging." I'm grateful for Elizabeth Warren's bottomless well of policy ideas, and for the class anger of Bernie Sanders. I'm rooting for Harris and Gillibrand and even, despite all my recent grumbling, for Buttigieg. I'll vote for whoever wins the nomination, and with most of them I'll do it happily. But even if it's smarter for the candidates to talk mostly about health care and green energy and other issues, I want someone to take it to Trump. I'd rather it wasn't the guy who's palsy with a lot of other Republicans, but if he's the one to step up, I say, "Thanks for volunteering."

I know that the Trump presidency is the culmination of trends that have been present in the GOP for decades. I know that Joe Biden doesn't really understand that. But I also know that Trump is accelerating the growth of the malignancy, while introducing new carcinogens. Someone in the field should remind us of Trump's noxiousness every day. For that alone, I'm grateful that Biden is running.

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