Last Wednesday, without waiting for the results of the polls for the New Hampshire Democratic caucus to determine the party standard bearer for the 2020 presidential elections, once front-running candidate Joseph Biden hurriedly and unexpectedly left for South Carolina.
Of the 20 who had challenged Donald Trump as the latter sought a second term, Biden was perhaps the most qualified based on experience.
He is a traditional politician, an old veteran, sharing that reputation with the current front-runner Bernard Sanders. His highest position as vice president should have prepared him for the presidency.
As a former Vice President he claims that among his laurels he marshaled support for some of the most important pieces of legislation that characterized the Obama administration. Shepherding those through a bipartisan Congress, one of the most challenging were the health care statutes colloquially known as “Obamacare.”
While the succeeding Trump administration had all but tanked Obamacare, today as one of Biden’s principal proposals that virtually mimic the agenda pursued under Barack Obama, Biden is hoping to resurrect it as a universal health care program. To describe this as a controversial resurrection would however effectively understate the debate and controversy given the failure of Obamacare. Nevertheless, it remains an integral part of his agenda given it is a common platform among Democrats.
Biden is basically Obama-themed. Whether that is a strong point or a curse depends on how the programs then under an Obama-Biden administration performed given today’s starkly more complex world.
For instance, under Obama, Biden was assigned the Ukrainian and Chinese portfolios. Under the Obama administration, Russia had reclaimed the whole of Crimea and had threatened to reannex almost half of Ukraine where Russian troops had massed along its shared borders. This prompted Ukraine to seek material support from the United States.
The record however shows that during the Obama years, those were not forthcoming. Ironically material and monetary support would belatedly be provided under the Trump administration.
Assigned as point man for the United States’ relationship with China, ethical questions arose where Biden’s son Hunter was a handsomely compensated director of a Chinese firm despite the apparent conflict of interest. The China issue is not quite as clear as the ethical issues in Ukraine where Biden was again the point man, his son Hunter, again, a director of a company under investigation for money laundering and fraud.
Biden had reportedly asked that the state prosecutor looking at corruption issues involving the company where Hunter was director be fired. And indeed he was fired.
Now allow us to take a wider global perspective where Biden was Obama’s strategic globetrotter.
Again, let us look at the record. Under the Obama-Biden administration, the US pursued a pivot-to-Asia strategy to respond to what they considered as China’s expansionism and its growing influence and control of Asia. Unfortunately, it was then that the military presence of China in the West Philippine Sea ratcheted up and virtual control of vital Philippine economic zones and territorial waters were virtually surrendered to China despite the pivot, the subsequent albeit impotent war of rhetoric, and our pacts and treaties with the US designed to prevent such incursions and travesties.
The foregoing reveal Biden’s incompetence as an official vested with tremendous powers and yet achieving very little or none when productivity is zeroed out by accusations of corruption or conflicts of interest.
To his misfortune, Biden the man is likewise as controversial. He’s been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. He’s plagiarized and he’s lied about his academic record. He recently called a young student a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” He once related how a child would play with the short hairs on his bare legs.
Crass and creepy, it is understandable why caucus voters would now readily tank his ambitions.