Guy Farmer: I feel sorry for Joe Biden
As an old white Guy, I feel sorry for my fellow geezer, former Vice President Joe Biden. Although it’s “his turn” to run for president (again), many young Democrat activists reject him because he’s an old white guy. They think Biden is too old, too white, too touchy-feely and not “progressive” enough.
This is a dilemma for Biden, who has yet to announce his third run for the presidency. Even though polls show him running ahead of 20 or 30 other Democrats who aspire to the presidency, and with the best chance of defeating President Trump, he’s handicapped by his age, his gender, his skin color and his tendency to hug everyone in sight, which is now deemed to be “inappropriate behavior.” Biden just can’t help himself; he’s a hugger. I’ve hugged a few people along the way, so I understand how difficult it is for him to change his behavior at this late moment in his long life.
Biden will turn 77 in November and his chief challenger at this point in the 2020 election cycle is Vermont Democrat/Socialist Bernie Sanders, another old white guy who turns 78 in September. By contrast, President Trump is a relatively young 72. On the other hand. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and her deputy, Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, are both 79. So maybe old people rule after all. Gray power!
Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine, recently wrote about Biden’s dilemma in a provocative article titled “Biden’s Bind: Why Democrats Have Spent Four Years Trying to Keep Their Strongest Candidate From Running.” Illustrated by a photo showing Biden sniffing a lady’s hair (yes, really), Mandel’s article identifies Biden as “one of the few Democratic Party figures formidable enough to draw nuclear opposition before he even gets into the race.”
The hair-sniffing follies were initiated by our own Lucy Flores, of Las Vegas, a former assemblywoman who lost a race for lieutenant governor in 2014. Flores, a liberal Democrat who’s campaigning hard for Bernie Sanders, said Biden touched her shoulders, kissed the top of her head and sniffed her hair at a campaign event. “I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before,” she said. Thank God they reject inappropriate behavior down there in Sin City.
And now “Uncle Joe” has to put up with “Creepy Biden” tweets and snapchats on the Internet with images of looking very uncomfortable in the presence of our former vice president, who was first elected to Congress 47 years ago. According to conservative journalist Mandel, these online images “are jarring because they mean after a long career, including eight years in the White House, Democrats are shifting their framing of the incidents from weird-but-harmless to creepy-and-lecherous.” That’s why I feel sorry for Uncle Joe, who I met at Comma Coffee during the 2008 presidential campaign. But I’m pleased to report that he didn’t hug me or sniff my thinning hair when I asked a question about foreign policy.
So if Biden runs for president for the third time — he ran and lost in 1988 and 2008 — he’ll have to reinvent himself as a left wing “progressive” and launch his campaign with a national apology tour for being an old white guy who once supported free market capitalism, border security and strong national defense, not to mention his alleged harassment of Anita Hill as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the contentious 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. I wouldn’t want to be Joe Biden in the 21st century.
Guy W. Farmer, our senior political columnist, refuses to apologize for being an old white guy.