Joe Biden mangles the past

William Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.” The past certainly isn’t past for Joe Biden. He can’t stop talking about it. One suspects he’s still living in the distant past.

The latest example is his over-the-top statement comparing the election of President Trump to the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Biden stated:

I think what’s happening now is, I think that Donald Trump may have reawakened sensibilities in this country to say ‘Whoa, maybe we can do this now,’ just like our generation was awakened when Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.

Our whole generation said, ‘I’m back in, man.’

Comparing an election result to assassinations shows bad taste at a minimum. In addition, Biden’s account is wide of the mark.

What happened when the country had its sensibilities “reawakened” after the assassinations of 1968? Richard Nixon was elected president twice and Republicans won three of the four presidential elections after Nixon’s victories.

I doubt this is what Biden meant by a “reawakening.”

Biden’s generation contributed in a positive way to this Republican success. Nixon, though despised on the campuses of elite colleges, did reasonably well with young voters in 1972. Reagan did just fine with Biden’s generation.

L.P. Hartley wrote: “The past is a foreign country.” I don’t know about that, but the past Joe Biden talks about is foreign to history.

Turning to the present, whether Trump’s unpopularity on the campuses of elite colleges will be offset, at least partially, by other young voters remains to be seen. Whether, if Joe Biden is Trump’s opponent, the youth of America will say “Whoa, maybe we can do this now” is also open to question — especially if Biden keeps harping on the past.

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