Joe Biden’s “Oakland” Problem

Quick—who said this:

[Hubert] Humphrey isn’t cognizant of the limited, finite ability government has to deal with people’s problems.”

It sounds like something a conservative would say, but I imagine clever readers, going from the headline, will have correctly guessed that it was Joe Biden himself, speaking about Humphrey’s last great liberal initiative, the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill that, in its proposed form, was the closest thing the U.S. would have come to full-blown socialism—until now that is. (Among other astounding ideas, the original proposal would have created a private right of action for any person to sue the federal government for failing to provide them with a job.)

Among other things, a reference to Hubert Humphrey, who died 43 years ago, reminds us that of the 100 senators whose ranks Biden joined in 1972, only about 12 are still alive. It also reminds us that Biden has always been a chameleon, who changes his color to suit the background. Right now the background for Biden is a hard-left lurch by the Democratic Party. Even if he wasn’t doddering and showing signs of senility, he’d still have the problem expressed in that famous phrase of Gertrude Stein about Oakland:”There’s no ‘there’ there.”

The thing about chameleons is that they mostly work only against a solid background. Franklin Roosevelt loved to joke about how he once placed a pet chameleon against a plaid background: “The chameleon died.” Trump is the ideal plaid background against which to place Biden, which is why Democrats are spinning so furiously to get Biden out of debating Trump.

Responses