Cooper: Biden's missed moment

Cooper: Biden's missed moment

July 10th, 2019 by Clint Cooper in Opinion Free Press

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention late last month.

Photo by Charles Rex Arbogast

Until last week, we thought the 2020 presidential election would be a battle of the septuagenarians — Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden.

Now, not because of what U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, said but because of what the former vice president didn't say, we're not so sure that will come about.

Anything can happen between now and November 2020, so we're not about to predict a win or a loss for any candidate in the general election. But we believe Biden missed his moment in the recent first round of Democratic debates.

Harris was ready; the Delaware career politician was not. That was telling.

The kerfuffle came up because Biden in days before the debate had bragged about getting things done while in the Senate. So confident was he in his ability to get things done that he said he even was able to work with segregationist Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia.

"At least there was civility," he said. "We got things done."

Eastland and Talmadge were Democrats, same as Biden. That little fact has been mentioned in few, if any, of the sagas.

His idea, a sound one, was to compare people with different viewpoints working together for the good of the country to today, when Democrats and Republicans don't seem to be able to work together on almost anything.

Cut to the debates.

Harris, who many reports say had planned to confront Biden, the polling leader for the nomination, began her soliloquy by telling him, "I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But... "

She went on to say "it was hurtful" to hear him talk "about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputation and career on the segregation of race in this country." She then went on to talk about his opposition to busing, which was only a partial truth.

But that was Biden's moment. In a second, he could have answered Harris with what should have been righteous indignation, saying he would never apologize for working together for the good of the country.

He could passionately have explained his personal feelings on race, and cited whatever he believes were the positive efforts and votes he had taken to bring people together. And then, turning to her, he might've explained that while he abhorred the segregationist senators' views, he would never apologize for working with them to pass legislation for all of the American people.

Had Biden been feeling his oats, he might've calmly added that, frankly, he resented Harris's backhanded way of implying he was a racist, and he didn't need to be lectured by a one-term senator on how to get things done in Washington, D.C.

Despite the recent awkward allegations against him about being too much of a toucher and close talker with women, he would have been the subject of all the spin-room discussion after the debates instead of her. Trump Democrats might've have sat up in their chairs and said, "Yeah, that's our Joe. He isn't too old. He hasn't lost it, after all."

Instead, in his retort to Harris, he attempted to litigate busing, threw in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Obama, and wound up seemingly glad he could stop talking, saying " anyway my time is up."

He may be right. The Joe Biden Train may have jumped off the track permanently.

But he made it worse over this past weekend, apologizing if he "somehow gave the impression that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again. Yes, I was [wrong]. I regret it. And I'm sorry for any of the pain or misconception it may have caused anybody."

That's not the tough Joe Biden Pennsylvania coal miners supported. That's not the fiesty Joe Biden union workers counted on. That's the new Joe Biden who's now woke on political correctness, who's now down with all the kids who want to open the borders and give illegal immigrants free health care.

That candidate is likely to become the Jeb Bush of the 2016 Republican campaign, the George H.W. Bush in the 1988 Republican primary trying to avoid "the wimp factor" (before it turned out he would face Michael Dukakis, the little man in the tank, in the general election).

Mr. and Mrs. Middle America don't like everything about Trump, but they want somebody in opposition they can rally around, someone who speaks their language. Biden may once have been that man, but he'll have a hard time doing that now that he's missed his defining moment.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315