The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Democrats' Dismay

Rich Galen

Monday June 24, 2019

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  • The 57 Democrats running for President posted up in South Carolina this past week prior to moving down I-95 for two nights of debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Miami, Florida.

  • Every Democrat whose last name wasn't spelled B.I.D.E.N. was prepared to jump on the one candidate whose name is spelled B.I.D.E.N. for the former VP's gaff in describing how he got along with pro-segregation colleagues when he was a young Senator from Delaware.

  • This was seen by every other candidate as the opening they have been waiting for, hoping for, praying for in order to begin chipping away at Biden's lead over the rest of the field.


    Merriam-Webster defines "gaff" as "a social or diplomatic blunder." It also spells it "gaffe," which means my having spelled it "gaff" was a gaffe.

    See how I spend my Sunday afternoons?


  • It was specifically because Joe Biden is known for verbal gaffes (why fight it?), that his saying what he did about the Southern Senators who blocked anti-segregation legislation for years caused the explosion on every panel of every cable network for about 72 straight hours.

  • Two things broke the fever. First, the Iranians shot down a 200 million dollar drone somewhere in the Persian Gulf, causing the national conversation to immediately shift to what the appropriate response should have been.

  • Second, senior Black Democrats in the U.S. House who have worked with Biden for decades, came to his defense. quoted U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) as saying:
    "I don't think the remarks are offensive. During the height of the civil rights movement we worked with people and got to know people that were members of the Klan - people who opposed us, even people who beat us, and arrested us and jailed us."

  • Compare and contrast the cloudburst of criticism of Biden with the "so-what?" response in 2008 to candidate Barack Obama when he said:
    "Over the last 15 months we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in fifty . seven states? I think one left to go. One left to go. Alaska and Hawaii."

  • Everyone came to Obama's defense suggesting that he was tired, that he was time zoned (this was in Oregon), that of course he knew there were only 50 states.

  • What concerned me in all that was Obama's apparent inability to count to two. He said "I have one [state] left to go. Alaska and Hawaii."

  • Obama was not known as being a dope about American political geography, so that gaffe lasted about an hour.

  • Democrats - presidential candidates, members of the U.S. House and Senate, and rank and file - are sharply divided along a number of planes: Economic (Capitalism vs Socialism), social, gender, race, and age to name but 57.

  • Biden is too centrist, too wealthy, too male, too White, and too old.

  • How, then can he possibly be leading by (according to 20 points over 2nd place contender Elizabeth Warren (37-17) in one South Carolina poll, and 27 points (45-18) over runner-up Bernie Sanders in another?

  • It's because he has the one attribute none of his rivals have or are likely to develop: Democrats think he can beat Donald Trump in November 2020.

  • According to the Business Insider Power Rankings:
    "Biden [not only has] unparalleled name recognition among Democrats, he is also the only candidate who more than half of Democrats believe can win against Trump."

  • When it comes to gaffes, Donald Trump has already retired the trophy so, should Biden be the nominee, gaffes at 20 paces is not likely to be an election-decider.

  • Meanwhile, the other Democratic candidates continue to scratch their heads (and snipe at their aides) looking for a way to knock Biden off his perch.

  • Maybe - maybe - the debates later this week will provide the path.

  • To the Democrats' continued dismay, I don't think so.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Time Magazine's "everything you need to know" about the Dem's debates, to's coverage of the S.C. Fish Fry over the weekend, to Business Insider's power rankings, and to RealClearPolitics' South Carolina polls.

    The Mullfoto is impressive, if only for the brevity of the caption.

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