Washington, D.C.’s collective attention is focused on the Senate. Will senators call impeachment witnesses? What about John Bolton’s strategically leaked book excerpts? Will they or won’t they subpoena Hunter Biden? For the Beltway crowd, the impeachment hearings have all the drama of a juicy soap opera, only with less attractive actors and not as much steamy sex. Well, minus Hunter Biden.
But while all the national media attention is focused on the daily spectacle, one person should be seizing the opportunity: Hunter’s father, former Vice President Joe Biden. He’s running out of time. His presidential opponents who sit in the Senate, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., are constitutionally locked in their chamber with no access to social media or TV cameras.
Biden, not forced to listen to sanctimonious testimony and feigned indignation, has the unique and unchallenged opportunity to do what he does best: go out among the people.
Sure, Biden has had his gaffes and cringe-worthy moments among the crowds talking about leg hair and corn pop. However, Biden is largely well-liked. And right now, the campaign trail is his alone.
The latest polls still show Biden leading in key metrics, but he is losing to Sanders in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first deciding states. Back-to-back losses will be a decisive death knell to his momentum. Few candidates lose both states and come back to win the nomination.
Biden needs momentum.
What could he do differently? He’s got the name recognition, something two other candidates not serving in the Senate chamber need. The innately unlikeable former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has spent more than $200 million trying to convince people he’s more than the nanny who will decide how much soda you can drink. The forgettable Tom Steyer, another billionaire candidate, has spent more than $100 million in the way a new elementary school-aged kid buys cupcakes for his classmates, hoping they’ll invite him to play tag at recess.
Likeability isn’t Biden’s problem. Name ID isn’t his problem. So why is he fading? It’s because Biden is not espousing Biden’s beliefs. And nowhere is this departure more obvious than in energy policy.
At his State of the Union address in 2013, President Obama praised the fracking revolution, highlighting the jobs it created, the lower energy bills, and the energy independence. Biden, seated behind him during the speech, dutifully stood and clapped. Under Obama, American energy was good.
Fast-forward to this campaign. “There is no place for fossil fuels in my administration,” Biden proclaimed.
For the tens of thousands of coal miners, many of them in crucial swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, Biden flippantly says they should learn to code.
To battle the climate change shapeshifter, Biden promises to sign multiple new executive orders with “unprecedented reach” creating a regulatory and litigation nightmare that would scare off any business investment.
The fossil fuels executives who only seven years ago Obama lauded, Biden suggests putting in jail.
So desperate is Biden to show his commitment to the environmental left, that he vows as president he would sacrifice jobs, even hundreds of thousands of them, to be greener.
Who is this guy? And what has he done with Biden?
We expect this campaign hyperbole from green radical and avowed Marxist Sanders. We expect it from faux-green, guilt-ridden billionaires Steyer and Bloomberg. And we even expect it from Warren, whose remarkable tendency to misremember her life and misstate her ethnicity, her children’s schooling, her father’s profession, her workplace firing, and Sanders’ sudden sexism, demonstrate her willingness to say anything to get elected.
But we don’t expect this from Biden.
Democrat energy workers want someone who represents and respects them. They voted for Obama. Twice. Then they voted for Trump. Biden has done nothing to win them back.
With Iowa fast approaching, and his real competition locked in the Senate, Biden needs to make a plan to win: be the Joe Biden of old. Champion working-class and blue-collar voters. Celebrate energy workers in rural America.
If Biden continues to pretend to be someone else, primary voters will go elsewhere. “Middle-class Joe,” the Biden of Obama-Biden, the Biden of Scranton, of Amtrak, will be nostalgia, a memory, a could-have-been, and ultimately, a never-was.