• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

To Joe Biden, Trump’s Potential Successor Mike Pence “Is a Decent Guy”

When Joe Biden told an audience that Mike Pence “is a decent guy,” Pence had already been vice president for more than two years. After the comment drew fierce criticism, Biden responded that he’d said it “in a foreign policy context” — an odd effort at damage control, given that Pence has publicly backed every one of President Trump’s countless abhorrent policies, whether foreign or domestic.

Now, with impeachment in the air and the remote but real possibility that Trump might not end up running for re-election, Biden’s attitude toward Pence and Republicans overall should get a closer look.

That he could call Pence “a decent guy” after loyally serving as Trump’s highest-ranking henchman illuminates a lot about Biden’s style — and substance. His praise of Pence’s purported decency was not atypical. Biden has long praised racist Republican senators and defended his past collaborations with them.

And Biden has been effusive in expressing warmth toward the notorious man who preceded him as vice president. “I really like Dick Cheney for real,” Biden said while speaking at George Washington University in October 2015. “I get on with him, I think he’s a decent man.”

Such statements speak volumes about Biden’s standards of decency and about his suitability to be the Democratic presidential nominee. At a time when elected Republicans in Washington have amply shown themselves to be depraved sycophants to Trump — no matter how viciously vile and deadly his policies — Biden still wants to pretend that those GOP stalwarts can be brought into the fold of democratic civility, from the current vice president on down.

Insisting that “history will treat this administration’s time as an aberration,” Biden contended during a campaign swing in Iowa a few months ago: “This is not the Republican Party.” He went on to cite his bonds with “my Republican friends in the House and Senate.”

The latest polling tells us that Biden should no longer be called the “frontrunner” for the nomination. (Elizabeth Warren’s numbers are now at least as strong.) On Wednesday, Politico pointed out: “Biden’s descent has been months in the making, the result of continuous fire from progressives, questions about his age and stamina, a drumbeat of negative coverage over lackluster debate performances and frequent misstatements, according to pollsters and party insiders.”

But Biden still has plenty of aces in the hole — including corporate media outlets that go easy on him and wealthy donors who lavish high-dollar fundraisers on him to shore up a largely AstroTurf campaign. There’s a big market among mainstream political journalists and Wall Street types for the reach-across-the-aisle blather that Biden supplies.

Biden’s praise for Pence has a perverse logic. “His pitch is that with Trump gone, things — and Republicans — will return to ‘normal,’” CNN pundit Chris Cillizza wrote. When Biden spoke to a gathering of lobbyists and donors in early summer, he sounded an upbeat note about the basic character of Republican leaders. “With Trump gone you’re going to begin to see things change,” Biden said. “Because these folks know better. They know this isn’t what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Biden is campaigning with the central claim that he’s the most qualified candidate to restore bipartisan cooperation after defeating Trump. As if Republicans should be wooed more than fought, Biden likes to portray typical GOP leaders as honorable — a pretense that is in harmony with calling Mike Pence “a decent guy” regardless of his absolutely despicable record.

Biden apparently views that approach as helpful to winning the White House. And it’s certainly in sync with Biden’s own record of teaming up with Republicans. But whether progressives support Bernie Sanders (as I do) or Elizabeth Warren or one of the other candidates, it’s essential to recognize — and avert — the dangers posed by the Biden for President campaign.

Progressives often feel that they’re on the outside of electoral politics, looking in. Corporate news media routinely reinforce that impression, treating progressive activism as invisible or inconsequential. But Politico’s latest assessment — that Biden’s steep fall in the polls is partly due to “continuous fire from progressives” — tells us something important.

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 23, 2019
Kenneth Surin
Western China and the New Silk Road
W. T. Whitney
Stirrings of Basic Change Accompany Protests in Haiti
Louisa Willcox
Inviting the Chief of the Grizzlies to Our Feast
Jonathan Cook
The Democrats Helped Cultivate the Barbarism of ISIS
Dave Lindorff
Military Spending’s Out of Control While Slashing It Could Easily Fund Medicare for All
John Kendall Hawkins
With 2020 Hindsight, the Buffoonery Ahead
Jesse Hagopian
The Chicago Teachers Strike: “Until We Get What Our Students Deserve”
Saad Hafiz
America’s Mission to Remake Afghanistan Has Failed
Victor Grossman
Thoughts on the Impeachment of Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Celebrity Protesters and Extinction Rebellion
John Horning
Spotted Owls and the National Christmas Tree
October 22, 2019
Gary Leupp
The Kurds as U.S. Sacrificial Lambs
Robert Fisk
Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire
John Feffer
Trump’s Endless Wars
Marshall Auerback
Will the GOP Become the Party of Blue-Collar Conservatism?
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Fake Withdrawal From Endless War
Dean Baker
Trump Declares Victory in China Trade War
Patrick Bond
Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-Reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter
Robert Hunziker
XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency
John W. Whitehead
Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A World Partnership for Ecopolitical Health and Security
Binoy Kampmark
The Decent Protester: a Down Under Creation
Frances Madeson
Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Police Violence
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Challenges Logging and Burning Project in Methow Valley
Chelli Stanley
Change the Nation You Live In
Elliot Sperber
Humane War 
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail