Talking Points

Is Joe Biden a socialist revolutionary? I wish.

Does Joe Biden have a light machine gun and bandolier of ammunition stolen from a Ukrainian weapons depot, a flat cap, a scraggly beard, and red rose tattoo on his bicep? That was the implication at the Republican National Convention, where speaker and speaker portrayed him as a committed socialist revolutionary. "Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution," said Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.). "If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia." Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban-American businessman, compared Biden to Fidel Castro. "I've seen ideas like this before and I'm here to tell you, we cannot let them take over our country," he said.

Speaking as a Bernie Sanders supporter, I wish Biden was a real radical, because huge problems like COVID-19, global warming, and galloping inequality require huge solutions. Unfortunately, he is not. Biden is one of the most moderate, business-friendly Democrats in the party, and has been for over four decades. As I covered at length here, when radicals like Sanders were warning about mass incarceration, inequality, slanted trade deals, bankruptcy reform, financial deregulation, and the Iraq War, Biden was voting for them.

But it seems baldfaced, up-is-down lies are simply part of the strategy the Republican Party has chosen for this campaign. In a way, it makes sense — it's no less ridiculous to argue that Joe Biden is a communist revolutionary than it is to say Donald Trump is a competent president who handled the coronavirus pandemic well.