Joe Biden med moderator George Stephanopoulos fra ABC News i The National Constitution Center i Philadelphia, torsdag. Foto: AP / Carolyn Kaster / NTB scanpix

Den amerikanske redaktører for det britiske magasinet The Spectator, Freddy Gray, skriver innsiktsfullt om hvor håpløst Joe Bidens kandidatur er.

For det første farer Biden med usannheter:

Joe Biden started spouting nonsense about his background again this week. Trying to sound all man of the people, he told a rally in Ohio that he would be the first president ‘in 80 or 90 years’ who did not attend one of those fancy Ivy League schools. Well no, Joe — Reagan didn’t go to an Ivy, nor did Carter, Nixon, Johnson, Eisenhower, Truman or Hoover. Joe also likes to claim that he is ‘the first in his family to go to college’. It’s a line he famously pilfered in 1987 from a Neil Kinnock speech. It also happens to be untrue.

Ingen bryr seg lenger om Bidens løgner, mener Freddy Gray. Det skyldes at han ikke behandles som et voksent, ansvarlig menneske. Biden ser ut som en mann som ikke lenger forstår hva han sier – «have any idea of what he is saying».

Biden lost contact with reality years ago; maybe we did too. On Monday, he forgot the name of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 — ‘the senator who was a Mormon, the governor, OK?’ Later he declared, for the second time this year, that he was a ‘proud Democrat running for the Senate’. Pssst, Joe, it’s the presidency you’re after — the Senate was in 1973.

Vi blir fortalt at amerikanerne vil stemme på Joe Biden fordi de ønsker seg tilbake til en normatilstand, «return to normalcy», etter visstnok fire galskapens år med Trump. Men Gray finner det urimelig å tenke på en Biden-administrasjon som noe i nærheten av være normalitet – han er så svekket at andre sterke krefter vil fort overta den reelle makten:

But what’s normal or sane about giving a somewhat demented 77-year-old the most powerful job on the planet? Leading the free world shouldn’t be a retirement activity, yet nobody who has been paying attention can expect Biden to serve even one full term. It’s more likely that he will end up delegating his more arduous tasks to his vice president Kamala Harris. Republican talking heads like to make out that the ‘Kamala and the radical left’ will depose their frail leader as soon as possible.

(…) it’s easy to imagine Harris gradually taking over a Biden White House, as the ailing Commander-in-Chief plods about the East Wing in his slippers telling anyone who’ll listen that he used to be Barack Obama’s vice president back in the day. Almost nobody expects Biden, who will be 82 by inauguration day in 2025, to attempt a second term. What’s striking is quite how many Americans seem to be happy to elect such a figure so long as it means four fewer years of Donald Trump.

Om Biden vinner, mener Gray det skyldes at han ikke framstår for den brede velgermassen som veldig venstrevridd (han er altså ikke påfallende liberal i amerikansk terminologi), og han er lettere å like enn det Hillary Clinton var, blant annet fordi han ligner på en snill, gammel landsbyprest:

Lots of Americans were willing to believe that Mrs Clinton had a secret plan to turn their great country into a socialist hellhole. They just don’t think Biden will do that — at least not on purpose. Again, his age helps here: when he intones radical pieties about ‘transforming’ America or dismantling white privilege, he sounds like a vicar talking about grime music. People think he can’t really mean it.

Han oppfattes som «a centrist grandad», ifølge Gray, en som kan roe ned kulturkrigen i USA.

Trolig vil en Biden-administrasjon preges av gjenbruk av Obama-folk og restaurering av Obama-politikk som Trump har avviklet:

Obama-era figures are likely to dominate his future cabinet: Susan Rice, the former ambassador to the United Nations, is tipped to be his secretary of state. That aristocratic dinosaur John Kerry, who served as Obama’s secretary of state, is expected to be given some big advisory role. Michèle Flournoy, formerly the under secretary of defense, could be promoted to secretary of defense.

As soon as Trump became Commander-in-Chief, he gleefully set about undoing Barack Obama’s proudest international achievements. Team Obama must now be salivating at the prospect of their imminent revenge. Expect the Iran Deal, which Trump tore up, to be stitched back together. A Biden-Harris administration would also, amid much fanfare, re-enter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and shove America back into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trump’s more disruptive ‘America First’ policies will be taken out back and strangled.

Men noe må også Biden gi til rustbeltet, til velgere i stater som Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

That’s why Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ manifesto — a slogan pinched from Boris Johnson — includes a ‘buy American’ pledge to expand federal commitments to procure goods made only in the USA.

Etter «Wuhan-pandemien» har også mistilliten til Kina vokst i USA, og det er ikke mulig å gjenetablere en tidligere nokså idyllisk samarbeidsrelasjon: «There will be no going back to the global order before Trump,» skriver Freddy Gray.

Han avslutter kommentaren med at presidenter som siste århundret har tapt gjenvalg etter første periode har blitt overkjørt av en kandidat med ambisiøs agenda; nå kan Trump heller tape mot en utfordrer som er en geriatrisk versjon av sin tidligere sjef, og det er ingen oppskrift for et vitalt og sterkt USA:

Presidential elections aren’t meant to be referendums on the man in the White House. The successful challenger ought to have his or her own vision for America. The last three one-term presidents were replaced by politicians with bold agendas; Hoover lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt; Carter to Reagan; and George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton. Biden offers little beyond a geriatric re-run of the Obama administration with memory lapses instead of pretty speeches. You don’t need an Ivy League degree to see that’s a recipe for failure.



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