A critique of the Democratic nominee – ‘Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden’ by Branko Marcetic

By Tim McNulty


“THE most important battle now is the race to define Joe Biden, both his biography and what he has accomplished, what he stands for, what he will do as president.”

Amidst a pandemic and positive polling numbers, the Democrat campaign for the White House looks ready to begin selling brand Biden.

David Plouffe, the brain’s behind Barack Obama’s 2008 election was recently joined as a guest on his podcast by Biden for President campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon.

Together they discuss the mechanics of US electioneering, battleground states, voting data and registration drives before turning to marketing of Joe Biden himself.

Plouffe puts it to Dillon that there are a lot of US voters with little knowledge of the Democrat nominee, his history or indeed his politics.

The election is an opportunity to paint in that picture, argues Dillon.

While voters know Biden served as Obama’s VP and has enjoyed a long career as a national politician they have yet to be given the ‘full-colour version’ she muses.

Later she embarks on some broad brushstrokes of her own, pitching Biden as the ‘leader’ who will bring ‘unity and healing’ to an American people weary of Trumpian melodrama.

In his book, ‘Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden’, Branko Marcetic paints a rather a different image of the presidential hopeful.

In black and white, Biden’s lack of any truly transformative vision for his country is laid out as are the uninspiring centrist political instincts which have guided the 77-year-old’s career.

Marcetic details how Biden decided in the mid-1970s to build his political rise on his leadership of a narrow coalition of white middle-class interests and big business money.

This led the Senator from Delaware to take positions greatly at odds with the hopes and aspirations of low-income working families, minorities, feminists, environmentalists and the wider progressive movement.

Notable examples listed include a slavish adoption of Ronald Reagan’s more extreme fiscal measures which saw Biden bring forward a senate bill capping the federal deficit and gutting public spending.

Openly toting himself as ‘a leader on fiscal responsibility’ Biden even voted against Democratic efforts to plug the revenue holes left by Reagan’s tax cuts.

During the War on Drugs, Biden’s ‘leadership’ is shown up once again by his championing of the War on Drugs in the 1980s and of the Violent Crime Act in the 1990s.

Both these laws quickly saw an explosion in the US prison population with cells being filled disproportionally by African Americans and poor people of all backgrounds.

Similarly, on foreign policy, the image presented by Marcetic is an alarming one for anti-war Democrats.

Biden’s career has seen him became increasingly more inclined to supporting US military adventures overseas – with support for Reagan’s bombing of Libya, the invasion of Grenada and war on Panama.

While influential senator during the early 2000s, Biden would again show deference to a President eager to go to war by dropping his early opposition and offering President Bush his ‘total support’ for the invasion of Iraq.

Whichever way Dillon proceeds with glossing over the issues raised in the ‘Yesterday’s Man’ what is clear is she will not have the luxury of working from a blank canvas.

Marcetic has authoritatively captured a glimpse of what a Biden presidency would stand for and for left-leaning eyes the view is not all that hopeful.


Featured Image: Gage Skidmore @Flickr

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