From the Unpublished Archive: It’s Now Safe for All Democrats to Love Joe Biden

by Bob Schwartz

This was written in October 2015, when Joe Biden announced he would not run for the Democratic nomination. The election story isn’t over yet, but we know what happened since. Bernie Sanders galvanized progressives who yearned for a new path and who had distaste for and distrust of Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump galvanized a completely other constituency of the distasteful and the distrustful. And so it goes.

Joe Biden is neutralized, so it is now safe for all Democrats to say how much he is loved, not just by Democrats, but by Republicans and the whole nation. And how capable, experienced and qualified he is. And how nobody is better at working across the political aisle.

The way he is being praised to the heavens by all, including Hillary Clinton supporters, you would think this was a new discovery. In fact, he was just as beloved, capable, experienced and qualified a couple of days ago. In fact, it was Republican Lindsey Graham who said three months ago, “He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met in politics. He’s as good a man as God has ever created.”

The difference, of course, is that Joe Biden now poses no threat to Hillary Clinton. And therein lies some insight, not about Joe or Hillary, but about what people do not like about politics, certainly not the way it is played by some of our leading figures.

Politics may be a game, but when playing it involves hiding the truth about people, or delaying telling the truth about people because it is not politically expedient, something is wrong. It may be “right” electorally, but wrong by most other human measures. Good people and behavior should be lauded in a timely way, not so good people or behavior should be noted in a timely way.

When people are as constant and talented as Joe Biden, members of the Democratic Party, even if they supported someone else, shouldn’t have waited to celebrate that constancy—even it meant giving him his due. But they did wait until today. When it was safe.

Which is not only sad, but bodes ill for those who claim to be truth tellers and uniters of a clearly divided body politic. Because if you are afraid of someone beloved, capable, experienced and qualified, what exactly does that say about you?