Beto and Biden biding their time: A strategy – Washington Examiner

The 2020 presidential primaries are already shaping up to be a bloodbath. And at this point, only former Vice President Joe Biden and unemployed former Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke seem to get the long-game — that there’s still more to go after the primaries are over.

The JV team of contenders have already let the far-left cajole them into endorsing the Sen. Bernie Sanders-backed Medicare For All Act that would abolish private insurance. They followed the Democratic Party’s Pied Piper from the Bronx into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s trap of endorsing the Green New Deal, a nonbinding resolution costing at $93 trillion in its first decade. Nearly every single senator running for president — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — has emphatically endorsed both, providing the Trump re-election campaign millions of dollars of ad clips for free.

But Beto and Biden have kept their powder dry.

Beto may be the least experienced of the serious (by which I mean moneyed) contenders in the field. He’s not the most charming contender (that’d be Biden, if he finally stops the tease), the most exciting (that’d unfortunately be Bernie), the most intersectional (that’d be Harris), or even the best-looking. Yet he’s managed to fuel a year of fawning media hype into $6.1 million in donations in his first 24 hours alone, the largest of any candidate announced in the race thus far.

Beto has acquired the recipe for refining caprice into strategic ambiguity.

“I don’t know,” Beto once replied to a reporter asking what must be done to address visa overstays. But now childish indecision has transformed into aspirational platitudes. He doesn’t back the financial insanity of Bernie and company’s Medicare For All Act, but he’s hinted at support for a Medicare buy-in and pledged to make “healthcare for all” a reality. He won’t endorse the Green New Deal in reality, but he will “in spirit.” If the media actually pressed him on any of these issues, the facade would easily crack. But they won’t, and Beto knows that. Why take the bait of commitment if he knows he can get away with equivocating as his competitors keep taking each other out?

Then there’s Biden, who is relying on Obama-era nostalgia. He is waiting to announce, allowing centrist demand for Uncle Joe to ripen. The Biden backlash has already emerged from the usual Democratic Socialists of America suspects, but unlike, say, Harris, who remains relatively untested on the national stage and will still have to prove what policies she actually backs today, the ghosts in Biden’s past are surely overshadowed by eight years of the Obama agenda and his relatively enduring popularity.

In any other universe, Biden and Beto’s refusal to commit would read as entitlement more than anything. But both can bet on the sycophancy of the media and the extreme antics of the loudest candidates to insulate them from blowback.


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