Elections

Joe Biden: Centrist?

Former Vice President Joe Biden announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, April 25, 2019. (Biden Campaign Handout via Reuters)
His voting record places him solidly on the left.

Poor Joe Biden.

The Delaware Democrat has served the liberal cause since he reached the U.S. Senate in 1973 as a barely legal 30-year-old, just 46 days after he fulfilled the Constitution’s senatorial-age requirement. He voted reliably with the Left and was a loyal vice president to Barack Obama, the most big-government POTUS since LBJ, if not FDR.

Biden’s fellow statists now slam him for not being leftist enough. Biden must feel as would Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) if he ran for president in 2024 and other Republicans called him a RINO.

• “I think if you look at Joe’s record, and you look at my record, I don’t think there’s much question about who’s more progressive,” Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist, Vt.) told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl.

• Biden “does not particularly animate [me] right now,” said U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). “I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.” The architect of the Green New Deal is believed to have targeted Biden’s less-ambitious approach to so-called “global warming” when she said Monday, “I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need to find a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives.”

• “We can’t let a so-called ‘centrist’ like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of ‘No, we can’t,’” declared the AOC-affiliated Justice Democrats. The group’s spokesman, Waleed Shahid, told Politico in February: “There is going to be a war within the party. We are going to lean into it.”

Biden’s legislative votes earned him an Americans for Democratic Action Liberal Quotient of 80 for 2008, his last year as senator. Conversely, the American Conservative Union gave him a 0 for 2008 and a 12.67 lifetime rating. By these metrics alone, Biden’s Democratic opponents in the Senate are to his left:

• Colorado’s Michael Bennet: 2017 ADA 90; Lifetime ACU 5.45

• New Jersey’s Cory Booker: ADA 95; ACU 5.10

• New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand: 100; 4.41

• California’s Kamala Harris: 100; 4.55

• Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar: 100; 4.7

• Vermont’s Bernie Sanders: 95; 6.78

• Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren: 100; 4.16

Nonetheless, the notion that Biden is a closet moderate is laughable.

“During his 36 years in the Senate, several congresses went by with Joe Biden proposing tens of billions in spending increases and not a single dollar of spending cuts,” National Taxpayers Union Foundation president Pete Sepp told me. “According to our BillTally system, Senator Biden sponsored or co-sponsored $322 million of spending hikes for every dollar of suggested decreases. His vote record was even worse. Aside from three years in the mid 1990s, he routinely landed in the lower ranks of pro-taxpayer scores, finishing dead last in 1994 and 96th in 2008, his final year as a senator.” On every NTU taxpayer-friendliness report card between 1998 and 2008, Biden earned an F.

Biden is solid-Left on taxes, too.

“First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts,” Biden told South Carolina voters on May 4. This was no slip of the tongue. On Monday, Biden said in New Hampshire: “When I’m president, if God willing I am, we’re going to reverse those Trump tax cuts.”

Americans for Tax Reform foresees these self-inflicted wounds, among many more, if a President Biden killed the Trump/GOP tax cuts:

• A family of four on a $73,000 median income would suffer a $2,000 tax hike.

• A single mother of one child earning $41,000 would pay $1,300 more in taxes.

• Obamacare’s individual-mandate tax would menace millions anew.

• Killing the 20 percent income deduction would hobble small businesses’ jobs machine.

• The industrialized world’s highest corporate tax rate would return and cripple U.S. competitiveness.

Biden would stuff these tax hikes into the pockets of illegal aliens. As he explained in Los Angeles on May 8: “I think that anyone who is in a situation where they’re in need of health care, regardless of whether they’re documented or undocumented, we have an obligation to see that they’re cared for.” So, Biden would force you to finance medical care for people who have broken into the U.S., even as 29.7 million law-abiding citizens lack health coverage and some 554,000 Americans sleep on sidewalks, many sorely needing the mental-health and anti-addiction treatment that would move them indoors.

This is not centrism.

Still, Biden’s rivals have walked on by, down the Road to Serfdom, en route to the United Socialist States of America. And Biden’s commanding poll numbers (Fox News this morning found him leading Sanders 35 percent to 17 percent) suggest that primary voters might support Joe Biden over the squeals of fellow Democrats who insist that he’s been Left behind.

Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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