The Corner

Politics & Policy

Biden’s Purported Decency

I was on Morning Joe today, and I mentioned a point also made in this morning’s column — that Joe Biden’s decency-and-honesty shtick is baloney.

“How could you say that?” demand the critics. I’m pleased you asked . . .

Of all of Biden’s dishonesty — the plagiarism and other intellectual dishonesty, the invented biographical episodes, etc. — the one that sticks out the most to me is his lying, repeatedly, about the death of his first wife and child, falsely claiming that they had been killed by a drunk driver. In reality, the driver of the other car was neither drunk nor even at fault — police reports suggest that Mrs. Biden accidentally swerved into the lane of oncoming traffic. A horrible story — but not the story Joe Biden told for years.

Mentally normal people do not do things like that. Honest people certainly do not do things like that.

Imagine the cynicism and soul-deadness it takes to consider the death of your wife and child and then say to yourself, “How could this situation be improved for political purposes?”

So, spare me the talk of Joe Biden’s abiding “decency.”

The obvious, though less tragic, parallel here is Donald Trump and his imaginary friend, John Barron, the character he invented to call up the New York gossip pages and lie about his sex life, about all the famous beauties he was bedding. (Carla Bruni at one point was compelled to make a public statement after Trump claimed to be romantically linked to her: “Trump is obviously a lunatic.”)

Again, mentally normal people do not do things like that. And they surely don’t name their children after their imaginary friend press agents, as Donald Trump did.

The American people had a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November. That doesn’t make it a good choice. And the sooner we start to tell ourselves the truth about the character of the men and women with whom we sometimes entrust high offices, the better.

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