The Corner


Joe Biden’s New Ad Basically Skips the Democratic Primary

Joe Biden speaks in Chicago, Ill., June 28, 2019. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

This morning Joe Biden unveils a one-minute ad entitled “Bones” that begins with a narrator declaring, “we know in our bones this election is different.”

Few people on the Trump-backing Right or Woke Left want to hear this, but this is probably the most effective message against Trump. Within the first few seconds, the commercial spotlights the Charlottesville white nationalist rally and associates Trump with that, without getting into the “very fine people” quote argument. The ad defends the Affordable Care Act, without giving much more detail about what additional changes Biden would make to the health care policy, beyond “building on Obamacare.” Notice, Biden rivals, that this ad doesn’t talk about taking away private insurance!

The ad talks about a perennial bipartisan favorite promise, “make a record investment in America’s schools,” — but it doesn’t promise to wipe away everyone’s student debt. It talks about “leading the world on climate,’ but doesn’t promise a Green New Deal that would completely overhaul the entire economy and require retrofitting every building in America. It talks about “restoring our alliances,” but doesn’t make any specific promises about Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf, or any other location where our men and women in uniform are at risk. And finally, the ad shows Biden hugging a tearful African-American teenager and declares he’ll “restore the soul of the nation.” (Promises without measurable metrics are among the easiest to keep!)

The Biden message has about as many hard edges and strong flavors as a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A lot of partisans will roll their eyes at this and label it soft-focus happy talk. But a lot of voters like soft-focus happy talk — particularly those who aren’t on Twitter and who don’t think about politics all the time!

Biden’s playing a different game from the rest of the field. He’s not bothering to court the activist left; he’s already making his pitch to the less partisan general election voters.

Most Popular


How to Bend the News

This, from ABC, is a nice example of a news organization deliberately bending the truth in order to advance a narrative that it wishes were true but is not: Venerable gun manufacturer Colt says it will stop producing the AR-15, among other rifles, for the consumer market in the wake of many recent mass ... Read More

George Packer Gets Mugged by Reality

Few journalists are as respected by, and respectable to, liberals as The Atlantic’s George Packer. The author of The Assassin's Gate (2005), The Unwinding (2013), and a recently published biography of Richard Holbrooke, Our Man, Packer has written for bastions of liberal thought from the New York Times Magazine ... Read More

Trump’s Total Culture War

 Donald Trump is waging a nonstop, all-encompassing war against progressive culture, in magnitude analogous to what 19th-century Germans once called a Kulturkampf. As a result, not even former president George W. Bush has incurred the degree of hatred from the left that is now directed at Trump. For most of ... Read More

Iran’s Act of War

Last weekend’s drone raid on the Saudi oil fields, along with the Israeli elections, opens a new chapter in Middle Eastern relations. Whether the attack on Saudi oil production, which has temporarily stopped more than half of it, was launched by Iranian-sponsored Yemeni Houthis or by the Iranians themselves is ... Read More