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Biden Expresses Skepticism of Democrats' Leftward Tilt and AOC's Mass Appeal
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=37137"><span class="small">Dan Merica, CNN</span></a>   
Friday, 05 July 2019 13:21

Merica writes: "The interview made clear that Biden, who is facing criticism from the left of the party amid an increasingly contentious Democratic primary, does not feel the need to sway to the left to capture the party's base and, instead, hopes to set himself apart by embracing his moderation."

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference on March 12, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Olivier Douliery/AP)
Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference on March 12, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Olivier Douliery/AP)

Biden Expresses Skepticism of Democrats' Leftward Tilt and AOC's Mass Appeal

By Dan Merica, CNN

05 July 19


ormer Vice President Joe Biden expressed deep skepticism of the leftward tilt of the Democratic Party in an exclusive interview with CNN airing Friday.

Biden, speaking with CNN's Chris Cuomo in Des Moines, Iowa, suggested that "Medicare for All" is irrational, argued that the majority of Democrats are "center left" not "way left," and said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while "brilliant" and "bright," did not represent Democrats who can win a general election in a competitive district or state.

Biden also addressed his performance during the first Democratic debate, saying that he wasn't prepared for California Sen. Kamala Harris to confront him on issues of race the way she did.

The interview made clear that Biden, who is facing criticism from the left of the party amid an increasingly contentious Democratic primary, does not feel the need to sway to the left to capture the party's base and, instead, hopes to set himself apart by embracing his moderation.

Biden backed up that confidence by pointing to the 2018 midterm elections, where a host of swing districts were won by more moderate Democrats.

"That's what this election is about. I'm happy to debate that issue and all those issues with my friends because guess what, look who won the races. Look who won last time out," Biden said. "By the way, I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary. In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and healthcare."

Ocasio-Cortez has risen to liberal stardom after she unseated Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's 14th Congressional District primary in 2018. After winning the general election easily in a reliably Democratic district, Ocasio-Cortez has swept into Congress and pushed a litany of progressive policies, all while garnering considerable media attention.

Biden's comments on Ocasio-Cortez get at the heart of a debate inside the Democratic Party: While liberal icons, including a number of newly elected members, grab headlines, the party swept into the majority in the House on the backs of more moderate members who won in swing districts.

"I wish I'd been labeled as moderate when I was running in Delaware back in the day," Biden joked.

Describing the party, the former vice president said, "Look, it's center left, that's where I am. Where it's not is way left."

Biden's clearest policy difference with the left -- health care -- was evident during the interview, too.

"I have a plan how to do that that's rational, that will cost a hell of a lot less and that will work," Biden said about health care, slamming Medicare for All, the liberal-backed proposal that would mandate Medicare as the single-payer system for all Americans. Biden, despite talking about health care on the trail, has yet to roll out a formal plan, but a number of his Democratic opponents in 2020, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have fully embraced Medicare for All.

Biden said he would not abolish private insurance but would offer Medicare as "an option for anybody who in fact wants to buy into Medicare for All."

"But if they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get, a lot of people like theirs, they shouldn't have to give it up," Biden said.

The former vice president added that if Medicare for All were to pass, the country would "have 300 million people landing on a health care plan. How long is that going to take? What's it going to do?"

But that was not the extent of Biden's disagreements on policy with the left of the party.

The former vice president also said he doesn't believe "in the way" that other Democratic presidential hopefuls are proposing most liberal policies, including tuition-free college with the cancellation of all student loan debt.

He also took issue with decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation, an idea first floated by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro as a way to stop separating families at the US-Mexico border.

"No, I don't. No, I don't," Biden said when asked if he agreed with the plan. "I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case."

Biden's task is now to convince Americans that his brand of politics has a better chance of defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.

One way that many Democrats believe he could better his chances is by picking a woman as his possible vice president, should he win the nomination.

Biden said he didn't want to be presumptive by saying he will or won't pick a certain person as vice president, but added, "I think it'd be great to have a female vice president and if I don't win, it'd be great to have a female president."

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+15 # davehaze 2019-07-05 19:18
Biden is not in it to win the presidency. He thinks it would be nice if he does but the purpose that he is running is to stop Bernie Sanders. To the Democratic party the entire purpose of the primary is to stop Bernie Sanders because he would represent the people which would be devastating for the party. Any other candidate would be acceptable.
+19 # davehaze 2019-07-05 19:26
And any other candidate would beat Trump except for Biden. Biden would lose because he would not excite enough people to overrun the Republican cheating and the Electoral College.

With Biden the Democrats couldn't go after Trump on racism because Trump would point out that Biden sucked up to racists and was against busing. Couldn't go after Trump for his misogyny and rapes because they would show an endless loop of videos of Biden grabbing little girls and smelling women's hair. Couldnt go after Trump on militarism and endless war because Biden is for militarism and endless war. Etc etc.
+4 # chapdrum 2019-07-05 23:02
Oh Joe, please take your disingenuous shtick away.
+2 # lorenbliss 2019-07-05 23:28
Which is precisely why Trump will be re-elected.

End of story: for the United States, for our species, for all sentient life, for the planet herself -- The End.

(And that, dear readers, is what all the commotion is about.)
+6 # DongiC 2019-07-06 02:09
Biden's candidacy represents a most clever choice by the elders of established wealth to split the Democratic Party and insure another term for Donald Trump. It would be the center and right wing DINO's against the Progressives, who incidentally, represent the main source of ideas and energy in politics right now. Watch the big money flow to Biden and his Wall St. buddies. They don't call the former vice-president, "the defender of credit card companies" for nothing. And, Delaware has long been a favorite state of the many corporations that have been incorporated there. A vote for Biden is a vote for the status quo.
+6 # John Cosmo 2019-07-06 03:45
Status Quo Joe keeps demonstrating that he's out-of-touch with the base of the party and not up to the challenge of addressing the needs of the 99% in any worthwhile significant way. Very likely to hand Trump a second term if he (Biden) gets the Democratic nomination.
+5 # jcdav 2019-07-06 07:04
Hey JOE and DNC, read the polls....the people (not your corporate owners) WANT Single payer health and other policies that benefit the majority of the population....P rogressives prevailed DESPITE ZERO support from the DNC, DCCC et al.....BTW the wealthy do not care which party prevails as they now own both parties---excep t the PROGRESSIVES.
+8 # Texas Aggie 2019-07-06 07:14
More proof that Biden is living in the past is that he is unaware that for the last dozen years or so the major gripe unions and employees have had during contract talks is that employers are putting the cost of the insurance plans on the employees. They are also cutting the benefits so that many corporations no longer have the health benefits that the unions fought for.

His statement that Medicare for All would be too expensive shows that he hasn't bothered to actually look at the numbers. When a Koch funded effort found it would be cheaper than what we are paying now, you can rest assured that it would be cheaper, a lot cheaper. So what kind of a president would he be with habits like that, just pulling numbers out of his nether parts. (Hint: we have a president like that now.). And they both have the same health plan, nothing.

And he is not even close to being center left. He is where the republicans were when Nelson Rockefeller was around. He needs to look to Adlai Stevenson to see where center left is.
+7 # laborequalswealth 2019-07-06 07:36
Biden just demonstrated his total cluelessness about Americans.

Btw Re Medicare for all : Such a terrible idea. I mean listen to all of those millions upon millions of seniors BEGGING the government to abolish Medicare. Petitions! Marches! Protests! Please oh please get rid of this awful system that keeps seniors from going bankrupt to pay medical bills! It’s so so .... socialist. Much better to suffer and die in “freedom “!

Did I say clueless? I meant Biden is an f- ing plutocrat tool.
+3 # Forbes 2019-07-06 07:57
Biden's skepticism should be enough to kill his chances, which is fine by me. He could be Secretary of State or back in Congress if he wants a part of the next government.
+3 # lfeuille 2019-07-06 10:55
Biden is showing himself to be the true Republican that he really is. The only thing he has going for him is name recognition and fear of Trump. There has to be some way to demonstrate that he is NOT the best candidate to Trump.
0 # Colleen Clark 2019-07-10 14:32
Biden is just unsuitable to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He sounds like a Republican!