July 28, 2021

What Explains Biden’s Chameleonlike Transformation?

How to explain Joe Biden’s ideological transformation over the years? Perhaps it’s the same as the explanation of why the chameleon’s complexion changes when he moves from desert to forest: adaptation to local terrain.

About the Biden transformation there can be no question. The senator who opposed government financing of abortions for 30-some years now supports it — and up through the ninth month of pregnancy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman who sponsored and bragged about the tough provisions of the 1994 crime bill now decries systemic racism and echoes almost the entire Black Lives Matter mantra.

The politician who supported the welfare reform bill that House Speaker Newt Gingrich kept pressing until then-President Bill Clinton, facing reelection, decided to sign it in 1996 has now concocted “COVID relief” legislation that includes multi-thousand-dollar payments to single mothers with no work requirements.

Joe Biden came to public office in the 1965-75 decade, when violent crime and welfare dependency roughly tripled, and as a senator, he supported measures to reverse those trends and reduce the ensuing ill effects, which were particularly devastating in America’s black neighborhoods.

As presidential candidate in 2019 and 2020, and as president now, however, he is supporting policies that threaten to recreate that vicious cycle, for murders skyrocket at a rate exceeding those of 1965-75 and the immediate need for welfare payments seems minimal at a time when employment looks set to rise as COVID-19 restrictions fade.

Biden began his Senate career just as the unintended consequences of the 1965 immigration act were kicking in, ultimately resulting in 11 million illegal immigrants and lowered wages for low-skilled American citizens and legal residents.

Now he’s presiding over reversal of the effective border controls former President Donald Trump finally put together. He’s inviting untold thousands who will likely swell the illegal population.

That’s some ideological transformation. It represents adaptation to significantly changing local terrain.

If the United States were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t create a separate state of Delaware. Its existence is a fillip of ancient colonial history, and it houses only one-quarter of 1% of the nation’s population. Its share of land area is even tinier. Some 57% of its residents live in New Castle County, mostly affluent suburban turf that’s part of the Philadelphia metro area.

But Delaware has made its contributions. It was the first state to ratify the Constitution. It was a slave state, but 92% of its blacks were free by 1860, and it stuck with the Union. It’s the home of DuPont, an innovator in chemicals since 1802.

During the first half of Biden’s career, Delaware was also a political bellwether. It voted within 2% of the national average in presidential elections from 1960 to 1992. And in this small state, voters are used to having close, personal contact with their high elected officials. The Thursday after elections is Return Day, when winning and losing candidates of both parties appear in parades in Georgetown, in southern Sussex County.

Joe Biden, temperamentally gregarious, was a natural in this environment. I remember interviewing him by phone in May 1972, when the 29-year-old New Castle County council member explained exactly how he’d defeat a popular Republican who’d held statewide office for 26 years. He didn’t need political consultants to tell him how to talk — and listen — to voters.

As senator, Biden famously returned by train to Delaware every night, with plenty of chances to schmooze with voters while shopping, after church, lunching with the kids. He was alert to voters’ concerns, amplified by Philly local TV news, about crime and urban decay.

His voting record reflected those concerns, and it also dissuaded potential strong competitors. For 30 years, he and his Republican colleague William Roth were easily elected and reelected.

But in the 1990s, the local terrain changed. Affluent suburbs in the Northeast and Midwest trended Democratic, and so did Delaware. Starting in 2000, it has averaged 57% Democratic in presidential races, 7% above the national average. Roth lost that year, and Delaware is now rated safe Democratic.

That left Biden with zero worries about reelection and more in sync with a Senate Democratic caucus that, in my observation over the last 20 years, has been more cohesive and like-minded than Senate Republicans.

Then, in 2008, Biden was elected vice president and, installed in the West Wing and the VP’s residence for the next eight years, less exposed to nonliberal opinions, even as the Democratic administration and party became more lockstep liberal.

By the 2020 campaign cycle, he was taken to voicing woke opinions, suggesting that perhaps this family man has been influenced by woke young family members.

That’s my explanation for why one of the few politicians who has personally witnessed over a half-century the damage inflicted by policy mistakes on crime, welfare and immigration seems determined to make the same policy mistakes again. Anyone have a better explanation?

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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28 Responses

  1. He’s a prime example of someone with mental illness,he shouldn’t be president of an ant colony let alone our country

    1. Professionals in the field of psychology are studying the composition of both Trump’s and Biden’s personalities. As a Republican, I have been following this with interest. While there is much review of Biden for dementia, so far it appears no more significant than the average 78 year old.

      Trump however we are shown is clinically a narcissist. Of the two, narcissistic behavior, since it is self centered, is more dangerous in any leadership position. A narcissist will have a false sense of reality, almost like living in a parallel universe. With that false reality, they will tell you that their decisions are in your interest, when they really are not.

      Someone with progressive dementia usually does not make decisions of significance. So we must look at the capabilities of those around that person. The better there staff, the less we have to worry.

      1. If mentally challenged Biden were making decisions I would feel better. It is not him; it is the far left pushing us toward Communism. Anyone can see that. Trump believes in the Constitution and the far left do not. They are doing everything they can to either ignore it or change it. You might want to read the Constitution before you take up for the Dems.

  2. Biden is an empty vessel…and always has been…the only difference now is you can add dementia to his skill set….fact!

  3. Because the handlers who are speaking for him because with dementia he doesn’t have a clue!! He is not the president because the deep state cheated and it was illegitimate election just ask Biden!! Pelosi and schumer also are fraudes with Obama and the Clinton’s etc.

  4. GBS as a Republican RINO no nothing, President Trump, is not a narcissist you idiot. Do you know anything about this man other than fake news. Your authority as a Dr is useless. I dropped a Dr like you and so did many people. Read a little past 3rd party bull, perhaps a book or several books about this incredible man. After you read, the tell us all who President Trump is. For now Mr Dr, you are useless and a RINO.

  5. Donnie, great comment to the great GBS Dr, no less. He’s smoking something or on Opioids. He’s not anything I would want to meet. But maybe? Just to make him know how dumb he is.

  6. 400 Bad Request

    Request Header Or Cookie Too Large
    nginx/1.17.8……..This is what I get every time I vote for President Trump and say he’s the greatest President American has ever seen. My number is 45 so big tech doesn’t like that.

  7. TIME TO IMPEACH BIDEN AND HARRIS!

    WE THE PEOPLE (aka SILENT MAJORITY) had countless opportunities to have stopped this nightmare, but we chose to give the DEMOCRATS what they expected of us, to REMAIN SILENT! Thus, making us equally complicit in the fraud perpetrated against United States Americans!

    Isn’t it time you actually did something, took action? How much more damage needs to be done?

    I urge everyone who reads this to PICK UP THE PHONE and call your REP AND SENATORS in DC and DEMAND IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT OF BIDEN AND HARRIS.

    BIDEN is completely UNFIT FOR OFFICE! Can you continue to tolerate gasoline prices, product prices all going up, the WH being run by Harris, Pelosi and Schumer? Literally destroying our country, allowing thousand upon thousands of illegals into our country bringing in God knows what diseases?

    Then copy and paste this information into an E-Mail and send to friends and family asking them to make the calls, then forward on to their friends asking them to make the calls and forward on! WE NEED TO MAKE THIS GO VIRAL!

    Members of the House
    202-224-3841

    Members of the Senate
    202-224-3121

    TOLL FREE:
    866-272-6622

    Keep in mind: SILENCE = ACCEPTANCE

  8. new Chief Technology Officer, Erica Joy Baker……..Remember this name. This woman Erica Joy Baker wants to cancel the police, defund every police everywhere in America.

  9. No silent majority here, and afraid of communism, but not afraid of Pelosi and her thugs. I’m Republican and a President Trump supporter. 😁

  10. Pelosi said the border is under control. Well! from what I see she is right, the border is under control of the Cartels, who are making all kinds of money off of drugs, and humane trafficking’s, while the democrats are making money off of the American taxpayer who are paying for everything. Doesn’t it feel so good to be so generous, and so wanted, right when you are broke, and the DNC wont let you go to work. Just remember all you Democrat taxpayers this is your money too.

  11. The federal government does have over all control of the border, however since this is a republic and not a kingdom, the states also have a say when it comes to protecting their citizens. They could put a travel ban on illegals coming across their borders due to the covid19 spread they are causing, not to mention the drugs, the human trafficking, criminals, diseases, economic, and multiple other problems they are causing. Put them back on the other side of the border, and send them south, they came on their own, I don’t see why we should pay their way back, we didn’t pay their way to get here. We don’t owe them anything.

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