Joe Biden is out with a new ad, and it’s as creepy and ridiculous as you’d expect it to be. After all, this is a guy famous for sniffing the hair of random children.
In the ad is a series of shots of people being firefighters, nurses, etc. intertwined with shots of kids being taken care of. The thrust of the presentation is summarized by a promise from Biden.
Here’s my promise to you: If I have the honor of being elected president, I will take care of your family like I would my own.
Here's my promise to you: If I have the honor of being elected president, I will take care of your family like I would my own. pic.twitter.com/vYmVUdMLO7
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 10, 2020
My first reaction was the reaction of most conservatives, i.e. a desire make fun of it. I mean, Biden didn’t do so hot with his son Hunter so this might not be the best take from him.
Besides, who elects a President because they want him to be some faux father like figure? Who wants to give government the power to “take care of” your family when that power is so easily abused? On the surface, this ad is an affront to everything America has stood for. Individualism, hard work, and a belief in a society that won’t produce perfectly equitable outcomes, but that gives everyone a chance to get ahead is cast aside so Biden can frame you as his child. It’s just weird on so many levels.
Yet, I’m not sure it’s ineffective.
One of the great failures of conservatism in the last 20 years is the mistaken belief that everyone either thinks like us or will eventually come around to thinking like us. We’ve largely ignored the transformation of the school system, for example, while clinging to the idea that everyone who grows old gets more conservative. We assume agreeing with our ideals, which are ultimately American ideals, is just part of the natural progression. Sure, Johnny Boy may be a communist right now, but eventually he’ll get into the real world and figure it out. But will he?
The more I look at the current political and cultural landscape, the less convinced I am that an ad like this from Biden doesn’t actually speak to a sizable amount of the country. A lot of people want to be “taken care of” because conservatives have completely failed to deliver a counter message to that desire. We’ve gotten pummeled in the culture wars, and this is ultimately a cultural issue, largely because the movement has refused to even engage.
I’ll give you an example from this morning. Trump went on Twitter and said this about the radical leftward politics being pushed in the university system.
Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
What was the “conservative” response? It wasn’t to focus on the cardinal issue, i.e. that universities are turning kids into left-wing revolutionaries that want to destroy the country. Instead, many conservatives rushed to bash Trump for daring to even suggest something be done about it. As a practical matter, being tax-exempt in this case is legally reliant on these organizations remaining political neutral, just as churches are required to be. Yet, these universities clearly aren’t, and in many cases are openly hostile to Republican viewpoints, both in what they allow to be done to conservative students and via their on campus policies.
Regardless, I’m not bringing this up to argue the issue to whatever solution might be settled on. You can think that Trump’s suggestion goes too far (but you better have a better plan). Rather, I’m pointing out the predictable reflex by conservatives to not even engage in cultural battles like this out of some misguided illusion of principle. Instead, they’d rather virtue signal about how much they respect the supposed non-political nature of the IRS. It’s so on brand that it’s scary, and that brand is failing.
That reflex I mentioned is why the society is where it is right now. It’s why rioting and destruction of our history are not only being tolerated, but encouraged. Conservative chose not to fight and now they are living with the results of the occupation.
A desire for basic America ideals has been overwhelmed with the kind of daddy-government socialism being constantly promoted by the left today, and conservatives have failed miserably to combat it. So while I’d love to just laugh at Biden’s latest ad, I’m fearful it may be more effective than we want to admit.