Democratic presidential candidate former VP Joe Biden speakings to supporters at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Feb. 10, 2020, during a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The argument you hear the most from Joe Biden when he’s on the campaign trail is on how he will bring things “back to normal” in Washington, D.C. if elected president. President Trump, Biden says in so many words, is uncouth, speaks out of turn, and lacks the even temperament needed to effectively work with people of all political stripes and govern America.
But as was confirmed Tuesday in the viral video of the disturbing confrontation between Biden and a Michigan autoworker, President Obama’s former vice president has a temperament issue of his own, and it’s so bad that it effectively negates the arguments he’s made on this front against Trump.
As I noted yesterday, cursing out and threatening a voter with physical violence is not normal behavior. Unfortunately for the Biden campaign, it’s been a pattern with him that goes back for quite some time, including when he yelled at Elizabeth Warren during a debate last year after she refused to give him credit for a legislative accomplishment.
He’s also yelled at journalists and called another voter “fat” after a highly contentious back and forth about the age question and the Hunter Biden/Burisma issue.
The former veep doesn’t handle himself well at all when he’s faced with a voter who is not a Biden shill or a fellow Democratic politico who doesn’t bow to his decades of experience in Congress and 8 years with President Obama.
Naturally, Republicans who criticize Biden’s temperament are met with the “whataboutism” card from Democrats and “journalists” like CNN’s Chris Cillizza. He argued yesterday after the Michigan autoworker video was widely shared on social media that the clip was “probably a good thing” for Biden. Not only that, but Cillizza asserted there was a “deeply rich irony” in the Trump campaign making these arguments against Biden:
“There’s also a deeply rich irony here in the Trump campaign trying to suggest that confrontations, generally speaking, and a politician using a few curse words is a bad thing. After all, this President loves confrontation! And cussing! Often in public! And dismissing those who say that he isn’t acting presidential as wimps and whiners!”
Here’s the problem with this argument. Biden doesn’t just need to win Democrats on election day. He also has to win over a certain percentage of disaffected Republicans and independents. He’s banking on some of those voters having “Trump fatigue” and being tired of the daily dramatic news reports of how Trump has responded in kind to his critics.
But if Biden is really no different than Trump when it comes to his temperament and dealing with his critics, it undercuts his core argument against Trump. Not only that, but the moment Biden brings up “temperament” during the general election campaign will be the moment the Trump campaign releases a video montage of Biden’s many aggressive confrontations and outbursts on the campaign trail.
This is a disaster scenario for Biden, especially when it comes to voters who are generally happy with Trump’s overall performance but who are also not fans of how he addresses criticism.
Look, even Democrats know Biden can be his own worst enemy on temperament (and gaffes), which is why some of them want to go ahead and shut the primary process down and declare him the winner. But regardless of whether or not that happens, Biden’s uneven temperament is here to stay, and it may backfire on him and the Democratic party in a big way come November.