Joe Biden Gaffes It: Why "I'm a Realist" Was the Worst Way to Say "I'm No Bernie Sanders."
How Hard Would a President Joe Biden Work to Help the Middle Class?
Realism Feels Akin to Economic Vichy-ism
Vice president Joe Biden is an economic "realist," he says. The quasi-candidate, who will apparently not decide on whether or not to enter the Democratic primary race until after the October 13 Democratic debate [between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders], is trying to find his niche among liberal-leaning voters. Apparently, he has just sided with frontrunner Hillary Clinton on asserting his disagreement with overt economic populism. "I'm no Bernie Sanders," Biden said at the Concordia Summit in New York. "I'm not a populist. But I'm a realist."
Americans don't want a realist when it comes to advocating for the working and middle classes.
Electing a president is akin to hiring an employee. Americans must "hire" an president to work for them. The pay is an annual $400,000 salary, plus excellent fringe benefits, but the responsibilities are tremendous and the hours are exhausting. Considerable travel is expected, demands on family members are high, and there is a slight, but constant, element of danger. There is no explicit morality clause, but violations are always searched for. An employment contract is for four years, with a second contract negotiable.
Do Americans want a zealous employee or a complacent employee? Realism seems worryingly close to complacency. A realist picks and chooses battles, negotiates compromises instead of seeking victories, and tries to play both sides. Many of us have to be realists in our daily lives, out of necessity rather than desire. This necessity is due to scarcity of resources and lack of power.
The president, arguably the most powerful person in the nation, should not feel constrained by the limitations felt by us common citizens. We need a president who is an idealist and a populist when it comes to seeking progress and fairness. We need to fairly tax the wealthy, especially those whose income is derived from corporate equity instead of sweat equity. We need to transfer spending from the military and prisons to education and Social Security.
A realist is one who acknowledges that the rich and powerful will fight to maintain the status quo...and wants to avoid this fight. A realist wants to compromise. A realist wants to secure a negotiated surrender between the wealthy and the middle class, hoping to ease the decline in real wages instead of reversing it. Frankly, it feels like modern-day Vichy-ism in the aftermath of the economic war of our Great Recession.
A populist will fight to reduce economic and income inequality. A populist will not rest and will demand a fair and necessary solution. A populist wants real wages to increase again in America for the first time since the early 1970s.
If this comparison is made in a Democratic debate, both Clinton and Biden will suffer. Would you hire an employee who does not promise to work as hard as he or she can? I, personally, want an employee who will put forth his or her all in pursuit of my goals. Bernie Sanders is this employee. Bernie Sanders should become president.