Op-Ed

Dick Morris: Biden 3.0 Has To Recant Past Positions

Combined Shape

As Joe Biden launches his third bid for president (the others were in 1988 and 2008), he will run into a collection of his old positions and commitments out of which he will have to wriggle.

He’s like the modern major general in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance who sings:

For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury

Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century.

Like the major general, Biden has a lot of catching up to do. His current issue positions leave him far behind the current wave of young “progressives” who set the tone for today’s Democratic Party.

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For example, Biden supports capital punishment. In 1994, he helped to write the crime bill that, he explained, “authorized the death penalty for dozens of existing and new federal crimes.”

A sponsor of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act that expanded civil forfeiture, he bragged that “we changed the law so that if you are arrested, and you are a drug dealer, under our forfeiture statutes, the government can take everything you own.”

And, as the senator from Delaware, he supported and defended mandatory minimum sentencing, saying, “We have laws that don’t allow judges discretion to sentence people, flat time sentencing. You get caught, you go to jail.”

His record on abortion will get him in deep trouble on the left.

Do you think Joe Biden has a chance in 2020?

He wrote in his book, “Promises to Keep,” which was released as he prepared to run in 2008, “I’ve stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than thirty years. I still vote against partial birth abortion and federal funding.”

In interviews in 2008 and 2015, Biden said he believes life begins at conception.

In 1995 and 1996, he voted to ban partial-birth abortion.

With the new left’s flirtation with abortions so late-term that they constitute infanticide, Biden’s position will not play well.

Reparations for slavery, endorsed at least in part by 12 of the 20 (as of now) Democratic candidates? That’s a no from Joe. In 1975 — 44 years ago, he said, “I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

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Biden backed NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership recently killed by President Donald Trump.

Most candidates have the luxury of laying out a broad agenda of positive proposals to animate their candidacies. But Biden must open his campaign with a series of retractions and recantations to avoid being skewered in his opponents’ negative ads.

Biden would be only the second candidate in U.S. history to run — and possibly to lose — presidential elections in three different decades. Henry Clay, a loser in 1824, 1832 and 1844 was other. But at least he was a great senator.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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