Anita Hill, from Wiki Commons, victim of Joe Biden

We are in the battle for the soul of this nation…. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.

Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video (3:30), April 25, 2019

iden’s candidacy announcement video is an elaborate exercise in false consciousness, opening with a misleading invocation of the Declaration of Independence. He never mentions the Constitution. The video segues into a shameless bit of soulless exploitation, manipulation, and misrepresentation of the racial events in Charlottesville in 2017. The portentous music, together with Biden’s funereal tone, work hard to create the sense that there was meaning and substance where there was neither. Biden can only fake gravitas. He goes on and on about “American values” and “who we are” without naming a specific value or saying who he thinks we are. This is political pandering in the form of a Rorschach blot. This is crude demagoguery that boils down to an appeal to elect a familiar under-achiever just because he’s NOT Trump.

Last time anyone looked, ALL the candidates were NOT Trump. And a good many of them actually stand for both articulated values and thought-out policies to put them into practice.

Most of Biden’s career has been spent standing by and letting things happen, things that attest to the historic character of “who we are,” but are anywhere from not admirable to despicable. Biden’s announcement video suggests that Biden would promote racial healing. He never has before, why would anyone believe he could now?

Trump calls Biden “Sleepy Joe.” That’s actually a compliment in the context of his record. “Sloppy Joe” would be more apt. Trump grabs women by the pussy, Biden grabs women by the shoulders. There’s a difference, but they’re both grabbers. Maybe the most realistic thing to call him is “Creepy Joe.”

In reality, Biden has been horrendously awake and active on the wrong side of too many issues. Here are some of them, unranked.

Biden actively supported the Iraq War, helping President Bush lie the country into war.

Biden actively supports the Afghanistan War and always has. He supports drone strikes and CIA-trained death squads without any apparent concern for civilians maimed and killed.

Biden is silent on Saudi Arabia’s criminal war on Yemen, green-lighted by President Obama.

Biden has advocated a non-specific “military solution” for Syria, but not recently.

Biden’s son Hunter had lucrative interests in Ukraine that were under investigation by Ukraine’s top prosecutor. Biden has boasted of leaning on Ukraine president Poroshenko, who fired the prosecutor.

Biden backed the aggressive and deceitful eastern expansion of NATO, knowing it would likely lead to unnecessary confrontation with Russia.

Biden has long supported tax cuts for the rich.

Biden supports cutting Medicare and Social Security.

Biden voted for the banking “reforms” that loosened banking regulation and opened the way to the 2008 crash.

Biden actively supported credit card companies and other lenders in their efforts to gouge the public with usurious interest rates and other debt enforcement mechanisms.

Biden has supported the War on Drugs through all its failed permutations. He opposes any legalization of marijuana.

Biden opposed busing to integrate schools, without offering any alternative to promote integration. He joined with racist senators Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond to craft regressive “bipartisan” legislation. He falsely claimed to have once been a civil rights activist.

Biden has been a relentless demagogue on crime issues. He has been comfortable with their underlying racist bias, contributing to the massive, unjust incarceration that enriches private corporations. Biden pushed for harsh minimum sentencing, not justice. He supported civil asset forfeiture. He voted for racist sentencing for possession of crack cocaine (harsh for blacks) and powder cocaine (light for whites).

Biden has backed numerous new death penalty laws.

Biden has claimed, falsely, that he has the most progressive record of any candidate.

Biden is not a firm supporter of a woman’s right to choose.

Biden has yet to offer anything positive and humane with regard to immigration. Biden has backed draconian deportation law and police state tactics of border enforcement.

Biden has backed US policies that have made Central America unlivable, including support for the military coup in Honduras.

Biden voted for NAFTA.

Biden was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’s hearings. Biden treated Anita Hill abysmally. Worse, Biden refused to call corroborating witness who would have supported Hill’s account of Thomas’s awfulness. Biden is singularly responsible for one of the least qualified justices in our history. And recently, creepy Biden called Hill to say he regretted what she went through. But he didn’t apologize and has yet to accept personal responsibility for his own actions. He has yet to attempt anything to atone for them.

Biden is a corporate money candidate. His first campaign fundraiser was a lobbyist-rich event at the home of a Comcast executive, signaling Biden’s opposition to net neutrality.

If Biden has any new – never mind progressive – views on health care, criminal justice, education, climate change, war, or any other important issue, he has yet to articulate any of them.

Does Biden stand for anything concrete that you care about?

Biden is like Trump-Lite. Biden may be no more than Trump polite. Biden is a substantively empty vessel with a shiny self-reflecting surface.

Biden pitches himself as a “return to normalcy.” A close reading of his record would define “normalcy” as endless war, endless racial divide, endless injustice, endless enriching the rich, endless grabbing heads and pressing noses as if that were some token of sincerity and authenticity.

Running as the NOT-Trump is a reasonable approach for most candidates, but for Biden, it’s ridiculous. Biden has no identifiable attribute that will move the country forward toward a better, more honest, more civilized condition.

Biden was once, perhaps, “who we are” in a negative sense of the phrase. Now he’s who we were, and that’s how it should remain, for the sake of the soul of the nation.