A Commentary on the Passing Scene by
Robert Paul Wolff
The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.
NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.
NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."
I grew up and live in Iowa and have been to every caucus since 1980—I’ve chaired every caucus in my present precinct for over 20 years. The thing about Iowa, for obvious reasons, is that you can get really involved in presidentials and through those years, there have been a handful of them that I have thrown myself into in addition to the local stuff. One of those years was 1988, for Joe Biden. I respected him and, still single no kids, young professional living in downtown Des Moines—walking distance from his campaign headquarters, I threw myself into the race.
Everything you wrote is accurate, but there is one other aspect to Biden: he is a lousy presidential campaigner. Lousy. A lot of Democrats are rightfully worried about Bernie in a general election, but they should be also be worried about Joe—Trump will kill him. It’s more than the speaking before thinking, though that is a part of the problem. It is also in his indecision, his inability to focus on a strategy, his call with Anita Hill, all which have been on display already in this race. He is just not good at this. Great guy; great senator; great VP—and he would make a great president, too. But he cannot run a decent race for president. Maybe it is the years of running a small-state, safe-seat campaign, maybe it’s something else. But, he is unlikely to get the nomination and if he does, he is highly unlikely to beat Trump.
In 1988, he staffed up with rather snooty east-coasters and then he killed his own campaign—even his decision to get out wasn’t done well. He ran a laughably poor caucus campaign in 2008. By 2008, a serious candidate had access to the resources and know-how to at least make a basic organizational effort at running here, if he or she wanted to. He didn’t seem to have the ability to do anything other than try to ride in on his name ID. In many precincts (including mine), he wasn’t viable, which means poor organization and his supporters didn’t know what to do after that happened, which means poor training. If you want to run here, at least lock down the basics.
The guy is just a lousy presidential campaigner. I’m okay with being proven wrong on this, because I would love to have him be president. But, I won’t support him in the primary—particularly with so many good alternatives—and I fear for the party if he is our nominee.
As I observed in one of my books, in politics I am an anarchist, in religion I am an atheist, and in economics I am a Marxist. I am also, rather more importantly, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a violist.