What is Biden’s Worldview?

W.J. Astore

Joe Biden’s worldview, it’s safe to say, poses no threat to big business and high finance. If this weren’t true, he would have been stomped on just like Bernie Sanders was stomped on during the primaries. And who did the stomping? Establishment tools like Barack Obama.

Back in January 2011, I wrote about my reaction to Obama’s state of the union address. His speech was all about competition and consumerism and making America great again. Great not as in good or moral or just, but great as in economically competitive. If Biden is elected on November 3rd, you can count on hearing this message again in January 2021.

They say Trump is a servant of Wall Street. It’s true that he’s a creature of it, but Biden is arguably more servile toward it. As Don Henley sang: “Now it’s take and take takeover, takeover/ It’s all take and never give.” The makers are the takers, and you know who serves the makers.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote in 2011:

Obama: It’s a Darwinian World, So Work Harder!


Last night’s State of the Union address boils down to one point: In a cutthroat world, America has lost its edge. We’re dull, and the Chinese are sharp. They have faster computers and high-speed rail. Their students work harder and score higher on math and science tests. It’s Sputnik all over again. The only way to defeat them is to out-compete them.

It seems President Obama concluded that we as Americans can only understand the rhetoric of competition (and the related rhetoric of consumption). Look closely at his speech, and you’ll see no mention of conservation (whether of energy or any other natural resource). You’ll see precious few references to cooperation. Instead, it’s all about restoring America’s greatness while at the same time keeping America safe from terrorists.

We can’t solve future problems with the government of the past, Obama said. But I would argue that we can’t meet future challenges with the rhetoric of the past. For Obama, America is still the exceptional country, the light on the hill, though we may shine less brilliantly today. His solution is not to rethink our belief in our greatness, but to rekindle our competitive fire: to rededicate ourselves to being Number One, irrespective of the cost to others.

In an era of globalization and of shrinking natural resources, Obama continues to think in terms of nations in relentless competition. And to compete successfully, we must struggle, produce, innovate, all in the name of greater economic power and military prowess.

We must, Obama exclaims, remain exceptional: Exceptional, that is, in our profligate consumption of the world’s resources and our prodigious expenditures on weaponry.

And with a State of the Union like that, who needs a Republican rejoinder?

Professor Astore writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and can be reached at wjastore@gmail.com.

20 thoughts on “What is Biden’s Worldview?

  1. Speaking of Biden’s worldview, often actions speak louder than words. From Matt Taibbi:

    “The Burisma board deals were a protection scheme, funded with stolen money and designed to scare off commercial rivals and would-be regulators alike. Archer and Hunter Biden, even if they never did a minute of work for Burisma, were being paid to provide a criminal enterprise with the appearance of American protection. Similarly, if Joe Biden never actually intervened on behalf of Burisma, Hunter’s presence on Burisma’s board made it possible for anyone to argue that he was.”


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Regarding the rhetorical question to the sternly worded letter writers about “where were you during Barack Obama’s presidential administration” to be fair to A.O.C. she was in school or tending bar during those years as far as I know so I would give her a pass on that one. I also doubt any “playing nice” with the right wing Dems is going to get them any more than it did Sanders. Odds are the party elites will still go all out to primary anyone with any progressive leftist tendencies at all – “unity” be damned.

      If I were a US citizen I would have voted for Obama once with (tempered) enthusiasm and the second time with a few dregs of hope still being detectable.


  2. I have avoided, on principle, almost every SOTU address by any POTUS. Looking at the current scene, is Trump a tool of Wall Street? Well, he likes to boast he’s got billions–someday the truth may actually come into the light of day!–and wants to hobnob with the Big Boys (mostly they’re still guys, and don’t forget Donald’s insults to Carly Fiorina!) at Davos, etc. But mostly Trump seeks tax breaks that benefit his own family enterprises. The word in MSM is that Wall Street actually prefers a Biden electoral win, because things would be more stable and predictable on his watch. There can be no doubt whatsoever that Biden WILL be the tool of the uber-rich. More dependable a tool precisely because he’s NOT the mentally deranged Donald J. Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The term “clout” comes from old-time Chicago politics, a synonym for which was “Chinaman,” as in “I ain’t gettin’ nowhere without my Chinaman, my clout.” Similarly, there’s no way to get positioned for a real run at the Presidency without being in someone’s pocket. Mr. Biden’s vision of the world is, I’m thinking – at best – tied to 2008-2016, and who can blame him? With all the moaning about “getting back to normal” in the midst of the ongoing viral unpleasantness, that’s his “normal.”


  4. This just in: having dropped the ball on Trump’s impeachment and after all the talk these past two weeks about the 25th Amendment, Nancy Pelosi punts: “The biggest antidote to (Trump’s) poison is the vote.” Loath them or ignore them, you’ve got to admire the Democrats’ consistency.


    1. I don’t take a backseat to anyone for deserved criticism of the Dems, but I have a two-pronged objection here, butsudanbill! 1.) okay, the Dems should have gotten “on the record” some very serious charges in the impeachment effort, but GOP control of the Senate meant there would be NO conviction/removal from office, period, regardless of specific charges; and 2.) Speaker Pelosi is correct: under “our” (I sure as hell didn’t design it!) system, the only means left for getting Trump out of office is to, indeed, vote him out on Nov. 3. The masses are “not quite ready” (a facetious understatement of the situation) to rise up and run that SOB out of town on a rail, as he so richly deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Democrats have spent the last four years saying “we can’t do anything” and “it’s up to the voters” yet they have failed to come up with compelling candidates. Of late, their strategy seems confined to expressing outrage at “kiss-and-tell” books from former Trump cronies and waiting on election results. What will they do if, as threatened, Trump refuses to acknowledge a defeat? He can’t stay in office just because he wants to. At that point, laying responsibility at the feet of the electorate will no longer work. And the Democrats will fold, resort to harsh language and blame the system against which they are powerless, while waiting for the next election.
    As for the argument that things would “die in the Senate” the defenders of The Alamo also knew they weren’t going to win, but they tied up Santa Ana long enough for Sam Houston to get his forces together (leading to the victory at the San Jacinto). You don’t need to
    win every battle, just the right ones, and make things difficult for your opponent in the time between. But the Democrats don’t even offer token resistance. They’re never at fault but they aren’t in a position to do anything about anything, so … what’s the use of them?
    They stand for nothing beyond their own existence, offering nothing but expecting everything in return.
    For someone to say they are a “progressive” while aligning themselves with the Democrats is as nonsensical as Winston Smith’s belief that hope resided in the Proles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Dems answer to their donors and owners, just like their Republican counterparts. There is no opposition in a one-party plutocracy.


    2. Right now, Job #1 for me, as a US citizen eligible to vote, is to rid this country of the incumbent POTUS. I don’t support the Dems in general or Biden specifically, yet “the System” offers me no other (legal!) way to get the job done than vote for Joe. I have despised “the System” for a half-century now and the “choices” we’ve been given in recent elections haven’t softened my ire. But “It is what it is” for the foreseeable future. So, have I surrendered to pragmatism? No, I still believe that 2+2=4. Keepin’ it real. “Go along to get along” has never been my style. If Biden appears to have a clear win soon after Nov. 3, I have no doubt Trump will scream “fraud” louder than ever, and of course he’s been setting the scene for this all along. But refuse to vacate the White House on Jan. 20? That “threat,” methinks, is just to keep his base fired up.


  6. To continue the quotation from Don Henley,

    “‘Cause a man with a briefcase
    Can steal more money
    Than any man with a gun”

    He also mentions “trumped up towers,” which I think is no coincidence.

    Your read of Obama’s mindset proved to be spot-on. And we’re the losers for that attitude.


    1. Woody Guthrie’s song, “The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd,” contained the immortal lines “Some rob you with a six-gun/And some with a fountain pen.” The second line referred to the Banksters who were seizing the lands of destitute farmers during the Great Depression.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that Rolling Stone article a few days ago and was as appalled and outraged as Dore. His criticisms are exactly in line with the sorry content that RS spewed. Matt Taibbi might as well resign, because his magazine has covered itself in shame. I noted the same thing Dore did, that there’s no byline listed for the piece. Cowards!


  7. It most certainly does, although the language (as Dore pointed out, pouncing on “evinces”) is not meant for the lowest common denominator. My guess would be that Uncle Joe’s plain-spoken, one-syllable-word responses in public are meant for Joe Average consumer, while the type of verbiage in the RS article is geared toward the college-educated suburbanites who are widespread among his base.

    Dore does a masterful job of eviscerating the article, and I love his relish as he critiques. I’m glad he took a shot at the assertion that Biden is the best possible Dem candidate; that travesty particularly made my blood boil.


Comments are closed.