Finley: I wish Joe Biden was better

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Here we go again. Democrats make a deeply flawed choice for their presidential nominee and expect us to pretend he’s the one who can fix America.

Anytime I write anything suggesting Joe Biden is not that guy, I’m swamped with "Yeah, but Trump ..." emails reminding me of the grievous acts committed by "your president."

Ok, we can agree that Trump falls well short of being a great leader. But Trump’s bad doesn’t make Biden good.

If the best you can say about the former vice president is that he’s better than Trump, it's not a soaring case for his election.

Many of us will find ourselves in the same place we were in 2016, forced to hold our noses and pick the lesser of two evils, whoever we perceive that to be based on our self-interests. 

Pretending that Biden is the man for this very troubled moment in America is delusional. And pointing out his shortcomings, by the way, doesn’t make you a Trump lover.

Biden is a leaky balloon, unable to achieve liftoff in this campaign. During the dual crises this spring, he has not found the presence to inspire the nation to the hope that relief is coming.

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable on economic reopening with community members, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Philadelphia.

He made his case for the nomination on his past accomplishments, rather than his vision for the future.  

It would be a different story if we could believe that Biden could channel the wisdom and experience gleaned from decades of public service to guide America through these troubled waters. 

But at 78, Biden is not equipped mentally or physically for the huge job ahead of healing and uniting the American people. He's already played his best games; these times demand a president who still has zip on his fastball.

Biden spent most of his political career in a different era, one that put off confronting the difficult challenges facing the country today. Worse, he made them greater.

Had Biden’s nomination not been secured before the death of George Floyd triggered weeks of rage, he likely would not have been the Democratic pick. His authorship of the 1994 crime bill that led to the mass incarceration of African Americans would have been a deal-breaker for a left that now tolerates no past racial sins.

Biden’s verbal gaffes and mental lapses can’t just be laughed off. They are clear warning signs. The presidency is a grueling job; compare pictures of any president from Inauguration Day to Year Four of their term and you can see the physical toll the heavy responsibility takes. Biden is already there.

Nominating a candidate who can beat Trump should have never been the sole goal of the Democratic Party this year. Beating Trump with a nominee who can also lift America out of this defeated and divided place would have been a nobler mission.

This is a year that calls for generational change in the country’s leadership. We should have a candidate on the ballot equipped to lead America into a new and better age.

I know Donald Trump is not that candidate. And I can’t pretend Joe Biden is.

Twitter: @NolanFinleyDN

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