November 12, 2007

Andrew Cline (Union Leader, Manchester, NH):

Sen. Joe Biden said in an interview at the New Hampshire Union Leader this afternoon that too many Democrats, including the frontrunners for the presidential nomination, do not have faith in the American people.

"We've got to trust the American people more," Biden said.

"I think they've really lost faith in the American people in terms of leveling with them," he said of his leading rivals.

When he asks groups of Democrats if they think the American people are stupid because they elected George W. Bush twice, most respond that, yes, they do, he said. He said he thinks that attitude is a real problem for the Democrats, who fail to understand how smart and pragmatic the American people really are.

So far, so good. I don't think that many of us would disagree that the current bunch of Democratic candidates do seem to be underestimating the American people. Certainly, they could do a much better job of recognizing that we're looking for people who won't be afraid to stand up and say what needs to be said, rather than triangulate and be careful.

But then, Joe has to go slip into his typical Bidenness and go into wanker territory. *sigh* Joe, Joe, Joe..

He said Democrats would do better if they stopped dividing the electorate by playing to their base and instead brought people together. He criticized the left wing of his party for demonizing the rich and Republicans.

"Rich folks are as patriotic as poor folks, but we don't talk that way," he said.[..]

What to think about this tough talk about his own party? He was talking with the publisher and editorial writer of the New Hampshire Union Leader, as well as our chief political reporter, so perhaps he was playing to the crowd. But he knew the interview was on the record and was being recorded, and he certainly wasn't afraid that it would come back to bite him later. He acknowledged that such comments get him into trouble with liberals, but he expressed what seemed to be genuine frustration with what he saw as missed opportunities to broaden the party's appeal.

Nothing like buying into Republican framing there, Joe.

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