Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The new Biden Plagiarism scandal is dumb but it is only the beginning

As much as I think Biden is a bad candidate for the Democratic nomination, this "scandal" is stupid. The whole reason that environmental groups put out proposals for dealing with climate change is they hope that someone with power (like a would-be president) adopts the proposals so they can be put into effect. A campaign promise is not a work of art or scholarship. What matters is whether the proposal is good policy, not where it came from.

The only reason this is even  thought to be a scandal is because it is the Biden campaign, and Biden's first presidential campaign collapsed in 1987 from a plagiarism scandal. But that 1987 scandal was over Biden lying about his personal biography to get elected. Not about whether he adopted a substantive policy without proper attribution.

Okay maybe there is one reason this bullshit plagiarism scandal matters: it illustrates that Uncle Joe cannot just ride a wave of Obama nostalgia to the White House. The warts in his long history are going to come back and haunt him, and sometimes they will haunt him in ways that are not particularly fair. And there are a lot of warts, from race, to gender equality, to abortion, to tax policy, to bankruptcy reform, etc. That those warts are a serious liability is something that the people who simply assume that Biden is the most electable seem not to fully understand. If Biden get the nomination, the campaign will end up being an endless parade of "scandals" drawn from Biden's history. Some of those scandals will be fair and others won't, but it will be damaging to Democrats' prospects either way, as will anything that takes the spotlight off of the terribleness of our current president.