Joe Biden is a much better person than I am. So is Kamala Harris. But it was Biden who was on the spot last Tuesday so I’ll stick with him, and readers should take it for granted that what I have to say applies to his running mate as well. Like I said, Joe Biden is a better person than I am. He has more class. He has more wisdom. And he has more judgement. He also has the qualities of sympathy and empathy in abundance. Without bogging this down I’ve worked in fields where I’ve gotten strength from people I’ve served and/or their relatives who’ve expressed my own ability to demonstrate those last two qualities and the life experiences from early on that imbued me with them. Still, Biden has me beat fair and square on those as well.
I watched that “Charlie Fox” labeled as a debate between Biden and Trump. It both outraged and sickened me from the early minutes. If there was a version of one of those biohazard suits they wear in Level IV labs only it protected the senses and the mind it wouldn’t have offered enough protection. But I stuck it out. Like many, there were moments as it went on where I felt Biden missed a giant opening. When Trump proverbially offered up his chin to get proverbially smacked with a two-by-four. In that opening segment I literally shouted MERRICK GARLAND at my TV. There were a few other moments but this is about Covid. I started to write this several days ago but never got a clear enough outline in my head of what I wanted to say. Now, with Trump having tested positive and in the hospital, and so many in his orbit also positive for Covid I’m more convinced than ever that what I came to realize before going to bed Tuesday night applies now more than ever.
Biden had more than once during times when Covid was being discussed to verbally smack Trump upside the head by bringing up Herman Cain – who as we know DIED after attending that “return to the plan” rally in Tulsa which was a hot-spot for the virus already when Trump went there. Two weeks later Cain was dead. Thanks to Donald Trump’s ego and recklessness and his own poor judgement to join in that event. I’ll be honest. I screamed at the TV imploring Biden to bring up Herman Cain, and even out loud implored Biden to go biker bar fight and ask Trump “What would your pal Herman Cain have to say to that?”
But Biden (I truly believe) bit his tongue. And let it pass.
I’m convinced the subject of the Supreme Court was part of Biden’s debate prep whether and how to work the travesty of the SCOTUS seat Merrick Garland should be in came up and the decision was made “not to go there.” What reasons I’ve thought were behind that decision are weak although I can see not wanting to get sucked down a rabbit hole of Biden’s time as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee might have been a key factor. Most voters aren’t policy wonks and Team Biden was rightly concerned that even if rules were followed Trump would toss out so many lies about Biden in front of the largest audience either of them will have for this election that Biden wouldn’t have time to counter it all.
I’m also convinced that the subject of how to respond to Trump’s bullshit about Covid and his (Trump’s) having his rallies, refusing to take recommendations from scientists, his people running around without masks and so on was discussed. And surely someone brought up the point that Herman Cain made a point of taking part in that June rally in a city being hit hard by the virus, mingled with all those advance staff people before the event – and wound up dead from Covid two weeks later. What occurred to me late Tuesday night was that Joe Biden is the type of person who would have and I’m sure shut that down. Hard. And I realized why.
Sure, it would have been an easy shot, a layup, a tap-in putt, a Captain Obvious (whatever metaphor you choose) moment that would go viral as they say. And even if only for a few minutes knock Trump on his heels and off his game. But Biden I grew convinced had purposely chosen not to go there.
Because Biden is a decent and honorable person. Full of class. And full of sympathy and empathy. I know what it’s like to suffer great loss, and early in life from the death of loved ones and even friends well before their time. So does Joe Biden. I can imagine him hearing the suggestion to invoke Herman Cain and thinking “He’s got his own loved ones and friends who are devastated. Donald Trump, and some of those around Trump might not care one bit but I KNOW there are people who loved Herman and are still grieving his loss. I simply won’t use that to score political points.” Biden has been leading Trump for months precisely because the bulk of the country sees what I see. A person who for all the power and privilege he has earned is at his core a down-to-earth, decent human being who instinctively thinks about other’s well-being.
Taking a pot-shot at Trump with Herman Cain would have been against everything Joe Biden is. And you know what? I’m sure a lot of CONSERVATIVES feared Biden would nail Trump with what happened to Herman Cain! Yes, people at this point are pretty set in their beliefs and intentions but even if the decency, the humanity of Biden in not using Herman Cain’s corpse as baseball bat to whale on Trump with didn’t change many minds, it softened some of the opposition to him among conservatives. And now, with Trump having to admit he now has been infected with Covid, and with an ever increasing number of people in his orbit and strong elected supporters testing positive AND with it becoming apparent it was not Hope Hick’s fault but instead that super-spreader event to “celebrate” the nomination of Judge Barrett for the SCOTUS opening left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg the ground has shifted. Oh, the heated rhetoric will continue and sometimes it will be over the top. But for once reality is hitting Trump World and the broader MAGA land can see it.
Biden not invoking Herman Cain will I believe be looked back on as not just a classy thing, but as part of how he will be able to convince at least some on the other side of the aisle to work with him and be willing to be seen by the public doing so. Because he’s a good and decent person and most of the country knows it. They’ve seen it over and over again over the years. And most of the seventy five million or so who watched that debate I’m sure like me expected Biden to bring it up to slap Trump down. And whether they support Biden or Trump they know it would have been an easy shot but also a cheap shot and one that would have been hurtful to Cain’s loved ones.
That’s what we will need in our next President. Someone with that kind of class, wisdom, empathy and sympathy. Someone who, even if they won’t admit it to others will sometimes admit if only to themselves at least some of the time cares about them as much as the people who like me will vote FOR him.