Trump vs. Biden: Fighting words
Whenever “the tone of American politics seems to be at rock bottom,” said Dan Balz in The Washington Post, “something happens to remind everyone it can go lower still.” Former Vice President Joe Biden last week claimed that if he and President Trump were still in high school, he would have taken him “behind the gym and beat the hell out of him” for disrespecting women. In reference to Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood comments, Biden said that “any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest SOB in the room.” Trump, inevitably, hit back, tweeting that “Crazy Joe” was “weak,” and “would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” It’s “embarrassing” to see these two septuagenarians “flex their John Wayne one-liners,” said Jack Holmes in Esquire.com. We’ve come to expect “toxic, performed masculinity” from Trump. But Biden, who is eyeing a 2020 presidential run, really ought to know better.
Wake up, liberals, said Matt Lewis in TheDailyBeast.com. In the 2016 election, Trump “mopped the floor” with “nice, optimistic” candidates such as Jeb Bush and John Kasich. Why? Because many voters wanted “someone who was strong,” or who at least projected strength. To win in 2020, Democrats will need a candidate who can go toe-to-toe with the president, and not be cowed by his insults and vicious rhetoric. Biden, who has spent decades honing his down-to-earth, blue-collar persona, is probably their best hope. People can moan all they want about “retrograde machismo,” said Bill Scher in Politico.com. But this is “where we are as a country.” To insist that we “shouldn’t treat the campaign like a schoolyard brawl is to deny the reality that one of the candidates is going to make sure that it is one.”
His heart might be in the right place, said Alyssa Rosenberg in The Washington Post, “but on behalf of my fellow women, I’d like to decline Biden’s time-traveling offer to prove his masculinity in our defense.” As Stormy Daniels and the women who accused Trump of sexual abuse have demonstrated, we don’t need to stand helplessly on the sidelines while men fight for our honor. We can take on sexist bullies on our own. If Biden and other men want to help, they should “get behind the women who are standing up to Trump.” ■