Saturday, March 7, 2020

IS Joe Biden John Galt?

Followup to my previous article, “Where is John Galt?” (reprinted below), post Super Tuesday.

Joe Biden had a dramatic resurgence on Super Tuesday, gaining more delegates than Bernie Sanders and surging to the delegate lead. Looking at the numbers, there could be a death match at the convention, or a triumph of the loudest:

What this speaks to is exactly what I was questioning in the below article: Are Americans looking for John Galt- the uniter, and the respected leader to lead us into the best possible situation for Americans, as well as a global future which benefits rather than disables us?

As Americans and as global participants (sorry-no choice), it seems we want a leader whom we trust to manage and advance our position as a global participant, while standing tall for our own economy and society. Not someone who has polarizing positions and promises to tear apart some of our core institutions, or someone who takes decisive action but pisses everyone off in the process?

In recent history, both JFK and Ronald Reagan bore the closest resemblance to John Galt.

So the bottom line question here is, is Joe Biden that charismatic leader who shows the style and substance to capture our imaginations and support, to be elected and actually DO SOMETHING?

What is abundantly clear from Tuesday’s result is that a majority of Americans don’t feel that our systems and our lifestyle are so broken  so as to lead us to a political system that is not us and that we have dismissed for years? No doubt, Sanders still has his followers, but who are they? The makers or the takers? Those who worked for a living for 50 years and are now enjoying Social Security as they were promised and counted on? Those who are in mid-career and still feel that our economic system offers the world’s best opportunities? OR is it those who want to take advantage of what government offers to them without their contribution and hard work, or to benefit from the toils of others?

So let’s say that Joe Biden goes on to win the nomination. And then is elected President in November 2020. What can we expect? IS he John Galt or is he just a placeholder? Is he a temporary medication for Democrats or will he actually DO something to help America grow?

Who is this guy and what do we know about him? His political record gives us some hints as to what he really thinks in his heart, and then, not necessarily the same, what he supports and votes for. Let’s take a look at some highlights per the survey on Wikipedia:

Capital Punishment- supports, Wrote the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act of 1994, which created 60 new death penalty crimes under 41 statutes, 
Crime- The same act deployed more police officers, increased prison sentences, and built more prisons.
Drugs- opposes marijuana legislation and has been active in “the war on drugs.”
Education- NEA gave him a 91% rating for support of education policies.
Environment- Given credit for introducing the first climate change bill in 1986.
Gun Rights- Supports gun control and restrictions on firearms acquisition and use
Homeland Security- Drafted a bill after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1996, which he claims later became the Patriot Act
Immigration- Voted in 2006 to build a fence on the southern border of US. Opposed Sanctuary Cities.
LGBTQ- In 1993 and 1996, opposed issues such as same sex marriage and homosexuality incompatible with military life. IN 2012, publicly reversed (?) that position.
Roe v. Wade- Against in 1993, Now supports
Abortion- Voted for the Hyde Amendment, which denies federal funding to victims of rape and incest. Now supports it.
Alliance for Retired Americans gives Biden a 96% rating (he is 77)
Yet ACLU and AFLCIO give him an 86% rating, with conservative organizations scoring 12-13% approval.

(For more specifics on Biden’s positions and changes of position, see the article on Wikipedia)

What jumps out, to me, is I am not sure who Joe Biden REALLY is. It seems back in the 1990’s he was on the very conservative side, especially for a Democrat. He has since reversed many of those positions toward the liberal side. When serving as Obama’s VP, he took positions which were clearly meant to fall in line with Obama’s program.

Take a look at his mapped ideology score compared to other Democrats and Republicans:

MId- Left, which matches who he wants us to think he is now- an Obama disciple.

So, back to the original question whether Joe Biden is John Galt, it is clear that:
  1. Due to the polarization of the other candidates (and the weakness of some), Biden looks like the middle of the road alternative; as such, most Americans would choose him if they don’t like President Trump’s attitude and think Bernie Sanders is a far left quack who would happily take away their security, their earnings/savings and their institutions in favor of those who maybe did not earn it.
  2. Based on his legislative track record before he was VP,  he was one Joe Biden; now we see the kinder and gentler Joe. Because it is PC? Will get him elected?

If that is the case, Joe Biden is NOT John Galt. In fact, it would be very important for Americans to find out WHO he is before he gets elected. Who is the REAL Joe Biden?

The radical split in the Democratic party will not allow Biden to come out as who he really is (whoever that is), but will force him to take positions of defense against Bernie Sanders- even if that means saying something he doesn’t really mean.

Sanders, political predator that he is, already is airing Joe Biden’s political history and his earlier positions. At the same time, he admits that Biden has the best chance of beating President Trump in November.

But that doesn’t matter to a voter with conscience (as opposed to a voter who votes what he or she is told to, or who votes without logic for a political party or named group that excites- eg., Liberals, Socialists.

What DOES matter is that, in these volatile yet opportune times, we need to have someone who is a REAL leader.

What we conscientious voters want to know before we go to the polls is, who are we really voting for? If we vote on consistency, Sanders has been the most consistent (albeit wrong). IF we vote on policy positions and the likelihood of a disaster (remember policy affects finance and markets), Sanders looks like a very scary proposition. IF we want someone who will do no harm, Biden seems the best option.

Bottom line: We don’t need Animal Farm OR a Placeholder.

IF we want John Galt, the uniter, we still have no candidate to vote for. As Americans, we should be discarding politics and bullshit rhetoric, and look for a Leader- wherever she or he comes from, despite what he or she did before.

We should find John Galt.

Where is John Galt?

Did Ayn Rand know this was coming? Or did she just fear it was?

Following the comedy and melodrama of the run-up to the 2020 Presidential Election, one gets the definite feeling that something (or, rather, someone) is missing.

Bernie Sanders, who seems to be the front runner amongst the candidates that compose the Democratic race, Is a “democratic socialist” with little respect for the rewards of capitalism. Wealth should be spread and shared, with no mercy for “earned.”

President Trump, who seems to be the eventual winner due to a walkover, is a venerable businessman who has injected a stubbornness and pride into the office that his predecessors didn’t have the guts for, even if they believed it. But, despite his rhetoric to the contrary, lacks the compassion for those who are the collateral damage of economic growth.

So it is a race of extremes. IS that all there is? Can’t there be a President who can be tough with international affairs, supportive of business and entrepreneurialism, but considerate of the working man at home? Can anybody save the legacy of American entrepreneurialism without pissing half the people off? Can anybody achieve the balance between depriving the average person of medical care and giving away assets that other people rightfully earned, thus making welfare more profitable than workfare?

Where is that person? Where is John Galt?

For those of you who never read or even heard of the book “Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand (1957), John Galt was a mysterious (but real) character in the book who represented the best of all worlds between the rich industrialists and the working class. Described as:

“Galt is acknowledged to be a philosopher and inventor; he believes in the power and glory of the human mind, and the rights of individuals to use their minds solely for themselves. He serves as a highly individualistic counterpoint to the collectivist social and economic structure depicted in the novel, in which society is based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces mediocrity in the name of egalitarianism, which the novel posits is the end result of collectivist philosophy.” (Wikipedia)

The character of John Galt is seen as the glue between those who make and those who take. 

Take President Trump, Bernie Sanders and the balance of the Democratic candidates, and tell me the choice is what? Who is the lesser of all the evils? Who is less embarrassing when they tweet or speak? So where is John Galt?

But let’s envision two extreme scenarios: One is where a few rich industrialists build empires that builds a nation to world leadership- like JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Ford- despite deplorable conditions for the common man that helps them to build their empires; The second is that in which the government power leans toward taking away assets from those who earned them (maybe not in a nice way), and distributing it amongst the rest of the population, regardless of merit or work. Sorry to say, the last one would not have built America.

The impossibility of the second scenario is exemplified by China under Mao. He had dreams of spreading the land and wealth of the landlords to the poor, disenfranchised common man. But did that create a new incentive for people to work hard and become rich? I think not, because if they were very successful, they, too would end up like the landlords. It was not until Deng Xiao Ping released the people to work hard, fulfill their dreams AND become rich that modern-day China was born.

So where do we go in 2020 United States? Trump, who reminds everyone of the Robber Barons, and who common people appreciate but do not trust? Sanders, who will take your hard earned money. Medicare and Social Security and distribute it among people like the beggar who got on your subway car and made a pitiful speech? The rest of the gang who beg for the Democratic nomination (seriously, someone give me an impression or a meme of any of them being the representative of the most powerful country on the planet)? Who will lead us?

Who are we looking for? Kennedy, Reagan? The only certainty, in my view, is that person is not among those presented to us now.

So, back to my original question: Where is John Galt? We need to find her or him, soon.

BTW, the book is quite long, but worth reading. Timely and it will change your attitude forever.

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