The New York Times detailed the “disastrous campaign” for president that Joe Biden ran in 1988 and raises questions about whether this time around the mainstream media will ask similar questions about Biden’s temperament and judgment during his 2020 run.
“Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate,” stated the headline by reporter Matt Flegenheimer. “In 1988, Joe Biden was prone to embellishment. Hints of that linger today.”
Flegenheimer outlines Biden’s carelessness during his first presidential campaign: “By that September, his recklessness as a candidate had caught up with him. He was accused of plagiarizing in campaign speeches. He had inflated his academic record. Reporters began calling out his exaggerated youth activism.”
Flegenheimer also noted the accusations of plagiarism: “the criticism ran deeper than finger-wagging about proper citation. The burgeoning scandal seemed to confirm a persistent critique of Mr. Biden: that he lacked his own vision, his own story to tell.
‘I’ve done some dumb things,’ Mr. Biden conceded at a stop-the-bleeding news conference at the Capitol. ‘And I’ll do dumb things again.’
He vowed that day to fight on. He quit the race within a week.
Thirty-two years later, as Mr. Biden seeks the presidency for a third time, his disastrous campaign for the 1988 Democratic nomination offers a revealing look at the personal tics and political flaws of the front-runner in the 2020 race — traits that, in many ways, continue to color Mr. Biden’s public life.”
Flegenheimer traced Biden’s behavior to this 2020 campaign cycle, which echoes of Biden’s first campaign: “Mr. Biden was, and remains, a ‘gut politician,’ as he has long told associates — swaggering, ad-libbing, liable to get carried away in front of a crowd.
Already this year, he has boasted of his purportedly peerless foreign policy knowledge, comparing himself favorably to Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state. He has suggested, implausibly, that he has the most progressive record in the 2020 field. He has muddled through explanations of his treatment of Anita Hill when she accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, at times stopping himself midsentence to abandon a line of defense.”