Watching the 2020 presidential field take shape, there’s a flashback here to that classic Ringling Brothers circus routine in which a seemingly endless stream of clowns keeps pouring out of a small car in the center ring.
Look, there’s Kamala Harris. And Cory Booker. And there’s Liz Warren, alongside Amy Klobuchar, who’s squeezing over to make room for Bernie Sanders.
Who’s left? Michael Bloomberg? Bill Weld? Howard Schultz?
And then there’s Joe Biden, whose only surefire protection from saying something dumb is to keep his mouth shut.
There was the St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the White House where he mawkishly grieved the passing of the Irish prime minister’s mother as frantic aides tried to let Joe know Mum was still happy as a clam on this side of the grass.
This was after he praised Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Nothing’s changed. Joe’s still a good-natured dope.
So there he was in Munich last week, calling America “an embarrassment” because of Donald Trump’s refusal to extend a warm welcome to illegal immigrants lurking along our border with Mexico.
If these presidential pretenders agree on nothing else, they’re all in accord when it comes to denouncing Trump as hostile, unfeeling and, as Sanders said on CBS yesterday, “someone who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities.”
They’re running out of ways to disparage this president.
Last week Weld called him “unstable.”
Here’s a suggestion. Instead of reaching for a thesaurus to beef up their ad hominem attacks on Trump, they’d do well to reacquaint themselves with an American history book.
This country has never borne witness to a more painful example of profiling than it did during World War II when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his consent to Proclamation 2537, ordering the “relocation” and internment of almost 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent.
These weren’t lawbreakers. They’d killed no one. They’d raped no one. And they certainly weren’t freeloaders. But in the context of those stressful times they raised unfounded fears, so FDR, forever revered as the granddaddy of all liberals, summarily had them quarantined.
And guess what? He remains esteemed today.
Trump isn’t saying the border crowd’s not welcome.
He’s just saying there’s a right way to come, and this isn’t it.
Truth be told, if he gave them all hugs and goody bags his would-be successors would simply find another reason to demonize him.
As candidates, they’re obnoxious enough.
As president? Please. We can do better.
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