We all know that Donald Trump is the braggart in chief. But a close second may be Joe Biden, whose humble brags often know little humility.
Just last year after a slew of Democratic victories in special elections, he bragged in an email that “nearly every candidate I endorsed won.”
After Trump’s admission that he grabbed women by their genitals and got away with it because he was a celebrity, Biden puffed out his chest and boasted: “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”
In trying to relate to an audience of activists for working families, he once bragged he was the “poorest man in Congress.” (He had a net worth of $800,000 at the time.)
He even, oddly, bragged once about his relationship with Somali cab drivers: “If you ever come to the train station with me, you’ll notice that I have great relationships with them because there’s an awful lot of them driving cabs and are friends of mine, for real.”
None compare to his latest, however: that he is the most qualified person to be president.
“I’ll be as straight with you as I can. I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.”
He went on, during a stop for his book tour in Montana, saying “Even my critics would acknowledge, I may not be right but I know a great deal about (the issues).”
To be fair, most people who have the guts to run for president — Biden lost twice, 20 years apart — believe they should also be president. But in Biden’s case, he’s also right.
Without a doubt, Biden would be the most qualified candidate in a crowded sea of Democratic hopefuls running in 2020. From his foreign policy experience, to his 30-plus years in the Senate, chairing the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees, to his eight years as vice president, few could (accurately) boast of more experience in government.
The question is, who cares?
Of course, qualifications probably should be a major metric by which we elect our leaders, but leave it to the American people to decide in recent years that experience can be disqualifying. From a slew of inexperienced Tea Party candidates in 2010 to Donald Trump to another round of newcomers in 2018, we just aren’t into long records of accomplishment these days.
While I admire Biden’s earnest boasts about his resume, he and any other candidate running against Trump in 2020 should care only about one thing: Can they beat him?
Of the many conversations about who can take on Trump, ones about identity politics — whether it should be a woman, a minority, young or old, for example — are misguided and irrelevant.
The most important questions by far are these: Who can withstand Trump’s withering punches? Who can survive a Democratic primary that will pull candidates to the far left, and then pivot back toward the center during a general? Who can speak to the middle of the country? And who has the most money?
Qualifications, unfortunately, do not factor into this brutal calculus.
As I’ve said for more than a year, the only person who scores an A-plus on these is Oprah Winfrey. Lucky for him, Biden fares well enough. In fact, he leads most polls of Democrats voters most preferred.
But wasting his breath on his many accomplishments is, sadly, for a bygone generation that preferred their presidents to have been great war heroes, cabinet secretaries or, at the very least, governors.
Biden’s big on boasting. But for now, the only one that matters when it comes to Trump: “I can beat him.”