During an interview with reporters on his “No Malarkey” campaign bus in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden expressed concerns about Republicans possibly getting “clobbered” in the upcoming election mainly because of President Donald Trump.
The candidate said he’s held back on his “ass-kicker” side because he knows the American people want someone who can get things done and work with the other side.
“I mean look, everybody, anybody who knows me in politics including Trump knows they’re not going to be able to screw around with me. Not a joke,” Biden continued. “But that’s not what this is about. I think what the American people want to know is how am I going to make their life better.”
Biden went on to say that he thinks it’s important to have a political balance and the possible lack thereof concerns him. “I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” Biden said. “You need a countervailing force. You can’t have such a dominant influence that then you start to abuse power. Every party abuses power if they have too much power.”
This warm-and-fuzzy attitude toward divided government is surprising coming from the former President Barack Obama’s VP. During Obama’s first two years, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and, briefly, had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Despite that, they relentlessly chased Republican moderates, begging to get just one to sign onto a health care plan that included no public option and was modeled after a system implemented by [checks notes] Mitt Romney. All those concessions to the middle gave them exactly zero GOP support.
Instead, they got Republican GOP leadership that decided on Day 1 to block everything Obama did and a tea party movement that claimed Obama was born in Kenya. Democrats lost the House in 2010, and for the final three-quarters of Obama’s presidency, he got damn near nothing of any importance through Congress. And when it was Obama’s turn to pick a Supreme Court justice, Mitch McConnell stole it because he could.
Republicans, meanwhile, used Trump’s first two years in office to ram through absolutely everything they could, including trillions in tax giveaways to corporations and the rich, despite having only the slimmest of Senate majorities.
For Republicans, “sharing power” is only important when Democrats have control — and Biden should know that better than anyone.