Election 2020

Note to Jeff Flake: Joe Biden Is Not the 'Decency and Civility' Candidate

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday, former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) released an ad for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, arguing that the Democrat “will best restore decency and civility in the White House.” He lists “character, moral leadership, and integrity” as reasons to vote for Biden. Yet Biden is not some shining example of moral integrity. If Flake wants to make the integrity argument and he cannot stomach President Donald Trump, he should abstain from voting for president as he did in 2016.

“I’ve been a conservative Republican my entire life. I’ve never before voted for a Democrat,” Flake says in the video. “But, this year, principle and conscience require me to do just that.”

“When you fill out your own ballot, ask yourself, who will best restore decency and civility in the White House? Who can I be proud to tell my children and grandchildren I voted for?” the former senator asks.

Flake admits that it is difficult to go against a president of his own party, but “I also know that character, moral leadership, and integrity are values that we cannot put aside when we cast our vote for president.”

“And please, don’t let anyone tell you that by casting your vote for Joe Biden,
You are somehow not being conservative. This year, the most conservative thing you can do is to put country over party,” the former senator concludes.

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Trump’s character

Flake’s argument appears compelling at first. After all, Donald Trump has bragged about sleeping with other men’s wives and he has cheated on at least one of his three wives. Trump notoriously condemns his opponents in hyperbolic terms, sometimes crossing the line of decency. I condemned him for these character flaws in 2016 and I could not bring myself to vote for him, despite my opposition to Hillary Clinton.

Yet it seems the president has not brought his philandering into the White House like Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy did. While his rhetoric has not softened and he has nursed petty grudges that aggravate me, the president has also kept a great many of his 2016 election promises. Trump’s originalist judges and justices, his defense of the unborn, his protection of religious liberty, and more have quite frankly astounded me. He has proven rather trustworthy on such things.

Joe Biden does not have the mean tweets or the history of marital infidelity, but he has character flaws of his own.

Biden’s character

Biden launched his campaign by falsely accusing Trump of having praised the white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., as “very fine people.”  He has compared Trump to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Biden has repeatedly lied about the man who got into the tragic accident that killed his late wife — falsely claiming that the driver “drank his lunch” when he was not drunk during the accident.

Biden has bragged about the historic smear campaign against Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. The attacks Biden helped lead turned the word “Bork” into a verb meaning to publicly vilify someone to destroy his or her reputation utterly. Biden bragged about defaming Bork, claiming that this act defended Roe v. Wade (1973). It also poisoned America’s public discourse for a generation.

The Democrat has also grown increasingly radical on the issue of abortion. While he long supported the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life Americans from having their tax dollars directly support abortion, he now supports taxpayer funding for abortion. Not only does this ostensible Roman Catholic support legal abortion — apparently with few restrictions — but he also wants taxpayers to foot the bill, and he would force the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for abortifacient contraceptives. This kind of egregious support for the killing of unborn babies is arguably also a character issue.

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Two developing stories also undercut Biden’s character claims.

New revelations from a laptop that apparently belonged to Biden’s son Hunter implicated Joe Biden in Hunter Biden’s notorious foreign deals. Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner of the Bidens, backed up the story, insisting that Joe Biden was involved and was slated to get a cut from Hunter Biden’s many lucrative deals with China — deals that arguably endangered American military and nuclear secrets.

While Hunter Biden raked in cash in China and Ukraine, his father served as Obama’s point man on both countries. Hunter got high-paying jobs on corporate boards in industries where he had no previous experience. In the case of the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine’s president to fire a prosecutor who claims he was beginning an investigation into Burisma.

The Biden family traded on their influential last name before Joe Biden became Obama’s vice president. The FBI investigated Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign. Only Christopher Tigani, a wealthy beer distributor who bundled cash for the campaign, faced charges, but he exposed Joe Biden’s “Delaware Way” soft corruption.

The fact that Hunter Biden made Chinese deals that undermined America’s interests while his father went soft on China is bad enough, but Hunter Biden’s emails and Bobulinski have testified that Joe Biden was personally involved in the deals and made money himself. If Joe Biden abused his position as vice president to enrich himself and his family at the expense of America’s interests with regard to a major rival such as China, that severely undercuts any character argument for his candidacy.

Finally, Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, accused the Democrat of having sexually assaulted her. Biden and some other former staffers have disputed her claims, but some evidence supports Reade’s story. It appears her mother called in to Larry King Live in 1993 to ask for advice about how to deal with a sexual assault her daughter allegedly suffered at the hands of a senator. Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s neighbor, said Reade told her about the sexual assault in 1995, two years after it happened.

The woman castigated Biden’s character.

Reade described Biden as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She said she came forward with her allegations last year because people “needed to know. He’s going to the highest office in the land. He’s running on a platform of character. Well, I know what he’s like. I know what his character’s like, and he doesn’t deserve the presidency based on what happened to me.”

When Reade went public with her claims, Trump responded brilliantly.

“And all of a sudden you become a wealthy guy, you’re a famous guy, then you become president, and people just – people that you’ve never seen, that you’ve never heard of make charges. So I guess in a way you could say I’m, I’m sticking up for him,” Trump said of Biden.

“The president is using as a kill-shot that his opponent is just like him. Do you understand how sublime that is?” Dilbert creator Scott Adams explained. “Because there’s only one person in the race who can survive being just like Trump, and it’s not Joe Biden.”

“The more Trump says, ‘Yeah, we’re like brothers. We’re practically the same guy. I lie, he lies, I’ve got some allegations, he’s got some allegations. You know, … we’re practically bros,'” the better it is for the president’s campaign.

Trump has his character failings, but Biden is no shining example of moral character. Jeff Flake should not be proud to tell his children and grandchildren he voted for the Democrat whose family sold out America.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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