The “anybody but Bernie” movement shifted into high gear Monday when two underperforming presidential hopefuls, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, quit the race and endorsed good soldier Joe Biden, the ultimate establishment Democrat.
The announcements moved Swamp Rabbit to get out his guitar and write a song about the smarter of the two dropouts. After a few whiskies, he started singing:
O Booty, we hardly knew ye!
You’re a nerdy guy
But you done well for a newbie
I shut him up after the first verse and read him a news update. A former Democratic candidate with the unlikely name of Beto O’Rourke (remember him?) had also endorsed Biden, disappointing fans who had assumed he would back Bernie or Elizabeth Warren, the other progressive candidate.
“Damn,” Swamp Rabbit said. “How come all them Dems who said they were running to change the system ended up backing the guy who might not change anything?”
The three of them aren’t exactly bomb-throwing leftists, I told him. Plus, Biden’s victory last Saturday in the South Carolina primary woke them to the possibility that he could still get nominated. If they backed Bernie and Biden won, they’d be on the outs with the good-old-boys network overseen by the Democratic National Committee.
“They’re hoping for a reward from Biden,” I said. “The VP spot on the ticket, or a Cabinet post.”
Biden’s South Carolina win was a shot in the arm not only for establishment Dems but also for the mainstream news media, which cranked out a lot of ominous-sounding anti-Bernie propaganda after the Democratic socialist’s early successes. Most memorably, a squeaky-voiced talking head on CNN ranted above a banner on the TV screen that read CAN EITHER CORONAVIRUS OR BERNIE SANDERS BE STOPPED?
“That reminds me,” Swamp Rabbit said. “I got another new song.” He got into a bossa nova groove as he picked the guitar strings and crooned:
Corona… She will not forget you
Corona… She’s coming to get you
“Cut it out, rabbit, that’s sick,” I said, placing my hand on the fretboard.
At this point the returns were coming in from the Super Tuesday primaries. Biden was doing much better than some people had thought he would. Most young people rejected him, but he got the black vote plus most old and middle-aged “moderates.”
“I’ll tell you what’s sick,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Biden will probably win the nomination, even though there ain’t a damn bit of difference between his politics and Hillary’s. The Dems are moving backwards again.”
“At least Biden isn’t Trump,” I replied. Not much of a comfort, but better than nothing.