Monday, September 28, 2020

Biden isn’t Bernie, but he’s good enough


     Friday I worked downtown, and ate lunch in Washington Square Park. It was a lovely day, and I lingered, just watching people walk by, glad to be in the city. Eventually I got up, and crossed Walton to spend the afternoon at the Newberry Library. Just as I crossed the street, this van drove up and parked, directly in front of the library.
     As I often say, it's better to be lucky than good.
     I snapped a photo, and almost turned to go. But I had to know: GOP stealth mockery based on ambivalence about Biden? Or sincere Democratic effort? I'd have bet on the former. The graphics were too slick for Democrats.
     "Sort of a Jews for Jesus thing?" I asked the driver, meaning, a wolf in sheep's clothing, trying to disguise itself as its prey. We talked at length. But even after I interviewed him, and then Sam Weinberg, the founder of "Settle for Biden," that qualm still lingered—this might be some elaborate scam, and I was falling for it. But I decided nobody is that good an actor, and you have to go with your gut.

     Sam Weinberg had to do something.
     He had returned last spring after 18 months abroad and found himself in the teeth of a pandemic. Instead of getting ready for his freshman year at college, the Chicago teen was watching disaster tighten its grip on our nation.
     Meanwhile, his friends looked at the upcoming presidential election and shrugged. What does it matter who wins?
     “I was seeing lots of people in my personal social circles and online saying things like, ‘Joe Biden and Donald Trump are two sides of the same coin,’” said Weinberg, 19. “That really incensed me on a personal level and on a policy level.”
     Rather than despair, Weinberg acted, using his generation’s irreverent view as a starting point, calling the group he started “Settle for Biden.
     “The name is reflective about begrudging support,” Weinberg said. “Yeah, he’s not our first choice. But he’s our only choice, and we have to live with him. Joe Biden is not the progressive ideal. But he’s a step in the right direction.”
     Chris Madden also had to do something.
     The Minnesota teacher heard about Settle for Biden and took a dramatic step. He bought a 2020 Ford van and spent $5,000 to wrap it in a mural touting the organization. Then he began to drive across the country.
     He arrived in Chicago Friday.

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  1. I love the van, and the idea. The slogan, not so much. “Settle for (whatever)” almost comes across as a negative. I understand many folks aren’t jumping for joy with Biden as our candidate, but still. A simple “Choose Biden” leaves a much more positive feeling going forward IMHO.

    1. I appreciate the forthright wording of the message. Though not inspiring it's reality. And I'm dizzy from all the spin you get everywhere. I didn't choose biden in the primary and if there was a better choice I wouldn't choose him in the general. Definitely feels like settling. I'll settle for biden

    2. FME — I see your point. it’s just that I feel Democrats can often be their own worst enemy in how they frame their agenda. I sure wouldn’t be jumping through hoops to sign up for anyone shouting “Settle for Me”.

  2. There seems to be a desire on the part of some Democrats that Biden more explicitly define his vision of a Biden Administration. However, "Anybody but Trump" does it for me.


  3. I really don't think these people are helping at all. As far as I'm concerned, they should find a nice, private garage, park that thing in there, and keep it there until after the election.

    1. Hey, Chris, if you're starting to "like Biden"...then repaint your van, and ditch the negativity. Let those "progressive" clowns do their "settling" electronically, and talk among themselves. Start ridin' with Biden. He's our only hope.

      Sam Weinberg claims there are, supposedly, "hundreds of thousands of college students" who are saying "Oh, well, what the hell, if we can't have a radical far-left socialist Brooklyn Jew who's pushing eighty, we'll vote for Joe, but we sure don't have to say we like it...or him". Jeeze, how magnanimous of them. You gotta learn that you can't always get what you want, and sometimes, you get what you need. Suck it up, kids. Then zip it up, and vote blue.

      Newsflash, kids...the rest of America didn't want Bernie, either. He'd have had his wrinkled ass handed to him in November. On a plate. Not a good outcome.

      It was primarily that same age cohort that voted for all the hopeless unknown nobodies in 2016, thereby throwing their votes away. Or even worse, they sat out the big dance entirely. Either way, they helped to hand the election to Orangy the Clown. And too many of them want to do it again. So if Biden loses, I get to once again blame the Bernie Bros for prolonging this nightmare? Thanks, kids, thanks a lot...for the buggy rides to hell. Both of them.

      I'm with Scribe...knock it off, Chris. Either repaint the van...or park it.

  4. "Better to be lucky than good" on both counts. He's driving across the country and you happen to be making a relatively rare visit to the Newberry Library as he pulls up to Washington Square Park. Lucky for you. From his perspective, he picks a few spots in Chicago and the city's best columnist walks right up to him the day he gets here.

    The idea that this might have been "stealth mockery based on ambivalence about Biden" wouldn't even have occurred to me had you not mentioned it. Rumpelthinskin is the leader of a cult, at this point. Nuance and "stealth mockery" are not their strong suits.

    Seems to me that the key votes in this election won't be those of whatever dwindling, clueless segment of the population is freaking "undecided" at this late date. It'll be those of lefties who either voted for Jill Stein last time, or stayed home. I think this is precisely the right message for them.

    Sandy, *Biden* is not the one shouting "Settle for Me." This is directed at a specific segment among the left, by folks who are evidently part of that segment. I like the striking paint job, though $5,000 seems like a lot. My primary concern about it is that it will be vandalized.

    1. Jak — I realize it wasn’t Biden’s idea; that was kind of my point. They aren’t doing him any favors with the “settle” bit.

    2. Well, I guess we'll agree to disagree about it, Sandy. I hope they *are* doing him a favor with the specific set of voters they're going for. "using (their) generation’s irreverent view as a starting point" ... "reflective about begrudging support." I don't imagine they're even hoping for people to be jumping through hoops with excitement, they just want to get across the fact that Biden and Trump are definitely not "2 sides of the same coin." The choices of Justice Kavanaugh and Judge Barrett demonstrate that point about as clearly as possible, if those voters are willing to think about "settling" for a candidate who is not the one they really wanted.

    3. Ok, ok, I give up!
      Seriously, Jakash, I sometimes just shoot from the hip on this board instead of putting a lot of thought into my exact wording. If you re-read my comments perhaps you'll see the simple point I was trying to make, i.e. I didn't like the goddamn "Settle for Biden" bit.
      I agree, however, that it really is a cool-looking van :)

    4. Sorry for badgering you, Sandy. I suppose it's possible that you're entitled to your own opinion. ; ) And shooting from the hip is what the internet is for!


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