Editorial: Biden ran through Pittsburgh and jokes obscured issues
When a man who has previously thrown his hat in the ring for president takes a jog, the jokes write themselves.
Looks like he’s running.
That’s what happened when former Vice President Joe Biden marched in the Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh on Monday.
It’s hilarious! Because he’s running, but is he running or just running?
Except it isn’t really that funny. Biden is a serious would-be contender in what promises to be a packed-house of Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential race. Many believe that if his son had not died in 2015, the final ticket and possibly final tally that put Donald Trump in the White House might have been different.
Biden is part elder statesman, part extra from “Cheers.” He is seen as both experienced and accessible at a time when many politicians or wannabes are one, the other or neither.
That’s what makes it sad that in cashing in on the obvious joke, some people seem to have missed the issues.
Trump won in part by swinging Pennsylvania, including speaking to the pain of long-suffering blue-collar and union workers in Allegheny and surrounding counties. Biden walked with those workers on a day that celebrates their contributions.
Tariffs imposed by the administration on foreign products including steel have led to tense trade situations.
Union issues are as Pittsburgh as it gets, and U.S. Steel and United Steelworkers are crashing toward a possible strike as the deadline has passed for a new contract. A new report from the Trump Environmental Protection Agency says plans to reel in previous pollution regulations would up deaths and illnesses in Pennsylvania and West Virginia coal country.
These are the kind of things that are a big deal to voters in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Jobs. Health. Education. Having some of what you work for left over at the end of the day. It’s hard enough to get that message through at every level of government and campaigning, especially when so much message is getting lost in the mud thrown by politicans and pundits alike. But now everyone knows Biden was “running,” and few could tell you where or why.
The things that matter to Pennsylvanians are too important to get lost in the cheap laugh of an easy pun.