Joe Biden, What Are You Even Doing?

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Dan Merica at CNN: Joe Biden Indirectly Knocks Clinton's Failed Campaign.
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday indirectly knocked Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 campaign at a Thursday event, suggesting that the former secretary of state failed to talk to middle-class voters.

"What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for—and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," Biden said during an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. "You didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 bucks a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in restaurant."

He added: "And they are making $90,000 and they have two kids and they can't make it and they are scared, they are frightened."
A couple of items:

1. Biden only "indirectly" criticized Clinton so much as he didn't have the integrity to actually say her name while trashing her.

2. Perhaps part of the reason we "didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign" about the assembly line worker and his hostess wife is that the Democratic nominee would never have used such a gross gendered example.

"That guy." "A wife." I can't.

Hillary Clinton spoke a lot—a lot—about middle-class families. She usually did so using the words "middle-class families," quite possibly because conjuring the image of a guy and "a wife" working in specific jobs participates in the endemic political erasure of families who don't fit that mold: Single-parent families, multi-generational families, unmarried partners, same-sex couples, et. al.

Instead, Clinton used inclusive language, into which every middle-class family could read themselves. If "that guy" and "a wife" couldn't see themselves in "middle-class families," that was not Clinton's fault. If Joe Biden couldn't see "that guy" and "a wife" in "middle-class families," that isn't Clinton's fault, either.

3. As for the family who is making $92,000 annually but can't make it, a friend of mine noted in a private message (which I am sharing with his permission): "I make that combined income, and my partner isn't working, so our household income is that same 92k. I have a good home, a manageable mortgage payment, a comfortable lifestyle, and zero difficulty making ends meet. And I live in one of the most expensive metro areas in the country. So yeah, I don't actually feel particularly concerned that the Clinton campaign didn't fall all over itself to address my virtually nonexistent hardships."

That, of course, is not to suggest that every household making $92,000 annually is doing fine. One healthcare crisis, for example, and even households making significantly more can fall off a cliff.

But that's less an issue of income than it is of affordable healthcare. Which I'm pretty sure Clinton mentioned once or twice or three thousand times during the course of the campaign.

I listened to Hillary Clinton very closely for almost two years, and I heard her talk about the struggles of middle-class families and her detailed policy proposals to help them on a constant basis. I also heard her repeatedly talk about building more upwardly mobile education and employment ladders and tearing down the barriers to equal opportunities for marginalized people.

Many of whom are part of the middle-class. Though we are not white men. We might not even be their wives.

I have said it before and I'll no doubt have occasion to say it again: Virtually every time I hear someone complaining about something Hillary Clinton supposedly failed to say, it's not really a problem with her not having said it. It's a problem with their having failed to hear it.

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