Yep. Klein points out that the genuinely warm personal relationships Biden developed over 36 years in the Senate — many of them based on help he got from fellow senators when he dealt with personal tragedy and illness — has made it impossible for him to understand the difference between the personal and the political:
Biden complained to Mansfield, only to be cut off by his mentor. “‘Listen, Joe,’ he told me. ‘Everybody who is here has something. The people who elected them saw something good about them.’” Helms had adopted a child with cerebral palsy after seeing his plea in a local newspaper, Mansfield said. “Your job here is to find the good things in your colleagues — the things their state saw — and not focus on the bad.” It was, Biden says, “the single most important piece of advice I got in my career.”
But Jesse Helms wasn’t elected because he had adopted a child with cerebral palsy. He was elected because he ran against “Communists, minorities, homosexuals, Martin Luther King, and anybody else who was diminishing what he saw as the God-given prerogatives of white men.” Helms’s white identity politics wasn’t incidental to his appeal; it was the substance of his appeal. To their colleagues, politicians may be defined by their personal kindnesses, but to the country, they are defined and judged by their politics.
Rarely has a man been less equipped for a historical moment than Joe Biden is to become the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2020.