Talk about chutzpah. The vote to empower Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get Brexit done is being seized upon by Vice President Biden as a sign that the ex-veep should be the Democratic nominee for president. That’s because, Business Insider reports, Mr. Biden figures Britain’s election shows that only a centrist can beat President Trump.
“Boris Johnson is winning in a walk,” Business Insider quotes Mr. Biden as telling newsmen at a Coast fundraiser as results started coming in from yesterday’s vote. Mr. Biden predicted that pundits would say: “Look what happens when the Labor Party moves so, so far to the left. It comes up with ideas that are not able to be contained in a rational basis quickly.”
Forgive us, but the ex-veep seems to be missing a key point. Boris Johnson won the election because he demonstrated that he is — heart and soul — for Britain leaving the European Union. He was the only candidate of whom that could be said. That is why Mr. Johnson won so soundly; that is why the election was called in the first place.
Where in the name of Karl Marx was Mr. Biden during the long political battle in which the independence of Britain was threatened? He ran from the breach, like every other Democrat. Mr. Biden was hiding behind the skirts of President Obama, who actually took the position that it would be better for America were Britain to remain in the European Union.
Mr. Obama went so far as to voice his opposition to Brexit when he was on a visit to Britain. Our own theory is that Mr. Obama’s decision to back the Remainer camp, meaning those who wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, is one, if only one, of the reasons that Britons backed Brexit in the first place. They’re no dummies.
By our lights, Brexit is about fidelity to the ideas of classical liberalism of the kind that were articulated in Britain and Scotland before the rise of socialism. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the Democratic Party in which Mr. Biden has been hoeing the vines of resentment. Mr. Biden, in a speech in Dublin right after the Brexit vote, rued the decision of the British people.
What a difference between the way the Democrats approached Brexit and the way President Trump did. He took a relaxed position on Brexit before the vote. He landed in Scotland the day after to give an upbeat reaction to the decision that Britain should leave the EU. He was not rattled by the volatility of sterling and suggested it might even help his golf resort.
Mr. Trump’s reaction was all the more credible because he owned a business at Scotland. Once he became president he lost no time in signaling that his administration was prepared and eager to negotiate a trade agreement with an independent Britain. That work will now become an urgent matter, and we will see if the Democrats pitch in.
We’re not against the centrist Democrats. The past two decades, though, have not been their finest hour. The party has tumbled leftward partly because of the insipidity of those like Mr. Biden who might have been expected to pick up the cause. We’ll see if Britain’s Labor Party can set a new example in the wilderness into which Labor has just been precipitated.