Sunday, November 1, 2020


The contrast in the competing presidential campaigns could hardly be more stark: One candidate colors with care inside the lines while the other draws a scene to his own liking. When it comes to busting boundaries of ethical behavior, though, evidence mounts that the cautious contender is no average Joe. Character is on the Election Day ballot, Joseph R. Biden likes to say, but voters might not find it next to his name.

For much of the year, coronavirus-cautious Joe Biden has made infrequent campaign forays only near his Delaware home. Masked audiences perch quietly on chairs placed inside white circles spaced widely apart. If it looks weird, it is meant to. The Democratic champion is playing to a TV audience of Democrats who rationalize their political preference with the notion that it is Republican Donald Trump’s foolish embrace of limited government that has given the virus unlimited freedom to ravage the nation.

Mr. Biden hasn’t always been so keen on staying within proper ethical circles. A former Biden family business partner has told an explosive story in recent days about international financial dealings that sought to capitalize on Mr. Biden’s considerable political influence. One Tony Bobulinski says he was recruited to serve as CEO for a firm newly created to do enjoin the Bidens in business ventures with U.S. adversaries in China.

Jarred by the candidate’s incessant claims that he always steered clear of family business, Mr. Bobulinski has gone public with first-person accounts of Mr. Biden’s role in the incipient start-up and documents to support his narrative. A Navy veteran, his whistle-blowing only became shriller when Biden backers brushed him off as a tool of Russian disinformation.

The Biden response to the 11th hour bombshell: dismissal without rebuttal, made possible by a media coverage blackout.

Conversely, President Trump has jetted from one outdoor campaign rally to another to another, chatting up thousands of raucous supporters, vowing to eradicate the deadly coronavirus and “make America great again, again.” Attendees enjoy the spectacle, but he suffers endless criticism from hostile media that claim cavalier mask usage and social-distance indifference at his events encourage reckless behavior that feeds the virus.

It’s the same never-Trumpism that infected the political establishment after the president’s unlikely win four years ago. Enemies besmirched him with charges of traitorous schemes, including collusion with foreign powers for domestic political favors.

The results: a lengthy special counsel inquisition that found the president blameless and a Senate impeachment effort that went down in flames.

As the 2020 presidential election concludes, Mr. Trump stands tested and vindicated of ethical misdeeds. It is Mr. Biden who is the subject of calls for a special counsel to probe his family’s financial dealings with foreign entities. If “C” stands for character, Americans are only finding on their ballot a “D” for Democrat next to Joe Biden’s name.

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