Noam Chomsky on Joe Biden

Despite being the presumptive 2020 nominee, Noam Chomsky has not had a tremendous amount to say about Joe Biden. Usually when Chomsky has little to say about someone, such as his comments about Jordan Peterson, it’s usually not a good thing. However, despite being fairly tight lipped about Joe Biden in the past, his appearance on The Intercept podcast changed that.

Interviewer and host Mehdi Hasan pressed Chomsky for his opinion on the democratic hopeful and Chomsky immediately laughed at the thought of it, then gathered himself and stated:

“You know, he’s (Joe Biden) a kind of a mild Obama. Nothing very special. I suspect in a debate with Trump, I think he’d probably be overwhelmed just by the showmanship and the deceit and the lies, but he’d certainly be a better candidate than Trump.”

(Note that this was just after Chomsky had gone on the offensive attacking Trump and calling him impeachable 100 times over.)

The comments are similar to the one’s that were made in the run up to the 2012 election when Democrats feared how an awkward Joe Biden would fare in the Vice Presidential debate against the formidable debater Paul Ryan. However when it was all said and done, the debate was nothing like the horror show democrats feared. The only errors Biden made, seemed to go mostly unnoticed by the audience and many pundits and news outlets scored the debate as a “decisive victory for Biden.”

Now to be fair, that was 2012 when Joe Biden was an enthusiastic 70 year young kid. Nothing like the 77 year old presidential nominee he is today. We jest? Perhaps not. Biden was remarkably ineffective in the primary debates but in his defense, he spent most of that time as the democratic front runner and thus the primary target of rhetorical artillery from his opponents.

When the presidential debates roll around, there will just be one Donald Trump that Joe Biden has to defeat. Furthermore, Trump has never been all that effective as a debater but nonetheless was able to run away with the nomination before ultimately winning the 2016 election. This then begs the obvious question:

Do Presidential Debates Matter At All?

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, there are good reasons to believe the debates may have no impact. A terrific round table discussion at FiveThirtyEight attempted to tackle this very question. From a statistical point of view, it can be very hard to tease out whether the debates are having an impact or not because of all the noise (such as current events happening simultaneously) in the attempted measure.

The truth is that the impact of the debates are most likely variable based on factors such as who the candidates are, how long have they been in the spotlight..etc. Older readers will almost certainly object to any notion that the debates do not matter, citing the famous Kennedy vs Nixon debate. That debate, was the first televised debate in U.S. History and Kennedy took extensive debate preparations steps to making sure that his suit would look good when factoring in the grainy reception of black and white T.V.

The preparation paid off and Kennedy came off looking sharp, well rested and confident. Nixon on the other hand, who was seen as the unquestioned favorite, came off very poorly. Nixon’s mother even famously phoned him after the debate asking “if he was sick.” Kennedy would rise to prominence, winning an extremely close election in the process.

However the truth is that this event was the first time many Americans saw either Kennedy or Nixon talk. In 2020, even the most out of touch voters have the voice, tone and even talking points of both candidates memorized before the camera’s even come on. In the end, despite making some undoubtedly weird comments, it’s unlikely that the debates will be that impactful on the election.

Who is more popular: Joe Biden vs Noam Chomsky

This one is extremely unfair given the fact that Noam Chomsky is all but retired and Joe Biden is the presumptive 2020 presidential nominee. However since this is one of the most popular aspects of this website so far, we thought we may as well include the graphs. Remember that these numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

Update: Noam Chomsky has recently (4/9/2020) opinined on Joe Biden’s campaign (and Bernie Sanders’ campaign) in the following democracy now segment. 

As always, should we become aware that Noam has changed his mind, or updated his position, we will make the necessary changes and make note of it on this page. 

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