Vice President Biden was in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday night and attended a fundraising event at the home of Erskine and Crandall Bowles, according to a pool report distributed by the Biden campaign.
Erskine Bowles, who did a stint as Bill Clinton's chief of staff, was co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan deficit reduction commission that in 2010 issued a report with a lot of interesting ideas, including a fundamental tax reform that would have replaced the current income tax rates with just three — at 8%, 14%, and 23%.
"Biden spoke to a poolside crowd of roughly 140 people from 8:50 p.m. to 9:17 p.m.," according to the report, which is called a pool report because one reporter represents the entire pool of press, not because the fundraiser's backyard featured a swimming pool.
Erskine Bowles is a pretty good representative of what remains of the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. How much of his ideas wind up in a Biden general election campaign or administration, if it gets that far, is an open question. But the appearance is an encouraging sign for those of us concerned that the Sanders-Warren-Ocasio-Cortez Democrats are going so far left as to be dangerous to the economy, national security, and the health of the two-party system.
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial this morning talking about a "centrist debate shutout," noting that Michael Bennet, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, and Steve Bullock all are being kept out of the next presidential debate by the Democratic National Committee. The Journal says "The centrist dearth will put more pressure on former Vice President Joe Biden to defend what is left of his moderate policy positions." If Biden is looking for centrist ideas, there aren't many better places to be looking, at least on the Democratic side, than in Erskine Bowles' backyard.