Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Real Problem With Joe Biden

One almost has to feel sorry for Joe Biden. Almost.

The former Delaware senator (sorry, Joe, you're not in any meaningful way from Pennsylvania) recently reminisced about the cordial working relationship he had as legislator with two segregationist colleagues when

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Biden, reportedly imitating Eastland's southern drawl. “He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.'” Talmadge, he said, was "one of the meanest guys I ever knew."

But according to Biden, despite these differences, "At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore.”

Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist Connie Schultz, wife of Democratic senator Sherrod Brown, denounced Biden's remark, commenting in part "That segregationist never called you “boy” because you are white."  "Joe Biden speaking nostalgically about working with segregationists is halfway to Trent Lott behavior," maintained the New York Times' Jamelle Bouie.

New Jersey senator Cory Booker, like his target a candidate for President, commented "You don't joke about calling black men 'boys.'"  Candidate Bill de Blasio charged "Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal &  that whites were entitled to 'the pursuit of dead n*ggers.'"  

Yet another presidential hopeful, Kamala Harris, charged "to coddle the reputations of segregationists, of people who if they had their way I would literally not be standing here as a member of the United States Senate, is, I think, it's just misinformed and it's wrong." (He did coddle their reputation and Harris is a member of the US Senate, but never mind.)

Defiantly, Biden responded "I don't have a racist bone in my body," which probably is true but- notwithstanding what he, Schultz, Booker, de Blasio, and Harris seem to believe- is not the problem with the initial statement, anyway.

Consider Booker's criticism, aside from that of Biden's comedic stylings, that "I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together."

The campaign slogan of Richard Nixon, master of the Southern Strategy, was "bring us together."  Another President promised the night before his inauguration "we're going to unify our country" and in his inauguration speech declared

The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly , but always pursue solidarity.When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

That man was (and is) Donald J. Trump.

When a politician promises to unify people or the country, hold on to your wallet. He (or she) is coming to fleece you.  The danger posed by the election of Joseph R. Biden is not that he does not want to unify the nation, nor that he doesn't want to do so. It is that it his primary goal.

In early June, the ex-vice president argued "With Trump gone, you're going to begin to see things change. Because these folks know better. They know this isn't what they're supposed to be doing."  This was no slip of the tongue, for a month earlier he had boasted  "I just think there is a way, and the thing that will fundamentally change things is with Donald Trump out of the White House — not a joke — you will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends."

Now this week, evidently (to some; see above) hidden in the midst of an arguably insensitive racial remark, the candidate suggests that not only was Senator Biden able to work cordially with political opponents but that President Biden would, also.

Bipartisanship is such a charming concept, one beckoned by the allure of "shame."  Segregationist senators and Senator Biden may have enjoyed, even prospered in, the collegiality of a bygone era. However, it is decades later, and Charlie Pierce recognizes

Here with a rebuttal is an actual concept: President Donald J. Trump. Here with another rebuttal is a sadly imaginary concept: Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland. Damn, Joe. You were there, my dude. You were doing more than just putting on the Ray-Bans in viral videos.

He is not a racist, but those Ray-Bans appear to have transformed into rose-colored glasses.

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