Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Simple Explanation

Reactions in liberal twiterverse to campaign news earlier this week were not surprising:

Joe Biden served loyally as vice-president to a president whom many, if not most, Democrats believe walks on water. Even then, Biden declined to run for President in the 2016 election cycle (excellent timing, as it turns out).

It may not be sensible to take advice about brotherhood from a guy who believes old people are "crusty" and uses white as a pejorative. 

But my favorite is from the woman who responded merely "Because it's a black woman."

The names which are believed to comprise Biden's current short list are Harris, Tammy Duckworth, Val Demings, Susan Rice, and Karen Bass. Each of the last three is black (and unlike Harris, on both sides of the family). All are women. And none has been attacked as excessively ambitious.

The notion that only blacks, or only women, or only black women are labeled "ambitious" or "opportunistic" would surprise Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated in June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night of his victory in the California primary.  The Guardian has noted that only a month earlier, 67% of voters in a Gallup poll "saw him as an opportunist." Another word commonly applied to the white man from New York State was "ruthless."

In a famous exchange between Harris and Biden in a June, 2019 Democratic presidential debate 

There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school everyday, and that little girl was me,” she said.

Moments after the exchange, her campaign tweeted a photo of a young Harris and an accompanying caption that read: “There was a little girl in California who was bused to school. That little girl was me.” 

And the kicker was that Harris had attacked Biden for having the same position on busing that she held. In a post sometime after the debate I wrote (typed)

The former vice-president maintained

I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed. I did not oppose-

After Harris reminded him that she was bused to school in Berkeley, California, Biden responded "because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision" and Harris countered with "so that's where the federal government must step in."

To summarize: Biden said that he supported busing to achieve school integration only if ordered by the local government, whereas Harris supported it even when ordered by the federal government.  Following the Senator's spontaneous, heartfelt message, by the next morning a supporter could buy for $29.99 to $32.99 a t-shirt reading "That Little Girl Was Me," which featured "a picture of a young Harris against a black backdrop." Six days later, however

“I think of busing as being in the toolbox of what is available and what can be used for the goal of desegregating America’s schools,” Harris said. After a reporter asked Harris to clarify whether she supports federally mandated busing, she replied, “I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district.”

Busing to achieve school integration was fine by both Biden and Harris- as long as the decision was made by the school district itself.

Before flaming out, Harris raised a huge amount of money from an encounter which- on her part- was in retrospect stunningly dishonest. There is only one reason- not race or gender- that some Democratic heavyweights believe the California senator should be considered unacceptably ambitious. It's because she is.

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