Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Biden: When I started in the Senate, I got along with racist White Supremacists.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 22, 2019

Vice President Joe Biden, Official Portrait 2013

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate – among the 20-plus wanna’ be’s – campaigning to be the party’s 2020 Presidential nominee, has recently taken flack for his waffling, wavering, moving-target positions on women, abortion, and civil rights.

Once, he supported the Hyde Amendment.

Now, he opposes it.

Once, he got along with racist bigots.

Now… he apparently still does.

Biden’s wishy-washy, ever-changing positions are nothing new.

In an appearance Tuesday, December 6, 2016, on “The Late Show” with host Stephen Colbert, Mr. Biden said in part, that “I’m a great respecter of fate. I don’t plan on running again. But to say you know what’s going to happen in four years, I just think is – is not rational. I can’t see the circumstance in which I’d run, but what I’ve learned a long, long, long time ago, Stephen, is to never say never. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Hell, Donald Trump is going to be 74. I’ll be 77 and in better shape. Who knows?”

Now, he’s announced his candidacy to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President.

And in 1968, then a newly-minted lawyer, having earned the Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law, for six months, Mr. Biden clerked for a Wilmington, Delaware law firm led by William Pickett, who was a prominent local Republican, and said that he “thought of myself as a Republican.”

That same year, Mr. Biden also staunchly opposed forced school busing to combat segregation, and called it “a phony issue which allows the White liberals to sit in suburbia, confident that they are not going to have to live next to Blacks.”

Most recently, Mr. Biden has come under fire for his remarks made at a fund-raising banquet for his candidacy held at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, where he was recorded saying in part that, “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”

He was referring to his time as a freshman Senator in 1973, and his interactions with notorious racist U.S. Senator James O. Eastland of Mississippi, a Democrat who was a staunch opponent of desegregation, and at the time, Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.

While at the New York City fund-raising function, Mr. Biden said that Congressional politicians need to “be able to reach consensus under our system,” and characterized his 42 years in the U.S. Senate as a time of mutual courtesy, civility, friendliness, and even socially harmonious. Having been initially elected as U.S. Senator from Delaware in 1972, and in the six additional times he was re-elected in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008, he never faced any serious competition, and typically garnered around 60% of the votes cast.

Mr. Biden also specifically noted his interactions with another notorious racist, Georgia U.S. Senator Herman Talmadge, another Democrat who was also a staunch opponent of desegregation.

Biden said that Senator Talmadge was “one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys. Well guess what? 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.”

Following Mr. Biden’s comments, his Democratic Party presidential nominee candidate rivals urged him to apologize for making positive remarks about working with bigoted racist segregationist Senators, but he refused. Speaking to the Washington Post, Mr. Biden took umbrage, if not a defensive posture, to critics, and responded in part by saying, “They know better. Apologize for what? Cory [New Jersey Senator Cory Booker] should apologize. He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period.”

Later, on Wednesday, he continued his self defense and claimed he had no reason to apologize, and said that he “detested what they stood for in terms of segregation and all the rest.”

Half-way into his first term as Delaware’s United States Senator in 1975, Joe Biden introduced and won Senate approval of two anti-busing amendments. Of the desegregation bill which he opposed, he wrote that it, “was a liberal train wreck, and it was tearing people apart.” His opposition to busing was unequivocal, and he said that, “I oppose busing. It’s an asinine concept, the utility of which has never been proven to me.”

Mr. Biden distinguished between de jure integration (which is integration required by a court order) to end segregation – to which he gave passive consent – and de facto integration, (which is motivated by a desire to change the racial composition of a school absent a court order), which the Department of Health Education, and Welfare favored, and he stridently opposed.

Politics rarely has any hard-and-fast rules, and perhaps the only consistent rule is compromise. And that often means changing one’s opinion. However, Joe Biden has changed his mind several times, as evidenced above. Following is another, more recent example.

In 2008, Mr. Biden was a widely popular choice for Secretary of State. But, when he was asked about the possibility of accepting a nomination for the office, he was emphatically unequivocal, and said, “Absolutely, positively, inequitably, Shermanesquely, no. I will not be anybody’s Secretary of State in any circumstance I can think of. And I absolutely can say with certainty I would not be anybody’s Vice President, period. End of story. I guarantee I will not do it.”

Of course, Joe Biden was the Vice President to Barack Obama’s two terms as the 44th POTUS.

While politics is the art of compromise, and is first learned in the family (insofar as in a healthy family, no one ever gets their way all the time, there is a give-and-take, and everyone gets a turn to have their way), and one’s perspectives evolve, or change, as one matures, and in response to equally-changing-events, there must always be a guiding principle which directs someone – principles which cannot be compromised. In the give-and-take of a family relationship, when each member occasionally gets their way, the nuclear family is not harmed.

Increasingly, in the past 50+/- years, the working man and woman, and families have gotten the shaft… in large part from the Republicans – but by no means exclusively.

However, Joe Biden (who turns 77 this year) is from another era which, despite the age difference he has with the majority of voters – though Bernie Sanders is only one year older (and turns 78 this year) – is rooted in the very “old school” ways inside Washington’s Beltway.

But Sanders? Because he’s never been a political establishment fixture, he seems fresh and new, even modern.

Biden, however, has been a Washington fixture since 1973, while Bernie initiated his Federal political career as a Representative in 1991 – 18 years after Biden was first elected Senator.

To many, Biden represents the past, even though he was Barack Obama’s Vice President.

As evidence of that fact, consider also his well-known, and historical “handedness” with women, which has made many feel uncomfortable, especially in this #MeToo era. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, “He has to understand in the world that we’re in now that people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it. To say, ‘I’m sorry you were offended,’ is not an apology,” Pelosi said. “It’s, ‘I’m sorry I invaded your space,’ not, ‘I’m sorry you were offended.'”

Biden’s performance on the second night of the first Democratic debates in his first public debate appearance, was by characterized by many as less than stellar, and when combined with California Senator Kamala Harris’ acknowledgement of Mr. Biden’s statement of collegiality with Southern racists in the Senate, his opposition to busing, his mishandling of Anita Hill’s testimony in Clarence Thomas’ SCOTUS nominee hearings (for which he said that he’d only recently called her to apologize)… despite the fact that Biden has had significant approval ratings among the Black community.

And the most recent announcement that he has recently backpedaled on the Hyde Amendment is in keeping with his opposition in 2012 as Vice President to gut the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate by obtaining a broad, religiously-based exemption after he met with President Obama, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, White House Director of Faith-Based Initiatives Joshua DuBois, which he did, thinking the policy would damage President Obama’s standing with Catholic voters.

To many, Joe Biden does not represent the future of the Democratic Party, and rather, represents its less-than-illustrious past.

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