Joe Biden's Strange Strategy: Praising Segregationists, Promising Rich People He Won't Hurt Em A Bit
What is going on in Joe Biden's head these days? He embarrassed not just himself but everyone who once loved him at a fancy-schmancy fundraiser in New York last night. We actually don't care if he schmoozes Wall Street tycoons. We're at war and we'll accept ammunition from anyone. But Biden could've danced on tables in nothing but a G-string and retained more of his dignity.
BIDEN: By the way, you know, remember I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, 'You know what I've found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people.'
Biden has never, at any point in recorded history, "got in trouble" with other Democrats because he suggested rich people can hump a flag with the same nationalistic zeal as broke-ass Americans. That's never happened. Just stop. It's such a weird observation anyway that a normal person would sort of shrug and say, "Sure, whatever." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is personally rich AF, would just thank Biden for the compliment and give him a couple bills to buy something pretty.
BIDEN: Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money.
Is he sure that's not a joke? Why is Biden sounding like a common Howard Schultz? No one's "demonizing" rich people. They're not a maligned "other." Americans still would rather be rich than poor. Not even an army of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes could change that. Biden went on to promise his wealthy overlords that their lifestyles won't change if he's elected president. Nothing at all, in fact, would "fundamentally change." Put that on a bumper sticker. He's gone from riding shotgun on "hope and change" to only offering hope of no change.
Jesus, why did we ever like this guy?
Oh, that's right. He was so charmingly goofy. Look at the old dude modeling sunglasses! He's hilarious. OK, we're back on board. Our dream is Kamala or Liz (OR BOTH!) but we can settle for Old Joe just like our wife settled for us.
What the hell is this?Twitter
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING US?
Biden confronted the charge that he's too "old-fashioned" for today's Democratic Party by speaking fondly of the good old days when he happily collaborated with southern segregationists. This isn't some gotcha from a million years ago when everybody was even more racist; this was literally yesterday. Joe Biden's brain is malfunctioning.
"I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland," Mr. Biden said, slipping briefly into a Southern accent, according to a pool report from the fund-raiser. "He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.'"
Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland was a white supremacist and a leading foe of integration, which he thought would lead to "mongrelization." He described black people as an "inferior race." We wager Eastland would've probably called us "boy." He didn't call Biden "boy" because Joe Biden is white. What exactly is he bragging about here?
Biden also boasted about his relationship with Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. Talmadge was so racist that as governor he ordered schools closed rather than let black people in the "good" ones.
He called Mr. Talmadge "one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys."
"Well guess what?" Mr. Biden continued. "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."
Sure, if you can talk to white supremacists, you can talk to any asshole, even Ted Cruz, who's their king. But we're staunchly on the side of not hanging with bigots. We shudder to think what these guys actually achieved in the Senate while Biden did his best Duke of Windsor impression. It certainly wasn't anything that improved the lives of minorities.
Does Biden understand that he's running for the Democratic nomination? That's the party with black people. What's next? Is Biden scheduled to give a speech to the National Organization for Women about how well he got along with Bill Cosby and O.J. Simpson despite their differences?
We can see that Biden is white and male, but we don't see how he's
"electable" with his foot constantly stuck in his mouth. We get he's better than Donald Trump -- by a lot, even! -- but Trump at least is able to stay on deranged message. He doesn't spend his hate rallies discussing how he used to get drinks at Studio 54 with drag queens and abortion doctors. He knows his audience.
Here's what Mr. Electable accomplished during his trip down segregation lane: He reminded everyone that he's old, which we already knew but we don't need rubbed in our faces. If most of the good friends you talk about are all dead, you're either a middle-aged rock star or an ancient politician. Worse, he reminded voters that straight-up white supremacists used to infect the Democratic Party. (Yeah, Eastland and Talmadge were both Democrats.) Right-wing hacks like Dinesh D'Souza and Candace Owens love to claim, without any historical context, that Democrats are more racist than Republicans and are the true "party of Jim Crow." This doesn't help. Kevin Kruse will have to devote days to cleaning up Biden's mess.
Call us crazy but what we consider a major plus of supporting a longtime Democrat is that they have a history of standing up for us. It's what we dug about Hillary Clinton. She struggled while Biden collaborated. Democrats criticize Bernie Sanders for his occasional membership in the party. They point out that Elizabeth Warren only became a Democrat when she was in her late 40s. But if a lifelong Democrat like Biden is just going to praise segregationists on either side of the aisle, then "Democrat" is just a label and an ultimately useless one. We already know that powerful white men will look out for each other. That's the history of the world. It's not a selling point in this campaign.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."