Biden: Champion of Labor and Middle Class? Or a Centrist Apologist for Sexism, Racism & Greed

Plus, Retake and New Energy Economy stop collection of used goods for asylum seekers.  System in ABQ and Las Cruces overwhelmed by response and need to retool. Post includes things you CAN do now.

Asylum Seekers. After numerous conversations with staff from Catholic Charities and from the City of Santa Fe, Retake and New Energy Economy are putting collection of used goods on pause. There are some items still no needed but for the time being, no capacity to sort and distribute those goods. We were told that soon a larger dormitory facility will open at the Expo in ABQ and at that point there will be a place to deliver goods needed. But for now, the one thing all concerned agree upon is the need for donations.  No more used goods.  Click here to find out how you can volunteer and how you can donate to operations in ABQ, El Paso, and to Somos Un Pueblo Unido and Santa Fe Dreamers.  We will keep you posted.

Green New Deal Planning Meeting. Thursday, May 2, 6pm (confirmed start time) at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos.  If you attended the GND Town Hall you had to be impressed and inspired by the youth who spoke. Now they are asking you to join them in developing a local strategy to support the GND. This is NOT an informational meeting; it is a planning meeting for people who plan to work in teams to advance the GND locally and nationally. So, if you are willing to commit time to this,  I recommend your participating.

Biden:  The “Nice Guy” Centri$t Nightmare 

A mythology has emerged (or more truthfully has been manufactured) that Joe Biden is the guy for the every man, the defender of labor, the kind soul who just wants to restore America to some semblance of decency. While making America decent again may inspire some, be careful who is carrying the banner. It is easy to see how someone not digging into his history could conclude:  “Eight years as Obama’s VP, 20 years as a US Senator, and geez, he sure seems like a good Joe. We could do worse.”  And we could and we have, but maybe it is time to examine Joe Biden and consider if we couldn’t do better.

Joe Biden has never been a friend of women, of people of color, of students, of working people.  He has been a very good friend of the criminal justice system, Wall St. and big donors. In the week after he announced his run, I received about 5 articles describing his voting record, his campaign donors and his track record as a US Senator. I distill those articles here covering his ties to Wall St and fondness for dergulation; his support for the Iraq war; his advocacy for the War on Crime, his history of racist and sexist comments, and his history of alliances with the GOP at the expense of Democratic colleagues and policies.

My purpose in sharing this is that I fear that a DNC-led, Wall St. supported effort is underway to present Biden as “the candidate who can win,” in an effort to thwart challengers. Biden will initiate a big money, corporate fund raising drive and attempt to achieve unstoppable front runner status without any due diligence or any effort to really understand who he is and what he has stood for. At that point, criticism of Biden will be viewed as “divisive” and “playing into Trump’s hand.”  But concerns about Biden the candidate need to be surfaced early, as they go far beyond his lack of understanding of women not wanting to be the subject of his intimate touches or his racist, sexist abuse of Anita Hill. Biden’s votes and quotes show a guy far more comfortable with moneyed interests, too apt to make racist comments, and far too centrist in policy positions and votes. We will be told he has evolved and perhaps he has, but perhaps it is time to seek candidates who don’t need to evolve to mask over their past and instead find candidates who have held to their principles over time.

With no further adieu, Joe Biden.

Wall St. From Elizabeth Warren:  “His energetic work on behalf of the credit card companies has earned him the affection of the banking industry,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2002, “and protected him from any well-funded challengers for his Senate seat.” Truthout underscores her view with some details.

State laws have made Delaware the domicile of choice for corporations, especially banks,” writes Andrew Cockburn for Harpers, “and it competes for business with more notorious entrepôts such as the Cayman Islands. Over half of all US public companies are legally headquartered there.” Joe Biden spent 36 years as a Delaware senator until Obama raised him up in 2008, and during that time he served his core constituency with vigor. Biden voted in favor of one of the most ruthlessly anti-worker bills in modern legislative history, the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, depriving millions of the protections provided by Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For this, and for his pro-corporate labors stretching all the way back to 1978, he has earned the financial devotion of the too-big-to-fail club many times over. Biden voted for repeated rounds of deregulation in multiple areas and helped roll back anti-trust policy — often siding with Republicans in the process. He was a key architect of the infamous 2005 bankruptcy reform bill which made means tests much more strict and near-impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.”  Truthout

If the Democrats are anticipating a wave of young enthusiastic campaigners to support their candidate, they may want to rethink foisting Biden on us. his 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention bill is what has made it practically impossible to find relief in bankruptcy from student debt. While corporations having made bad business decisions, can reorganize at will and discharge their debt, reduce or eliminate pension responsibilities, or renegotiate labor agreements, students are permanently shackled with over $1.5 Trillion in student debt for making the bad decision of going to college.  Priorities.

War on Crime.  Biden didn’t just vote for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, he was a key champion of this vicious piece of legislation which ushered in an age of mass incarceration that lawmakers today are still laboring to dismantle. From Biden himself:  “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the Black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers,’” he said in 1975 regarding school desegregation. “‘In order to even the score, we must now give the Black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race.’ I don’t buy that.”  “Holding the white man back” is preying to white fears just as Trump has..

While Biden will claim to have evolved since 1975 and 1994, he was quoted in 2006 with this gem, cited by Counterpunch: “‘ ‘You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,’ he said in 2006). He’s the one who validates their [white Trump voters] racism and sexism while gently trying to assure them that they’re still welcome in the Democratic Party.”:  And from Truthout a quote from another 2006 speech before a mostly Republican crowd in South Carolina, Biden joked that Delaware only stayed in the Union during the Civil War “because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South.”

It isn’t just these offensive jokes, but Biden has had 25 years since serving as the lead advocate for the 1994 crime bill. He has never offered a single policy suggestion to address the grossly racist injustice he helped create. It is one thing to apologize, it is another to seek to undo the injustice and Biden has not done that. It should be noted that there are people still languishing in prison for “offenses” committed 20 years ago. And many, if not most of those still in prison are black of Hispanic guilty of minor drug offenses. 

Anita Hill.  “Joe Biden was the ringleader of the hostile and sexist hearing that put Anita Hill, not Clarence Thomas, on trial,” writes Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of the women’s group, UltraViolet. “In doing so, Biden caused tremendous harm to all survivors, he set back the movement, and he helped put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. This is not a subject he can sweep under the rug. This is not something he can just get out of the way before announcing his candidacy. This is not something one line in a speech or interview will fix.”

“Ms. Hill, in an interview Wednesday, said she left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied and declined to characterize his words to her as an apology,” reported the Times. “She said she is not convinced that Mr. Biden truly accepts the harm he caused her and other women who suffered sexual harassment and gender violence.”

2002 War in Iraq. Joe Biden voted in favor of George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Many others did, as well, but Biden has also strongly defended this vote. Among the 156 members of Congress who voted no, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, NM, Rep. Tom Udall, NM, Rep. Ohio Rep. Sharrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the late Senator Ted Kennedy and Rep. Bernie Sanders.

Aligns Frequently with GOP.  It isn’t just that Biden has a history of crossing the aisle on crime, finance, regulation and other bills, but he has even campaigned for GOP candidates as recently as 2018. From Counterpunch:  “One of Biden’s illuminating actions came last year in Michigan when he gave a speech — for a fee of $200,000 including “travel allowance” — that praised the local Republican congressman, Fred Upton, just three weeks before the mid-term election. From the podium, the former vice president lauded Upton as “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” For good measure, Biden refused to endorse Upton’s Democratic opponent, who went on to lose by less than 5 percent.”

Endorsements.  Joe Biden’s first three public endorsements — from conservative Democratic Senators Chris Coons (Delaware), Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) and Doug Jones (Alabama) — tell you all you need to know about who is rooting for his candidacy.

Donors.  Biden’s very first fundraiser is sponsored by Comcast, key supporter of polices like “ending net neutrality and repealing broadband privacy protections. . . . And Joe Biden is going to kick off his presidential campaign by seeking their support. Note that there is no grassroots $10/month efforts launched and for good reason.  They would inevitably be compared with those launched by Beto and Bernie and the comparison would be stark..

At a gathering in Alabama last fall, Biden said: “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are.” Later, Biden elaborated on the theme when he told an audience at the Brookings Institution, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”  Perhaps not, but policies that advance the interests of those billionaires over those of their workers certainly are the reason we are in trouble.

From the NY Times journalist Jamelle Bouiee in a NYT Op-Ed entitled “The Trouble with Biden”:  “For decades Biden gave liberal cover to white backlash. He wasn’t an incidental opponent of busing; he was a leader who helped derail integration. He didn’t just vote for punitive legislation on crime and drugs; he wrote it. His political persona is still informed by that past, even if he were to repudiate those positions now. Biden could lead Democrats to victory over Trump, but his political style might affirm the assumptions behind Trumpism. The outward signs of our political dysfunction would be gone, but the disease would still remain.”

On that note I’ll close. Biden may be a tremendous father and grandfather, but the above citations paint a very clear picture of allegiance with moneyed interests, coziness with the 1%, a history of strong allegiance with Wall St, a willingness to support GOP friends over Democratic candidates, strong support for the 1994 crime bill, and really clueless comments about women and people of color. His supporters will say he has evolved over time, but it may be time to seek leaders who can point with pride to their past history, not have to wash over it. There are over a dozen credible Democrats who are running for President, none has had to evolve much to be considered viable.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

7 thoughts on “Biden: Champion of Labor and Middle Class? Or a Centrist Apologist for Sexism, Racism & Greed

  1. >> Andrew Cockburn, Harper’s Magazine: “Joe Biden’s Disastrous Legislative Legacy”
    >> Natasha Lennard, The Intercept: “What Joe Biden’s (Non-)Apology to Anita Hill Reveals About Him”
    >> Norman Solomon, Common Dreams: “Joe Biden Reality Check: The Puffery vs. the Record”
    >> Rebecca Traister, The Cut: “Joe Biden Isn’t the Answer”
    >> Ryan Cooper, The Week: “Joe Biden Is About to Ruin His Reputation”
    >> Libby Watson, Splinter News: “Will Anyone Call Joe Biden on His Bullshit?”
    >> Jeff Zeleny, CNN: “Letters from Joe Biden Reveal How He Sought Support of Segregationists in Fight Against Busing”
    >> Branko Marcetic, In These Times: “Joe Biden Says He’s the Workers’ Candidate, But He Has Worked to Cut Medicare and Social Security”
    >> Data for Progress: “Joe Biden’s ‘Electability’”

  2. Hi Roxanne n Paul. Mr. Biden goes to DC. Jimmy Stewart on steroids. The resemblance is uncanny. Only Stewart played the role mockingly. Biden is the OH SO sweet nectar that will bring Macbeth his balm in Gilead.

    Big problem with joining a party IS the party. Homage is mandatory. Biden n his role with people of color, including unscrubbed white folk like me, makes Sanders look like MLK.

    Beware liberal wannabes. This is the national big fix recently experienced at the state level by NM. The Titanic never looked so seaworthy. Blue wave my ass.

    Mick Nickel

  3. P & R, you are way too gentle with Joe Biden. He is a POS through and through. That is unless you are a member of the 1%, in which case he’s your guy.

  4. thank you. i appreciate this realistic look at Joe Biden. good human being, but incredibly flawed as a political leader, and not my choice at all for the Dem candidate in 2020. we can do better.

  5. Pingback: A Critical Look at Last Week’s Posts and an Urgent Action Alert for Asylum Seeker Relief: Call ABQ City Council Today | Retake Our Democracy

  6. The mass media is promoting Biden, the powers that be know his track record. His lackluster corporate friendly record is a known quantity. Biden even considering running makes it clear, the democrats have still not gotten the message. Even 45 in the highest office in the land, is not a wake up call. The same hanky panky we saw in 2016, is being rebranded.

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