Nel's New Day

April 25, 2019

Biden: The Nation Deserves Better

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 9:30 PM
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Two more white men—one young, one old—joined the tribe of Democratic presidential candidates this week to make the total 20 for 2020. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), an anti-Nancy Pelosi candidate like his colleague Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), came into the wannabes just before former VP Joe Biden, involved in politics for almost 50 years, declared that he is the one to unify a divided nation.

Of the pack, Biden is the closest to being a Republican, not only because he “likes” them—even helping on get elected last fall—but also because of his GOP positions. Three weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, Biden got $200,000 for a speech in Michigan given in the name of GOP House candidate Fred Upton and called him “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” The vulnerable GOP candidate won. In the 115th Congress, Upton’s votes matched the positions of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) 94.7 percent of the time. This year, Upton opposed net neutrality and supported the U.S. involvement with Saudi Arabia in the Yemen War.

Biden’s first planned fundraiser is with David Cohen, executive VP and main lobbyist for Comcast, who opposes net neutrality and broadband privacy protections. According to Biden, some of his major donors are “major Republican folks.”

In his love for Republicans, Biden called VP Mike Pence a “decent guy.” Criticized about his praise for the man who wants to take rights away from LGBTQ people, Biden did agree that “there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.” Yet Biden ignored Pence’s opposition to women’s rights and work to make the United States a Christian theocracy.  Cynthia Nixon wrote:

“The fact that Pence does vile, hateful things while well-coiffed and calm doesn’t make him decent; it makes him insidious and dangerous. Respecting each other’s rights and humanity is what makes us civilized — not keeping a civil tone while doing the opposite.

“It’s easy to say nice things about Pence when you’re not personally threatened by his agenda. If Biden were being directly attacked in the same way that our community is, I think he would see Pence from a very different vantage point.

“When politicians of a certain age reminisce about the “civility” that used to define Washington, it’s telling that the old guard conveniently forgets that this decorum has never been extended to all.”

During Biden’s two terms as vice-president, he benefited from GOP decorum as President Obama was given racist disrespect, going so far as incessantly refuting his citizenship. Minorities and women still suffer from Biden’s decision to be collegial with his GOP colleagues and Clarence Thomas in the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Thomas while attacking witness Anita Hill. Thanks to Biden, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thomas kept his dignity and achieved the prize while Anita Hill’s humanity was stripped and no other women were allowed to testify about Thomas’ sexual misconduct. Biden’s determination to silence women and avoid the truth has saddled the nation with one of the worst Supreme Court justices for decades until Biden’s GOP friends confirmed two DDT appointees.

Considering a run for president, Biden said a few months ago about the Thomas hearings, “I wish I could have done something.” He could have; he just didn’t. A few weeks ago, Biden called Anita Hill to express “his regret for what she endured.” Not really an apology and certainly not contrition for his part in the fiasco. Biden promoted Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, one of the finest justices in modern history, and Thomas is still sitting on the court driving human rights into the ground after 30 years while building up his personal fortune and helping his wife in her far-right activism.

Biden consistently voted against women’s reproductive rights from his anti-abortion vote with Republicans in 1981 to banning federal funding for international nonprofit groups providing abortion counseling or referrals in 2005. He cited his Catholicism as a reason in his vote for Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) 2003 abortion ban with no exception for the woman’s health.

Another Biden “woman problem” is the controversy about his uninvited touching and kissing women. Seven women have spoken out against him. The defense of just being a nice man trying to comfort women doesn’t work for those who feel that his behavior intrudes on their personal space. [Right: Biden on the 2012 campaign trail in Seaman, Ohio – AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster] People who claim that women should be strong enough to object fail to understand that Biden wields power over female politicians and other women afraid of losing their positions. When several women finally complained, Biden said that he understood his behavior might have made some women uncomfortable. Yet he proved that he doesn’t “get it” after joking about touching people during a speech. After the speech, he claimed that he had never been “disrespectful intentionally” to people and also said:

“I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything I have ever done.”

Biden’s harsh anti-drug legislation in the 1980s was followed by “tough-on-crime” criminal justice policies. The result was mass incarceration focused on blacks. His staffers stated that made flimsy excuses for weekly hearings about drugs and crime combined with ensuring police at every public meeting.  He did apologize for his legislation but never took leadership in overturning racist crime laws during the eight years when he was vice-president. Biden also apologized for his support the poorly named “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996 after LGBTQ people had lost their rights for 16 years.

In 1986, Biden voted in favor of the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which the NRA has called “the law that saved gun rights.” Creating a legacy for the gun rights movement, the law overturned six Supreme Court rulings and other regulations by permitting dealers to sell rifles, shotguns, and ammunition through the mail and limited inspections of firearms dealers who were then allowed to sell weapons at gun shows.

Biden put young people in deeper debt by blocking student debt forgiveness. In 1978, he wrote a bill to keep students from seeking bankruptcy protections for a specific time after graduation although it would affect fewer than one percent of educational loans. Throughout time, he kept making the law more onerous, adding vocational schools to higher education and then lengthening the time for no bankruptcies. Despite a recommendation in 1997 from the National Bankruptcy and Review Commission that student loans be treated like all other private consumer debt, Biden stayed on the side of the loan industry to limit bankruptcy. In 2001, Biden pushed legislation stripping bankruptcy protections from all student loans including those from private industry, and George W. Bush’s Congress got the bill through in 2005.

To defend his punitive legislation, Biden called borrowers irresponsible or criminal, much like Ronald Reagan’s accusation of “welfare queens.” Biden voted against protecting mothers who failed to receive child support or alimony, voted against setting a limit of 30 percent on loan interest, and voted against special protections for bankruptcy among former military, victims of identity theft, and those with unmanageable medical debt. Elizabeth Warren’s book, The Two-Income Trap, criticizes Biden’s role in stripping out consumer protections for families and single mothers.

Delaware, Biden’s home state, is comparable to the Cayman Islands in providing tax havens for Fortune 500 companies, and one of its sheltered corporations, lending firm MBNA, was Biden’s top donor from 1989 to 2010. In 1996, Biden made a tidy profit by selling his home to MBNA executive John Cochran and continued to pride himself on his “business-friendly” legislative and deregulatory efforts during the decade. Biden’s relationship with MBNA made money for his son Hunter, who kept getting paid as a “consultant” while Biden supported legislation that benefited the credit card despite opposition by consumer groups. Biden likes the wealthy. Last year, he said, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble.” He has no solutions for income inequality.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that led to the 2008 recession, and Biden was part of the crew that gave this law to Wall Street. Through the overturn of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall legislation separating investment banking from commercial banking, institutions could legally gamble with people’s money. By late 2016 Biden admitted it was the “worst vote” he had cast, but again failed to address the consequences during his time as vice-president.

Another Biden “success” was the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. As chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, his hearings were sham—experts opposing the invasion were shut up while all the war hawks took the spotlight. In summer 2002, Biden declared that the U.S. was going to war and then sold the invasion to colleagues and the public. Biden’s support for Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister exacerbated the disaster of the invasion. During his time in power, $500 billion disappeared from the government, the country’s security forces deteriorated, and ISIS developed greater power.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden led the fight in the 1970s against integrating schools through “busing” by playing down racism and demanding a limited government role in integration. He said about slavery:

“I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

Siding with conservatives on the issue, Biden received praise, such as Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) welcoming him “to the ranks of the enlightened.” Biden called the integration plans “just quota systems.” Biden refuses to be interviewed about the issue, but his spokesman said that Biden still thinks he was right. Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA), the chamber’s only black, called one of Biden’s amendments “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.” Later, Biden extolled the virtues for and common cause with his friend Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-) in his 2003 eulogy for the virulent racist.

After considering a run for president at least six times beginning in 1980, this campaign makes Biden’s third presidential candidacy. In 1988, Biden, then 45 years old, dropped out after a plagiarism controversy. Twenty years later, his departure came after winning only one percent in the Iowa caucuses—fifth place. If elected in 2020, Biden would be 78 years old on his inauguration day. That eliminates a second term unless voters want an 86-year-old president.

Biden is part of the past: presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was five years old when Biden first ran for president. His announcement, a video, mentioned nothing about today’s problems such as jobs, health care, or education. His opening shows only a campaign against DDT without any goals that elected Democrats in 2018.

“I’ve got the most progressive record of anyone running,” Biden said in March. Young people, women, and minorities—all important Democratic constituencies—might differ with his statement. Democrats deserve a candidate who will do more than run against DDT. Unity is one thing; sellout is entirely different.

1 Comment »

  1. Biden is a goofy s.o.b.

    Like

    Comment by mickey — April 26, 2019 @ 12:03 PM | Reply


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