Last night, Allahpundit dug into the dogpile of Democrats who were busy clucking their tongues at Joe Biden. This time it was his fond remembrance of a kinder, gentler era when you could hang out with some segregationists and really get things done.
So it’s time for Biden to issue the standard apology or non-apology that still sort of sounds like an apology, right? Nope. Several of his Democratic primary opponents criticized him for his remarks about his former segregationist colleagues, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. At an event last night, Uncle Joe was asked if he planned on apologizing as Booker suggested. But Biden pretty much flipped the script and said it was Booker who should be apologizing to him. (Politico, emphasis added)
But asked by a camera crew before the event whether he would apologize for his comments, Biden insisted he would not.
“Cory should apologize. He knows better,” Biden said.
Booker later went on CNN to respond to Biden, saying his insensitivity was not well suited for a Democratic presidential nominee.
“I know that somebody running for president of the United States, somebody running to be the leader of our party, should know that using the word ‘boy’ in the way he did can cause hurt and pain,” Booker said.
First of all, I’m pretty sure that this “scandal” is really only registering with the political media and the real election junkies. He’s summoning up vignettes from the 70s and 80s which were, as much as liberals chaff at the use of the phrase, “a different time.” But even in 2019 terms, Biden is talking about a reality that’s just as true today as it was back then. As a Senator (or a member of the House for that matter), you don’t get to pick the people you’re working with. They are selected by their constituents back home just like you were. And people from different states frequently have differing views that are reflected in their choice of representatives.
No, that’s not an excuse for or defense of being a segregationist. But in general terms, it’s no different than a pro-abortion Senator from the northeast having to find a way to work on passing a budget with a pro-life Senator from the south. They don’t have to agree on abortion, but they can at least make the effort to find common cause in getting the basic work of the legislature done, particularly when it’s someone from your own party. Everything can’t be a non-stop brawl seven days a week.
But at the same time, calling on Booker to make an apology seems a bridge too far. Joe may feel he’s in the right on this one, and to a certain extent he probably is, but asking an African-American senator to apologize for being critical of you hanging around with segregationists is tone deaf at best. In the end, Joe is the dog leading the pack right now and the rest of them will be taking shots at him whenever they sense an opening. These comments obviously looked like an opportunity, so they took a swing. Best to simply reiterate your position and move on.