If it’s Monday, there must be a fresh Joe Biden gaffe to write about. The former vice-president is a full-on gaffe machine and he does not disappoint. His latest public flub came in the form of a boast that though he’s criticized by the farthest of leftists in his party, he, in fact, is the most progressive candidate running. Oh, wait. Did he say he’s running?
“I’m told I get criticized by the ‘New Left,’ ” Biden told the audience. “I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the … anybody who would run.”
Biden, known for past gaffes, quickly corrected himself, clarifying that he meant to say “anybody who would run,” then adding “I didn’t mean it” while a cheering crowd in his home state nearly drowned him out.
Nah, he was just tossing out a little red meat to the audience to solicit their adoring chants. He’s a career politician, you know, and there is an ego to be fed. Good old Uncle Joe was speaking to the home crowd, members of the Democrat Party of Delaware Saturday and no doubt was feeling the love. You can see a video clip HERE.
I do think Biden will jump in and as far as polling goes, he’s still at the top of the list for Democrats. He’s just going to sit out a formal declaration for awhile. It’s Beto’s time in the spotlight right now and Biden will have his time soon enough. In the meanwhile, he’s got name recognition and a record on which he can run. The problem for Biden, though, is that his record isn’t one of a progressive, at least as it now is defined. Biden’s an old-school Democrat with a knack for attracting middle-class, moderate voters. He’s “Middle-Class Joe” or “Working Class Joe” or, as I heard on a Showtime show over the weekend, he’s “Lunch Bucket Joe”. You get the picture.
Now that his party has fallen headlong into the embrace of socialism, Biden has to rustle up some progressive cred as he sells his potential to be a winning presidential candidate. He’s been in elected office at the national level since age 29 and he’s not stupid. He just sounds that way sometimes. Biden spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as Vice-President. His record, mostly because of longevity, is a mixed bag.
The Democratic Party now supports infanticide and Joe has a record of supporting abortion but not partial-birth abortion, voting against that in 1999 and in 2003. He supports capital punishment and authored the bill named the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, increasing the number of crimes eligible for such a sentence. He opposes marijuana legalization, unlike Beto O’Rourke, who was in favor of legalizing all drugs during his days on the El Paso City Council.
Some progressives have not forgotten that Biden voted in favor of the Iraq War and blame him as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time for holding “sham” hearings during the lead-up.
It wasn’t just that Biden voted for the Iraq war on the Senate floor five months before it began. During the lead-up to that vote, in August 2002, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he presided over sham hearings — refusing to allow experts who opposed an invasion to get any words in edgewise — while a cavalcade of war hawks testified in the national spotlight.
“It is difficult to over-estimate the critical role Biden played in making the tragedy of the Iraq war possible,” Middle East studies professor Stephen Zunes wrote. “More than two months prior to the 2002 war resolution even being introduced, in what was widely interpreted as the first sign that Congress would endorse a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Biden declared on August 4 that the United States was probably going to war. In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the America public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.”
As candidate Amy Klobuchar said over the weekend about a Biden candidacy, his long record will show some accomplishments but he’s also got some ‘splaining to do.
Meanwhile, a senator not running for the 2020 Democrat nomination, Delaware’s Senator Chris Coons, vouches for Biden’s credibility and ability to win the party’s nomination despite his mixed voting record.
For example, in the 1980s, Biden supported several bills that increased penalties for drug users, including one that essentially punished the possession of crack cocaine more harshly than powder cocaine — which critics say disproportionately impacted African Americans.
“There are things that he was involved in, or said, or voted for 25 or 30 or 40 years ago that I expect he will get asked about on the trail,” Coons said. “But he has a real and solid record of stepping forward and being a champion for civil rights, for women’s rights, for LGBTQ rights.”
Coons said he feels “on the whole” the Democratic primary electorate will be satisfied with Biden’s record.
“Joe Biden has a record that allows him to say that making big and bold progressive promises on the campaign trail is one thing, having a real record of actually delivering on those things is quite another,” Coons said. “Real leadership is actually enacting legislation that advances access to health care, that reigns in Wall Street.”
I’ll leave you with this tidbit from Biden’s appearance Saturday in Delaware. It is reported that he told the crowd that he stopped his driver on the way over and gave a homeless woman “whatever was in my pocket.” Then, when the crowd burst into applause he demurred, “No, no, no, it’s not about me.” Self-awareness is hard, y’all.
Joe Biden says that he stopped his driver on the way to tonight's state Democratic dinner to give a homeless woman "whatever was in my pocket" — stops sparking applause by saying "no, no, no, it's not about me."
— Alex Thomas (@AlexThomasDC) March 16, 2019