Thursday, March 07, 2019

Biden For Dummies/Dummies For Biden


People have been asking me if I hate Biden so much because of Bernie and the 2020 presidential primary. The answer is absolutely not; I've always hated Biden. Biden has been a consistent conservative shit-bag from the very first time I ever became aware of him. I don't have a good thought in my memory bank about this guy. I would no more see him run for president than see his old friend Joe Lieberman run. Policy-wise, there is very little to differentiate them.

Biden's campaign can't be anything but one gigantic apology tour.

Biden is a tired old man if he ever made it to the White House, he'd be taking up public space napping.

Biden will run on a return to normalcy and the last time that happened, it set the clock ticking towards one of the worst couple of decade in American history, including the Great Depression.

Biden is associated with corrupt bottom feeders and the worst of the neocon corporate Democratic establishment. A Biden administration would be horrifying for anyone with any kind of a progressive impulse.

Biden is still a pathetic lech who still thinks women are flattered when he fumbles around trying to feel them up.

Biden is a no-can-do kind of candidate with no vision for the country and no expectations for the country; this is all about himself.

Biden is like Hillary except worse-- and with no inspirational aspiration for breaking through a glass ceiling of any kind.

Biden was espisode IV in The Worst Democraps Who Want To Be President but he should have been episode I.

Biden is not Barack Obama-- and he's not even Middle Class Joe; he's Status Quo Joe Biden and people outside the Beltway don't like him once they get to know him. He sees himself as the centrist alternative to Bernie. As Alex Shephard wrote last December for the New Republic, "Biden’s public image has been bolstered by his distance from public life. Even as vice president, he largely kept his hands clean of everyday politics in Washington. If Obama was seen as the brain of the administration, Biden was its heart and soul: an emotional man of the people, simultaneously macho and unafraid to cry in public, who famously pressured Obama (albeit accidentally) into supporting gay marriage. That perception has only grown in his retirement, as Trump’s rise has fueled a nostalgia for more decent times in American politics. But if Biden runs, his past will be raked over-- and his political record looks increasingly checkered in today’s light... A Biden candidacy, like Clinton’s, would serve as a reminder of the many flaws of a party establishment that an increasing number of Democrats would like to overthrow (or at least overhaul)."

Yesterday, Zach Carter put Biden's genuinely repulsive record under the microscope in an excruciatingly forthright essay for HuffPo, Joe Biden’s Biggest 2020 Problem Is Joe Biden. Ripping off the carefully constructed scab, Carter asserted, without the slightest exaggeration that "despite cultivating a populist image, the former vice president has spent his career championing policies favored by Republicans and the corporate elite." That doesn't fit with today's activism and political energies, not one bit. "In more than four decades of public service," wrote Carter, "Biden has enthusiastically championed policies favored by financial elites, forging alliances with Wall Street and the political right to notch legislative victories that ran counter to the populist ideas that now animate his party. If he declares for the presidency, Biden will face a Democratic electorate that has moved on from his brand of politics."

Carter began by contrasting Biden with Ted Kennedy back in the 1970s after Biden was first elected. Kennedy has a an important anti-trust bill "that would block corporate mergers based on the total size of the resulting company" and Biden, at the behest of Coca Cola, opposed it and joined with the Republicans, who, like him have structured their careers around bribery, and defeated it.
Antitrust law was an early salvo in what became a quarter-century struggle to shift the Democratic Party’s base of support away from organized labor toward large corporations. The Biden-Kennedy split carried symbolic connotations beyond the policy implications of their individual votes. Where Kennedy wanted to use the Judiciary Committee to continue the old New Deal-era attack on corporate power, Biden became an advocate for corporate interests that had previously been associated with the Republican Party.

As Biden fought Kennedy on the Coca-Cola bill, he was also trying to thwart a Kennedy effort that would have empowered consumers to sue over a broader swath of antitrust violations. In 1977, the Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling that only those who directly purchased products could sue companies for antitrust violations. That meant that manufacturers who sold their goods through wholesalers could only be sued by the wholesalers, not consumers.

Kennedy prepared a bill that would have reversed the court’s decision, but Biden, in the words of the New York Times, “vexed” him by siding with Republicans. Biden was going out on a limb by bucking leadership. Only two of the committee’s 10 Democrats opposed Kennedy on the bill, and the other was Howell Heflin, a conservative Democrat from Alabama. The bill narrowly made it out of committee after Kennedy made some desperate last-minute concessions to win over Republican Sen. Charles Mathias (R-MD), but the bill never got a floor vote. Kennedy’s broader antitrust ambitions died with it.

Earlier in his career, Biden had been the face of unabashed racism in Delaware, a real hero for whites who didn't want their kids going to school with black kids. He built his early career on the kind of ugly anti-busing racism that people my age will never forget Joe Biden for. For many, Biden was "whitewashed" when Obama used him to "balance" the ticket in 2008. Despite his racist background, Carter found an old 1974 quote from The Washingtonian to share, the helps peg the way Biden has long painted himself, inadvertently or not: "A lot of us sit around thinking up ways to vote conservative just so we don’t come out with a liberal rating. When it comes to civil rights and civil liberties, I’m a liberal but that’s it. I’m really quite conservative on most other issues." So who was he sitting around with in 1974 trying to show how right-wing he was and how much disdain he had for working people? He was tight with the Democratic Majority Whip, former KKK member Robert Byrd (WV) and he loved recounting to his pals John Sparkman (AL), James Eastland (MS), John Stennis (MS), Herman Talmadge (GA), John McClellan (AR), Ernest Hollings (SC), J. Bennett Johnston (LA) how Delaware was a slave state and "we wanted to join the Confederacy" but other states were in the way. But not everyone was sitting around thinking up ways to show how conservative they were with Biden. Gaylord Nelson and William Proxmire of Wisconsin weren't; Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota weren't; Mike Gravel (AK) wasn't; Abraham Ribicoff (CT) wasn't; John Tunney and Alan Cranston of California weren't. Howard Metzenbaum and John Glenn of Ohio weren't. There were even Republicans in the Senate to the left of Biden, who was pals with Jesse Helms, in those days. And, wrote Carter, "If Biden wanted low marks from liberal groups, he got them. By 1978, Americans for Democratic Action, the preeminent liberal watchdog group of the time, gave Biden a score of just 50, lower than its ratings for some Republicans. Kennedy typically scored in the 90s."
Biden’s ratings recovered in the 1980s, fueled by a liberal foreign policy record. But on domestic policy-- from school integration to tax policy-- he was functionally allied with the Reagan administration.

He voted for a landmark Reagan tax bill that slashed the top income tax rate from 70 percent to 50 percent and exempted many wealthy families from the estate tax on unearned inheritances, a measure that cost the federal government an estimated $83 billion in annual revenue. He then called for a spending freeze on Social Security in order to reduce the deficits that tax law helped to create.

“While this program is severe,” Biden said on the Senate floor, “it is the only proposal that will halt the upward spiral of deficits,” which supposedly threatened “an economic and political crisis of extraordinary proportions” within 18 months.

By the time Biden first ran for president in 1987, he had adopted much of Reagan’s anti-government message in his pitch to Democratic voters.

“Government can do many things, but in the final analysis, government can act little more than as a catalyst,” Biden said on the stump. “We must demand more of ourselves... our managers, our workers, our consumers are needed to change their attitudes in order to revitalize this society.”

Biden dropped out of the 1988 presidential race after just a few months, unable to deal with a speechwriting plagiarism scandal that today seems quaint. But his ideas would make their way to the presidency in the persona of Bill Clinton. “I was one of those guys in 1987 who tried to run on a platform that Clinton basically ran on in 1992,” Biden told National Journal in 2001. He dismissed criticisms of the Clinton years as empty “class warfare and populism.”

One of the central planks of that platform was welfare reform-- a policy that exacerbated severe poverty by kicking people off of public assistance if they didn’t get a job. The plan ignored the constraints facing most poor families, who often didn’t have access to transportation needed to hold down a job, had small children to care for, or simply couldn’t find work (a particularly serious problem during a recession). The 1996 welfare reform vote divided the party-- 23 Senate Democrats voted against it and 23 voted for it, including Biden. Clinton signed it into law with support from a unified Republican Party.

Biden was a steadfast supporter of an economic agenda that caused economic inequality to skyrocket during the Clinton years. While the poor and middle class made modest gains as a percentage of their income, a pay increase of 2.5 percent wasn’t terribly meaningful for people who didn’t make much money to begin with. The fortunes of the rich, by contrast, swelled as Clinton cut taxes on capital gains from real estate and financial investments. While Clinton’s 1993 budget raised the top income tax rate from 36 percent to 39.6 percent, the economic gains from his 1997 tax cut were heavily concentrated among the rich. As a result, the top 1 percent’s share of the national income grew dramatically. Biden voted for all of it.

At the same time, landmark banking deregulation further concentrated the nation’s wealth in the hands of a few big players. Biden voted for the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking Act, which allowed banks to expand across state lines. He voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that barred traditional commercial banks from engaging in risky, high-flying securities trades. These laws encouraged Wall Street mega-mergers that created too big to fail and too big to manage behemoths like Citigroup and Wells Fargo. He voted to bar federal or state supervision of credit default swaps, which later became become ”financial weapons of mass destruction″ during the 2008 financial crisis.

These were not controversial votes in the 1990s, a time when Democrats were happy to accept anything that looked like a policy victory over an unhinged Republican opposition. Only three senators opposed Clinton’s 1997 tax cut, and just eight opposed the repeal of Glass-Steagall. But the Wall Street crash discredited the entire agenda. In 2016, Biden himself called his vote to repeal Glass-Steagall the biggest regret of his career.

Biden also spent roughly a decade pursuing an overhaul of American bankruptcy law to discourage debt-strapped households from discharging their financial obligations in court. As then-academic Elizabeth Warren warned at the time, Biden’s bankruptcy law boosted revenues for credit card companies at the expense of families struggling with job losses and medical bills. Unlike the Clinton-era deregulation, the bankruptcy bill was unpopular with Senate Democrats, who voted against it 31 to 14.

Biden partially atoned in the Obama years,  intervening to get presidential support to prohibit banks that benefit from taxpayer perks from speculating with risky securities. But Obama also dispatched Biden to try to ink a “grand bargain” with the House GOP in which Democrats would accept long-term cuts to Social Security in exchange for modest tax increases on the rich. Like just about everything Biden supported in his congressional career, that measure enjoyed tremendous support with centrist elites in both parties.

Biden’s regular Joe credibility is based entirely on his personal background, as someone who grew up working class and speaks with the rough masculinity that Washington interprets as authenticity. But his politics have always relied on elite assumptions about the economy: Deficits are bad, deregulation is smart and the government is at best a clumsy steward of economic prosperity.

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At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it sad the number of Democrats who act like Trump is truly an existential crisis for America and that any Democrat, but especially one who is 'centrist', is what will save the country.

Trump is a horrific person and an awful president, but he has actually produced fewer body bags than either of his predecessors. Policy-wise he is way behind W. in destroying the foundations of this country. His main sin is constantly breaking social norms. He is a barely human version of a monkey throwing shit at zoo visitors. Yet people act like his carnival act is an evil above all others.

If Democrats run Biden or Harris or any of the establishment do-nothings, the Republican president that is certain to follow is going tell the American people to 'Hold his beer' when it comes to outdoing Trump.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a pointless rehash of the previous "worst democraps..." piece on biden.

I did see this, however: " "despite cultivating a populist image, the former vice president has spent his career championing policies favored by Republicans and the corporate elite." That doesn't fit with today's activism and political energies, not one bit."

1) you can substitute "the former vice president" with everyone except Bernie and Elizabeth and it's still true. And if you only watch what they *DO*, it fits with Bernie and Elizabeth too.

2) it doesn't fit with today's activism. but it does fit with the democrap PARTY. And that is who selects the nom, not the voters. But the stupidest of those voters, after having their votes utterly betrayed, will shove both thumbs up their asses and blithely accept whatever the corrupt corporate PARTY does. The millions of voters who still can rub 2 synapses together will stay home or vote green/other.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering how vocal Biden was, especially when Boston was convulsing over forced bussing (IIRC), I'm amazed at how the black community isn't actively opposing Biden. I'd love to know why.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

That first graphic fits & suits him well.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I voted for Trump because he was the lesser evil in 2016. If Biden gets the nomination I guess I will have to go out and buy my own MAGA hat.

At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:02, the black voters have proven to be just as stupid as the whites on the left. they supported obamanation AFTER the courts lost voting rights and he did nothing. they supported $hillbillary after her central park 5 comments. they are the most religiously devoted morons in the democrap electorate (think catholic parents of young sons).

edmondo, I urge you again to reconsider. trump=evil. democraps=evil. try voting green or some "other" who is not evil. you might sleep better. And you don't have to send your money to china for a MAGA hat.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:23, very well said.

We know that trump is the most despicable humanoid ever to soil the white man's house. He out-despicables Nixon and harding easily.

But, as president, he's not yet worse than anyone after Carter. Fewer corpses anyway.

It won't matter who the DNC chooses from their list of acceptables (Bernie ain't on that list). The lefty voter malaise that will result from it will guarantee the next Nazi, worse than trump for sure, will be our last ever "elected" president.

We're not far from disbanding the remaining vestige (charade) of democracy. The money will stop having to bribe 536 whores and the voters certainly haven't shown that they give one flying fuck... so why continue.


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