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Solomon writes: "On the verge of relaunching, Joe Biden is poised to come to the rescue of the corporate political establishment."

Former vice president Joe Biden. (photo: Jessica Hill/AP)
Former vice president Joe Biden. (photo: Jessica Hill/AP)

Joe Biden on the Relaunch Pad: He's Worse Than You Thought

By Norman Solomon, Reader Supported News

11 March 19


hen the New York Times front-paged its latest anti-left polemic masquerading as a news article, the March 9 piece declared: “Should former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. enter the race, as his top advisers vow he soon will, he would have the best immediate shot at the moderate mantle.”

On the verge of relaunching, Joe Biden is poised to come to the rescue of the corporate political establishment -- at a time when, in the words of the Times, “the sharp left turn in the Democratic Party and the rise of progressive presidential candidates are unnerving moderate Democrats.” After 36 years in the Senate and eight as vice president, Biden is by far the most seasoned servant of corporate power with a prayer of becoming the next president.

When Biden read this paragraph in a recent Politico article, his ears must have been burning: “Early support from deep-pocketed financial executives could give Democrats seeking to break out of the pack an important fundraising boost. But any association with bankers also opens presidential hopefuls to sharp attacks from an ascendant left.”

The direct prey of Biden’s five-decade “association with bankers” include millions of current and former college students now struggling under avalanches of debt; they can thank Biden for his prodigious services to the lending industry. Andrew Cockburn identifies an array of victims in his devastating profile of Biden in the March issue of Harper’s magazine. For instance:

** “Biden was long a willing foot soldier in the campaign to emasculate laws allowing debtors relief from loans they cannot repay. As far back as 1978, he helped negotiate a deal rolling back bankruptcy protections for graduates with federal student loans, and in 1984 worked to do the same for borrowers with loans for vocational schools.”

** “Even when the ostensible objective lay elsewhere, such as drug-related crime, Biden did not forget his banker friends. Thus the 1990 Crime Control Act, with Biden as chief sponsor, further limited debtors’ ability to take advantage of bankruptcy protections.”

** Biden worked diligently to strengthen the hand of credit-card firms against consumers. At the same time, “the credit card giant MBNA was Biden’s largest contributor for much of his Senate career, while also employing his son Hunter as an executive and, later, as a well-remunerated consultant.”

Media mythology about “Lunch Bucket Joe” cannot stand up to scrutiny. His bona fides as a pal of working people are about as solid and believable as those of the last Democratic nominee for president.

But Biden’s fealty to corporate power has been only one aspect of his many-faceted record that progressives will widely find repugnant to the extent they learn about it.

Since the #MeToo movement began, some retrospective media coverage has assessed Biden’s highly problematic role in chairing the Clarence Thomas - Anita Hill hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And in recent days, Washington Post reporting has brought into focus his backstory of pandering to white racism against African-Americans during much of his Senate career.

As a 32-year-old senator, in 1975, Biden commented: “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. 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.”

More attention is also needed to Biden’s role as Judiciary Committee chair pushing through the now-notorious landmark 1994 crime bill. In the process of championing the bill, Biden warned of “predators on our streets” during a 1993 speech on the Senate floor.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth,” Biden proclaimed. “It doesn’t matter whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society. The end result is they're about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons.”

Now, a new Iowa poll shows Biden and Bernie Sanders neck and neck in the first-in-the-nation contest for the nomination, with the rest of the candidates far behind in the state. For quite a while, Biden has been sharpening his hatchet to swing at progressive populism in general -- and Bernie in particular.

In typical Biden style, the former vice president is eager to stake out the middle of the road, between ultra-predatory capitalism and solidarity with working-class people. At an October 2017 gathering in Alabama, he 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.”

As Branko Marcetic pointed out in Jacobin last summer, “at a time when left-wing populism is increasingly accepted as the antidote to Trump and the GOP’s nativist and corporate-friendly pitch, Biden stands as a remnant of precisely the sort of left-averse, triangulating Democratic politics that Hillary Clinton was relentlessly criticized for personifying.”

Biden makes clear his distaste for the current progressive populist wave. “I know some want to single out big corporations for all the blame,” he wrote in a blog post. “It is true that the balance has shifted too much in favor of corporations and against workers. But consumers, workers, and leaders have the power to hold every corporation to a higher standard, not simply cast business as the enemy or let industry off the hook.”

One of the many industries that Biden has a long record of letting “off the hook” is the war business. In that mode, Biden did more than any other Democratic senator to greenlight the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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.”

Joe Biden’s friendly TV persona appeals to many. He smiles well and has a gift of gab. Most political journalists in the mass media like him. He’s an apt frontrunner for the military-industry complex and the corporate power structure that it serves. Whether Biden can win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination will largely depend on how many voters don’t know much about his actual record.

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Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+58 # indian weaving 2019-03-11 13:29
Biden was instrumental in installing the Nazis into ruling the Ukraine, overthrowing their elected president. Biden then added insult to injury by installing his worthless son Beau as Energy Czar in a Nazi regime. Yeah, go ahead, we need Biden here to further destroy the USA next. These cowardly establishment fascists are all alike, both GOP and Dems. And, being the egomaniac he is, his teeth now glow in the dark, fittingly enough.
+18 # tsyganka 2019-03-11 18:30
indian weaving -- Yes; Biden abetted the overthrow of Ukraine's elected president. But I believe it was his worthless son Hunter who was installed on the BoD of Burisma? (Devon Archer, a friend of John Kerry's family, was also put on the BoD.)

I intend to link this article in various forums, and I hope you do the same. Solomon is correct: Biden will get nominated Only if voters don't know about Biden's stinking record.
+5 # pushingforpeace 2019-03-11 19:20
Him and his hairplugs need to be in the dustbin of history.
+5 # SenorN 2019-03-11 23:50
If Biden turns out to be the nominee, some Trumpeter will quote you. Whatever may be wrong w Biden, he's God compared to Trump's Satan.
+8 # indian weaving 2019-03-13 06:50
That's not good enough. We're almost all better than Trump in every way. Biden still wreaks of establishment lies and crimes, no matter what. You want more of that, go ahead and support him when we have umpteen better people for president.
+14 # ktony 2019-03-11 14:23
Just his disgusting behavior at the Thomas hearings should put Biden out of the running. I suppose those "500 billionaires" each get a vote for each of their dollars. That ought to put Joe over the top. He's been kissing bankers' behinds so long that "brown noser" is a gross understatement. He's brown down to his shoulders.
+23 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-11 14:40
Wow, this is really good and scary. If Biden runs, he will get the support of the Clinton wing of the Demo party. These are right wing or neo-liberal democrats. They are a minority of the party but they have the power of the media and they have the money. So Biden could actually be the Democratic nominee.

Then for sure Trump would win a second term. Not enough people want to go back to the Clinton/Obama status quo. People really do want change, the kind of changes being talked about by Sanders, Warren, Gabbard, and the rest to a lesser extent.

But I don't think Biden will run. At least I hope not. There are good candidates now in the race and more good ones thinking about it. The Democratic party is looking good. Biden cannot help that at all.
-17 # Cowboy 45 2019-03-11 17:56
I will need to re post this story when he is the nominee and all of you are going on about how great he is.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-13 07:27
I don't think anyone on this board will go over to Biden's side. They will simply not vote or vote for the Green Party. Biden is a right wing democrat.

But no worry, I don't think he will do well in the primaries.
+25 # chapdrum 2019-03-11 18:13
Two reasons to oppose this DINO(saur):
He greased the skids for Clarence Thomas, and helped make it impossible to remove student debt for those unfortunate enough to file for bankruptcy.
+24 # grandlakeguy 2019-03-11 18:44
This is the embodiment of the newest DNC "strategy" to once again lose to Trump!

Just like in 2016:
If Bernie is the nominee... we win!
If it is the corporate Dem... we lose!
+5 # Magginkat 2019-03-11 18:58
"Joe Biden’s friendly TV persona appeals to many. He smiles well..."
His phony smile is what has given me the creeps since the first time I became aware who he is. I am an old white woman but these good old white boys have had their day & we have been lucky to survive them. My first choice for president/VP is Kamala Harris & Beto O'Rourke. Since it's early in the game that is subject to change if other prove to be more electable.
+14 # Inspired Citizen 2019-03-11 19:11

Soon the world will recall @JoeBiden (DINO) "did more than any other Democratic senator to greenlight the March 2003 invasion of Iraq."

Biden's political philosophy is the reason Trump got elected!
+13 # pushingforpeace 2019-03-11 19:17
GAG! I can never forget him at the Anita Hill hearings. A total douche - nope, not even that good. More of an ass-wipe.
+16 # NAVYVET 2019-03-11 20:58
About time somebody pulled Biden's cork and watched all the puffery flow out, until nothing was left of old Joe but scraps of self-promotion inside a shrunken skin.
Please read the HARPERS article. It's the cover story, entitled "Joe--No!" I subscribe to the magazine but town libraries often carry HARPERS, and The Guardian (or was it RSN? or both?) reprinted the article in emailed news commentary.
And be equally suspicious of Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke--altho ugh they haven't had time to total up all the Welfare for the Super-Rich and Phony Promises for the Rest of Us that Biden has generated throughout his long career.
As for his racism, don't forget he's from a Border state (Delaware) that's been equally friendly to greedy oligarchs and the Confederates. And as a woman, how could I ever forget his shabby treatment of Anita Hill?
+8 # economagic 2019-03-11 21:01
“It is true that the balance has shifted too much in favor of corporations and against workers. But consumers, workers, and leaders have the power to hold every corporation to a higher standard, not simply cast business as the enemy or let industry off the hook.”

WTF: HOW?!?!? I'll tell ya how: Enact a death penalty for corporations that have cause lots of deaths.

And aside from his being a warmonger, debt is the lifeblood of capitalism, and the vampire squids love their Uncle Joe.

Biden is either so sleazy or so lacking in awareness of any kind that he doesn't even attempt to justify his anti-democratic and inhumane Belief System (BS).
+10 # fsboos 2019-03-11 21:06
Thank you for this enlightening article. As an Iowa who will participate in the Democratic primary, I'm grateful for facts to use in explaining why Biden isn't really a compromise candidate.
+17 # Jim Rocket 2019-03-11 21:38
Biden should switch parties and primary Trump for the Republican nomination. Maybe he could save the Republican Party. You know, get it back to merely greedy war-mongering with a smile.
+11 # lfeuille 2019-03-11 22:18
I don't think the message about Biden's anti-leftist populism is getting through, at least no yet. That's the only way the poll results make sense.
+13 # John Cosmo 2019-03-12 02:49
If Biden (or some other moderate like him) should get the Democratic nomination, it would seal Donald Trump's second term.
+19 # DongiC 2019-03-12 05:32
Biden is a wuss; champion of corporate power and protector of the privileged, what is he doing running for president of FDR's marvelous party? And, what is his stand on the environment? Temporizing? Just what the country does not need at this critical juncture in time. Joe is a giant no go.
+10 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-03-12 12:30
Biden is Hillary Clinton in drag.
0 # opinionaire 2019-03-14 08:45
I am sorry; I do not want this person to be the Democratic nominee, but I would hold my nose and vote for whom or whatever to avoid another four years of this "administration ," including additional time with PopePiusPence.

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