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Excerpt: "In a party that officially condemns dog-whistle appeals to racism, Joe Biden is running on Orwellian eggshells."

Joe Biden. (photo: Sun Sentinel)
Joe Biden. (photo: Sun Sentinel)

The Joe Biden That MSNBC Won't Show You

By Norman Solomon, RootsAction

01 June 19


oe Biden: “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble.”

“I love Bernie, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we're in trouble... The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”
– Joe Biden, speaking to the Brookings Institution

“Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are.”
– Joe Biden, speaking in Alabama

“Biden voted for repeated rounds of deregulation in multiple areas and helped roll back anti-trust policy – often siding with Republicans in the process. He was a key architect of the infamous 2005 bankruptcy reform bill which made means tests much more strict and near-impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.”
– Journalist Ryan Cooper, The Week

“In more than four decades of public service, 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.... Biden was a steadfast supporter of an economic agenda that caused economic inequality to skyrocket during the Clinton years.... 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.”
HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter

“Biden’s team apparently is fixated on the relatively small number of workers in the building trades unions who want to keep on constructing natural gas pipelines (and perhaps, since he hasn’t signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, on big donors from the hydrocarbon sector). This is old-school thinking at its best: throw young voters, overwhelmingly fixated on climate change, under the dirty diesel bus in an effort to win a narrowing pool of union leaders, who gathered in the Oval Office with Trump to celebrate in the early days of his presidency.”
– Bill McKibben, The Guardian

“Much of what Democrats blame Republicans for was enabled, quite literally, by Biden: Justices whose confirmation to the Supreme Court he rubber-stamped worked to disembowel affirmative action, collective bargaining rights, reproductive rights, voting rights.”
– Rebecca Traister, feminist author, writing for

Vice President Mike Pence “is a decent guy.”
– Joe Biden, speaking in Omaha

“I really like Dick Cheney for real. I get on with him, I think he’s a decent man.” – Joe Biden, speaking at George Washington University
(October 2015)

“It is difficult to over-estimate the critical role Biden played in making the tragedy of the Iraq war possible.... In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show [in summer 2002] designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the America public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.”
– Middle East Studies professor Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco, Foreign Policy in Focus

“It is hard to name an infamously unjust feature of America’s criminal-justice system that Joe Biden didn’t help to bring about.”

The 1994 crime bill “did not generate mass incarceration.” – Joe Biden, campaigning in New Hampshire

“My greatest accomplishment is the 1994 crime bill.”
– Joe Biden, speaking to the National Sheriffs’ Association in 2007

“I don't care why someone is a malefactor in society. I don't care why someone is antisocial. I don't care why they've become a sociopath. We have an obligation to cordon them off from the rest of society.”
– Joe Biden, speaking on the Senate floor for what became the landmark 1994 crime law

“We must take back the streets. It doesn't matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents, it doesn't matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth. 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.”
– Joe Biden, speaking on the Senate floor

“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.”
– Joe Biden, interviewed by The People Paper in Delaware, September 1975
(Congressional Record, 10-2-75)

“It is hard to name an infamously unjust feature of America’s criminal-justice system that Joe Biden didn’t help to bring about.... As a high-ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden didn’t just craft the 1994 crime bill – he also ushered a variety of other draconian measures into law.... During the 1980s, Biden helped pass laws reinstating the federal death penalty, abolishing federal parole, increasing penalties for marijuana possession, expanding the use of civil asset forfeiture, and establishing a 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for possession of crack cocaine (used disproportionately by poor nonwhite people) and powder cocaine (used disproportionately by rich white people).”
New York magazine journalist Eric Levitz

“[Biden] earned sharp criticism from both the NAACP and ACLU in the 1970s for his aggressive opposition to school busing as a tool for achieving school desegregation.” In 1984, Biden “joined with South Carolina’s arch-racist Strom Thurmond to sponsor the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which eliminated parole for federal prisoners and limited the amount of time sentences could be reduced for good behavior. He and Thurmond joined hands to push 1986 and 1988 drug enforcement legislation that created the nefarious sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as other draconian measures that implicate him as one of the initiators of what became mass incarceration.”
– Adolph L. Reed Jr. and Cornel West, The Guardian

“One of my objectives, quite frankly, is to lock Willie Horton up in jail.” – Joe Biden, 1990

“Turnout from the Democratic Party’s base will be crucial to whether Trump can be defeated in November 2020. Biden’s record of dog-whistling is made to order for depressing enthusiasm and turnout from that base, especially among African Americans. Apt to be a big political liability among voters who normally vote Democratic in large numbers, Joe Biden’s historic dog-whistling for racism is an incontrovertible reality. Denial of that reality could help him win the party’s nomination – and then help Donald Trump get re-elected.”
– California Democratic Party Central Committee member Norman Solomon,

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