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Solomon writes: "News outlets are reporting that you're determined to prevent your campaign from turning into an 'apology tour' this summer. But your only other option is a campaign of denial - sinking deeper into a quagmire of unsustainable pretense."

Former Vice President Joe Biden. (photo: Jessica Hill/AP)
Former Vice President Joe Biden. (photo: Jessica Hill/AP)


Why an "Apology Tour" Is Needed: An Open Letter to Joe Biden

By Norman Solomon, Reader Supported News

10 June 19

 

ear Mr. Biden:

News outlets are reporting that you’re determined to prevent your campaign from turning into an “apology tour” this summer. But your only other option is a campaign of denial – sinking deeper into a quagmire of unsustainable pretense.

After your flip-flop late last week that finally renounced your 40 years of support for the Hyde Amendment’s discriminatory limits on reproductive rights for low-income women, The New York Times reported that your campaign’s “larger concern” has been “the implications of Mr. Biden spending too much time reversing or expressing remorse for his past policy stances.”

Those implications are easy to understand. Your “past policy stances” have done so much harm – to so many people for so long – that if you start “expressing remorse,” there might be no end in sight.

“Before entering the race,” the Times reported, “Mr. Biden and his inner circle resolved that while he would have to take steps to assuage liberal reservations about his record, he could not afford to make the first few months of the campaign an extended apology tour.”

But an extended apology tour would be entirely appropriate. Pretending that you don’t have much to apologize for is not viable.

That’s because the Democratic Party of your political glory days is gone. At the grassroots, millions of attentive voters – the ones most likely to volunteer, to repeatedly donate money (albeit not in the large bundles you’re relying on), and to vote in all kinds of weather – are more informed and better networked than during the last decades of the 20th century.

The days are past when vast numbers of Democrats won’t notice that you’re uttering platitudes about the middle class and being touted as “Lunch Bucket Joe” after serving the interests of corporate giants as Wall Street Joe. And a whole lot of people will really care as they learn about your political backstory of not-so-subtle appeals to racism on such matters as busing for school desegregation and the draconian 1994 crime bill that fueled mass incarceration.

In the current campaign, your above-the-fray strategy probably won’t work. As the Iowa Poll released over the weekend reflects, support for you has started to recede: “About six weeks after he announced he would run, Biden’s support has fallen by a third,” The Hill reports. “Biden’s declining support came even before this week’s controversy over his flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment.”

While I’m an active Bernie Sanders supporter, I have to say that I don’t believe any of your Democratic opponents have nearly as much to apologize for as you do.

The more you deny the need to apologize, the more your denials seem off-kilter. Even while you were executing that Hyde flip-flop with a speech in Atlanta days ago, the Times pointed out that “Mr. Biden took pains to state explicitly that he was not repudiating his previous stance on abortion funding and would make ‘no apologies’ for it.”

For decades, you helped block federal funding for low-income women to have access to abortions. Then you affirmed the same position on Wednesday last week, only to do a 180 the next day after putting your finger to the political wind – and you make “no apologies”?

What might an apology tour look like? Here are five recommendations for acknowledging key realities and expressing remorse:

For such aspects of your political record, apologies are long overdue. They won’t bring back the dead, undo suffering, retroactively nourish those who’ve gone hungry, or repay the debts that millions of Americans continue to face. But unless you clear the air hovering over your campaign, its messages will be enveloped in an unforgettable stench of evasion.

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Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. 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.


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+22 # Moxa 2019-06-10 12:54
When someone has spent his whole career fostering policies that hurt people, one must view those policies not as momentary lapses in judgment (for which apologies would be appropriate), but as representing a general lapse in CHARACTER, which is a much more serious matter.

We have no evidence that Biden's character has undergone any major transformation- -he defends his past policies for the most part. Therefore, what could an apology be but a political ploy to re-ingratiate himself with offended voters?

Unless we want to elect a candidate whose sympathies are not with us average Americans, we should stay away from Joe Biden, apology or no.
 
 
+2 # Lgfoot 2019-06-10 20:17
Even if he claims to have seen the light his promises will fade when Wall Street, the drug companies, oil companies, military industrial complex and other corporate lobbies show up.
 
 
+5 # dquandle 2019-06-10 13:19
I would accept such an apology only if it were accompanied by a sufficient act of contrition. Biden's committing seppuku on the steps of the Capitol would be sufficient.
 
 
+6 # economagic 2019-06-10 13:43
Talking to the wall.
 
 
+22 # apotem 2019-06-10 14:11
Mr Biden's best course of action would be a speedy withdrawal from the race. This country needs a leader with a vision for 21st century, not a baggage of regressive ideas accumulated for lat 40 years
 
 
+16 # Farafalla 2019-06-10 14:18
I don't know how anyone can think Biden would make a great president, or at least one who can bring about a great rectification after the debacle that is Trump and his conservative allies. We will need at least eight years to begin to repair what conservatives and Trump have done. We don't need a conservative democrat.
 
 
+20 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-10 14:21
An apology tour is a lot to ask of someone who has been a politician on the wrong side for 40 years. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I'd be satisfied with a disappearing act. He could just move back to the State of DuPont, retire, and enjoy life. Leave politics to others who actually have some good and new ideas.
 
 
+2 # Lgfoot 2019-06-10 20:18
For once I agree who;heartedly with Odious.
 
 
+19 # susanlno 2019-06-10 14:32
Biden could utter all of Solomon's suggested apologies ten times over, and I still wouldn't believe him. I don't believe he seriously rejects the Hyde Amendment, either.
 
 
+22 # Observer 47 2019-06-10 14:35
My question is, why even bother with this? Biden is beyond redemption. We have someone in the White House now who is completely tone-deaf; why would we even want to contemplate someone else who has decades of sins to apologize for? Besides, the who premise of an apology is that the person extending it must be sincerely sorry. I very seriously doubt that Uncle Joe is actually remorseful for any of the transgressions Mr. Solomon lists.
 
 
+1 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-06-10 14:50
I apologize for thinking you are an asshole Mr. Biden. However, I still think you are an asshole.
 
 
+4 # tsyganka 2019-06-10 16:22
Yes, Biden's treatment of Dr. Hill (who had wanted to be anonymous) and his refusal to allow her testimony to be corroborated were atrocious.

Even more horrible than that is the less-mentioned fact that his actions as chair of the judicial committee resulted in the porn-addicted, sexual predator, reich-wing Uncle Thomas being on the SCOTUS. Thomas has been a detriment to our rights and freedoms for DECADES and will continue to be so. Even Fat Tony Scalia used to say that he (Tony) might be nuts, but that he wasn't Crazy like Thomas.

But for some reason, THAT takes a back seat to how Biden disrespectfully treated Dr. Hill. As a woman, I wouldn't mind kicking him in the fork for what he did to Dr. Hill - but as a citizen I think that his changing the nature of the SCOTUS is worse, as it affects all Americans long-term.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2019-06-10 17:04
The fact that it took Biden so long to figure out that abortion rights are important to the majority of today's Democrats doesn't speak well for his judgment on any important issue. He should just pack it in. I wouldn't believe an apology from him.
 
 
+1 # banichi 2019-06-10 23:06
Biden seems to be the latest iteration of the DNC and DCCC's Democratic Party establishment belief that they don't have to put forth any really progressive candidates - after all, they are blacklisting anyone who as a progressive is running as a Democrat against any seated Democrat, which makes their tactics with Biden and the large number of Presidential candidates transparently obvious. They are clinging to the notion that being someone other than Trump, even if it is faux progressive, or even center-right, most registered Democratic party voters will still vote for the candidate that has been given the Party nod as acceptable.

The Democratic Party establishment's MSM yes-dogs who have been trying to convince everyone who reads their articles that Biden is the front-runner, with little or no dissenting voices, are at best dragging a red herring across the race, to coin a phrase. The real question I find interesting is who they will suddenly find in front of the pack when it becomes clear that Uncle Joe is not going to be able to pull in the votes for the status quo candidate. Harris? O'Rourke? Harris was the anointed candidate of the DP establishment two years ago at the meeting Soros and Pelosi attended, supposedly polling ahead of Bernie Sanders..???

Harris has baggage of her own, on top of that. She just looks like another sudden Obama type, fresh and untainted.

Sanders and Warren? No Dem support for such a winning set of candidates. So who?
 
 
+3 # janie1893 2019-06-11 00:42
Mr. Biden is obviously a 20th Century leftover. He will not be accepted by young voters.
 
 
-1 # DongiC 2019-06-13 05:29
Joe is an unfortunate candidate haunted by his history. If he is the Democratic nominee, expect Trump to be relentless in exposing Joe's considerable weaknesses. They may well prove to be decisive.
 

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