Thursday, August 29, 2019

Truest statement of the week II

Joe Biden’s political career is an exemplar of the price the Democratic Party paid as the Right slid into the dark reaches of the political spectrum.
As overt racism faded in polite society after the 1960s, those committed to beating back the advance of civil rights found proxy issues to dog whistle a racist tune: crime, drugs, welfare and busing. They found a willing partner in a 30-year-old freshman senator: Biden.
Biden hailed from Delaware, whose culture and borders straddled the Mason-Dixon line and whose political and economic life was dominated for decades by the Du Pont family that had helped jumpstart the rebellion against the New Deal. (As Biden would later assure a Republican Rotary Club in South Carolina in advance of his 2008 presidential run, Delaware, a slave state, had only “fought beside the North. … because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South.”)
As conflict over court-ordered busing roiled his home state, Biden led a crusade against the civil rights measure, later boasting that he made it politically acceptable for other liberals to oppose it. He built alliances with Republican racists like Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.) and Sen. Strom Thurmond (S.C.), the record-holder for longest filibuster in history, a 24-hour attempt to stall the Civil Rights Act of 1957. During the Reagan administration, Biden, Helms and Thurmond would help usher in an era of mass incarceration, working together to establish racist crack cocaine sentencing guidelines and harsh mandatory minimum drug sentences.
Biden also led the way on budget-slashing: In 1984, with Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Nancy Kassebaum (Kan.), Biden put forward a budget “freeze” that cut deficits by $100 billion more than Reagan proposed and eliminated scheduled increases to Social Security and Medicare. Biden also ranked among the sizable number of Democrats who gave their stamp of approval to signature Reagan victories like increased military spending, privatization and lower taxes for the rich.

-- Branko Maretic, "Joe Biden and the Disastrous History of Bipartisanship:  Biden wants to bring the parties together. But for 50 years, that's meant the Right winning every time" (IN THESE TIMES).

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