Who could possibly turn a statement about the value of working together in a bipartisan way into a gaffe – a major one at that?
The answer? Joe Biden.
Excerpted from Katey Glueck’s article for the New York Times:
Mr. Biden, speaking at a fund-raiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, stressed the need to “be able to reach consensus under our system,” and cast his decades in the Senate as a time of relative comity.
At the event, Mr. Biden noted that he served with the late Senators James O. Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both Democrats who were staunch opponents of desegregation. Mr. Eastland was the powerful chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Mr. Biden entered the chamber in 1973.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Mr. Biden, 76, slipping briefly into a Southern accent, according to a pool report from the fund-raiser. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”
He called Mr. Talmadge “one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys.”
“Well guess what?” Mr. Biden continued. “At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Let’s think about this.
Joe Biden is vying for the Democrat presidential nomination. That effort certainly necessitates gaining support from Black voters, the vast majority of whom vote Democrat and without whom Democrats cannot win national elections.
So, while trying to point out that he can work with people he disagrees with, Biden specifically cites two rabid segregationists, panders to his audience with a faux-southern accent, and invokes use of the term “boy”.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering how sickeningly racist these people really were, read this excerpt from a contemporaneous news article of eastland’s reaction to a Black-organized bus boycott, which was tweeted by civil rights activist Shaun King (click on the article to see a larger version):
This is who Biden cites as a guy he was able to work with?????? Someone he thought of as civil??????????
OK, suppose you’re a Black voter and a lifelong Democrat (maybe you are). How do you react to this? Do you think Joe Biden’s capacity for being civil with someone like james eastland is a positive attribute?
What fills that space inside the top of his head, anyway?
Oh, one other thing: the Times article refers to talmadge and eastland as “two Southern segregationist senators”.
It neglects to mention that they were both Democrats.
Why do you suppose?