Friday Reads: Just Say Hell, No to Joe (Don’t give me no lies and keep your hands to yourself)Posted: April 26, 2019
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Well we knew this was coming but it doesn’t make the circumstances any better. Joe Biden announced he and Bernie would be skedaddling together for the Democratic Nomination for POTUS, By Gum, for the benefit of all white men every where! Women and People of Color should start swooning! It’s the No “real” Apologies Tour!!
He’s got a long list of explaining and apologizing to do and so far, he’s fucked up the very first one by telling Anita Hill that he regretted what she had to endure. He failed to mention his role, control and actions that created the circumstances of “what” she had to endure. He absolutely showed us the meddle of a man in that one action and it doesn’t get any better. Not his records today. Not his actions yesterday.
Well to that and his campaign I say a big Oh, Hell, No! To Joe. We see what you’re doing right down to the timing of this contact with Professor Hill. It’s a little too little and a lot too late!
As I’ve watched the documentaries, read articles, and consumed copious amounts of media around the definitive moment in American history, I’ve been forced to concede that a man that I, on more than one occasion, have referenced as “Uncle Joe,” a man who I actually like, for the record, was a very clear culprit in the character assassination of the attorney turned professor.
This week former Vice President Joe Biden and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the time of the Thomas hearings admitted such to a crowd in New York City, saying:
“We knew a lot less about the extent of harassment back then, over 30 years ago. She paid a terrible price, she was abused for the hearing. She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked. I wish I could have done something. To this day I regret I couldn’t come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved, given the courage she showed by reaching out to us.”
It’s not the first time Biden has expressed these sentiments. In fact, the 76-year-old has been vocalizing regret over his scarlet letter “A” —for Anita— for quite some time now. But as the 2020 democratic field gets increasingly more crowded, and rumors of a run from the former Delaware senator continue to swirl, people are, more and more, looking to the long-time politician to answer for this one particular transgression. In the nearly 30 years since the event, Hill has said that she never did receive a formal apology from the former lawmaker, and it’s indeed high time. But even if that happened, what does that mean for a Biden candidacy?
As a Black woman who has empathized with Hill since I was five years old (I mean — my dad made it impossible not to), Biden’s handling of her case makes me question his fitness for the job. And it’s not because of what went down three decades ago — he’s done a lot of good since then. My issue stems from the fact that Biden often connects his apologies to something along the lines of “It was a different time” or “She deserved better” or my favorite, “I wish I could have done more.”
It’s funny. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” is another phrase my dad commonly used, and one that I often reflect on when I hear sound bites from Biden’s sometimes-draining apology tour. Mainly because I don’t want a President who wishes they could have done more. I rather one who takes it on the nose and admits they could have done more, but didn’t. One who acknowledges faults, without caveats. And one who will protect the interests of Black women, not because we need a handout, or even that “we exhibit courage” — that’s a given — but because we’re the most loyal voting block in the Democratic party and we deserve at least that..
From Vanity Fair and Alison Durkee. “ANITA HILL EVISCERATES JOE BIDEN’S ”APOLOGY” IN SCATHING INTERVIEW”.
For Hill, though, the one-on-one with Biden was apparently too little, too late. Soon after news of their conversation broke, The New York Times published Hill’s own account of their discussion, which she said left her feeling ”deeply unsatisfied” and could not characterize as a full apology. “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” Hill told the Times, adding that she would not be supporting Biden’s candidacy. Biden “needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw,” she said.
This will be only one of a hell of a long list of things he must address and address fully.
His record reads like that of an old school Conservative Republican despite how much he likes to call himself a liberal right now. BB posted this Harper‘s Magazine Op Ed but did not quote from it. Let me do that. “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy” from the keyboard of Andrew Cockburn.
It fell to Biden to highlight some redeeming qualities when called on, inevitably, to deliver Thurmond’s eulogy following the latter’s death in 2003 at the age of one hundred. Biden reminisced with affection about the unlikely friendship between the deceased and himself. Despite having arrived at the Senate at age twenty-nine “emboldened, angered, and outraged about the treatment of African Americans in this country,” he said, he nevertheless found common cause on important issues with the late senator from South Carolina, who had been wont to describe civil-rights activists as “red pawns and publicity seekers.”
One such issue, as Branko Marcetic has pitilessly chronicled in Jacobin, was a shared opposition to federally mandated busing in the effort to integrate schools, an opposition Biden predicted would be ultimately adopted by liberal holdouts. “The black community justifiably is jittery,” Biden admitted to the Washington Post in 1975 with regard to his position. “I’ve made it—if not respectable—I’ve made it reasonable for longstanding liberals to begin to raise the questions I’ve been the first to raise in the liberal community here on the [Senate] floor.”
Biden was responding to criticism of legislation he had introduced that effectively barred the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from compelling communities to bus pupils using federal funds. This amendment was meant to be an alternative to a more extreme proposal put forward by a friend of Biden’s, hall-of-fame racist Jesse Helms (Biden had initially supported Helms’s version). Nevertheless, the Washington Post described Biden’s amendment as “denying the possibility for equal educational opportunities to minority youngsters trapped in ill-equipped inner-city schools.” Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, then the sole African-American senator, called Biden’s measure “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.”
By the 1980s, Biden had begun to see political gold in the harsh antidrug legislation that had been pioneered by drug warriors such as Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, and would ultimately lead to the age of mass incarceration for black Americans. One of his Senate staffers at the time recalls him remarking, “Whenever people hear the words ‘drugs’ and ‘crime,’ I want them to think ‘Joe Biden.’” Insisting on anonymity, this former staffer recollected how Biden’s team “had to think up excuses for new hearings on drugs and crime every week—any connection, no matter how remote. He wanted cops at every public meeting—you’d have thought he was running for chief of police.”
The ensuing legislation might also have brought to voters’ minds the name of the venerable Thurmond, Biden’s partner in this effort. Together, the pair sponsored the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which, among other repressive measures, abolished parole for federal prisoners and cut the amount of time by which sentences could be reduced for good behavior. The bipartisan duo also joined hands to cheerlead the passage of the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act and its 1988 follow-on, which cumulatively introduced mandatory sentences for drug possession. Biden later took pride in reminding audiences that “through the leadership of Senator Thurmond, and myself, and others,” Congress had passed a law mandating a five-year sentence, with no parole, for anyone caught with a piece of crack cocaine “no bigger than [a] quarter.” That is, they created the infamous disparity in penalties between those caught with powder cocaine (white people) and those carrying crack (black people). Biden also unblushingly cited his and Thurmond’s leading role in enacting laws allowing for the execution of drug dealers convicted of homicide, and expanding the practice of civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement’s plunder of property belonging to people suspected of crimes, even if they are neither charged nor convicted.
Despite pleas from the NAACP and the ACLU, the 1990s brought no relief from Biden’s crime crusade. He vied with the first Bush Administration to introduce ever more draconian laws, including one proposing to expand the number of offenses for which the death penalty would be permitted to fifty-one. Bill Clinton quickly became a reliable ally upon his 1992 election, and Biden encouraged him to “maintain crime as a Democratic initiative” with suitably tough legislation. The ensuing 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed with enthusiastic administration pressure, would consign millions of black Americans to a life behind bars.
In subsequent years, as his crime legislation, particularly on mandatory sentences, attracted efforts at reform, Biden began expressing a certain remorse. “I am part of the problem that I have been trying to solve since then, because I think the disparity [between crack and powder cocaine sentences] is way out of line,” he declared at a Senate hearing in 2008. However, there is little indication that his words were matched by actions, especially after he moved to the vice presidency the following year. The executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Eric Sterling, who worked on the original legislation in the House as a congressional counsel, told me, “During the eight years he was vice president, I never saw him take a leadership role in the area of drug policy, never saw him get out in front on the issue like he did on same-sex marriage, for example. Biden could have taken a stronger line [with Obama] privately or publicly, and he did not.”
Amber Phillips of WAPO expands on the notion that Biden will have a “woman problem”. I know I’m not alone in saying yes he will. I’m one of the women that has had a problem with him for a very damn long time. I found Obama’s choice specious to say the least.
When given the chance to apologize or explain some of his actions, Biden has recently stumbled. None of this is to say that Biden cannot deftly navigate or overcome these potential pitfalls. But in 2020, there are more layers of Biden’s record with women for voters to consider than there were in his past two presidential campaigns.
The Cut, which published an essay by his original accuser, Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores, is keeping a running list of his accusers, which is a Google search away for anyone who cares to look it up. The accusers range from Flores, who says Biden came up behind her and kissed the back of her head, to D.J. Hill, who said he rested his hand on her shoulder, then started to move it down her lower back.
Biden tried to address their concerns by saying he takes them seriously, but he didn’t apologize. Then he made a joke about it the first time he was out in public. The message Biden seemed to broadcast, I wrote: These women are making a big deal out of nothing.
Biden’s issues go deeper than that. His original position on women’s choice issues was a total patriarchal stinker. The National Review calls it to the right of most Republicans.
- Biden once said Roe v. Wade went “too far” and voted in 1982 for an amendment to allow states to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision; he changed his mind and voted against the same bill in 1983.
- Biden repeatedly voted for the ban on partial-birth abortion, a particular late-term abortion procedure in which a child’s body is mostly delivered breech before her skull is punctured and crushed. “It did not, as I would have liked, ban all post-viability abortions,” Biden said of the ban in 1997. “I was and still am concerned that in banning only partial-birth abortions, we do not go far enough.”
- Biden has repeatedly voted for the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients. “I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote to a constituent in 1994. “As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions.”
There is no such damn thing as these freaking procedures called “partial birth” or whatever they want to describe. After viability, it’s a successful or unsuccessful delivery and most fetal death at that point is due to severe malformity. Just ask a damn board certified OB/GYN like my daughter for example.
I have no idea why any woman wants to get on board with any of this unless they are, in fact, a right wing Republican. Oh, and about making a young woman–whose name you don’t even speak–the prop in your introduction … THIS from Heather Heyer’s mom. Yup, she had a name. SHE HAD A NAME!!!
What exactly does it say about Biden that he couldn’t speak her name or talk to her mother to see if using her memory would be alright for his big fucking centerpiece of a “White Male Savior” propaganda?
What does it fucking say to us all?
Oh, and thank you @HelenStickler AGAIN! for the artwork for all of us that want something a helluva lot better than a Biden or a Bernie or a Beto or, well, hell just go down the list.
We need to stop a lot of things besides Trump. Pence is behind him. McConnell is right there stacking the courts for who ever. We need the best and we need a fighter for all of us! I’ve been sending donations to all the women right now and Julian Castro because I want to hear some ideas that aren’t as stale as the front runners. I don’t want to fight for abortion rights with a Democratic President. Believe me, it’s bad enough with one attack our rights down here in Louisiana. Let’s not settle for “it could be worse” because that’s really, really really, an argument to elect some one. Nor is, well, we think he could beat Trump if there’s a high enough turnout. I can’t imagine Joe turning out the largest parts of the Democratic base and I’m tired of pandering to white men.
That’s my screed for today.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?