Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Shuffleboard Lane

Happy Juneteenth, but this is too much:
Joseph R. Biden Jr., defending himself on Tuesday night against suggestions that he is too “old fashioned” for today’s Democratic Party, invoked two Southern segregationist senators by name as he fondly recalled the “civility” of the Senate in the 1970s and 1980s....
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Mr. Biden said, 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.’”
This is not a good way to defend yourself against suggestions that you are too old-fashioned for today's Democratic party. It suggests you're too old-fashioned to have been alive in 1966, when 14-year-old Janis Ian's song "Society's Child"  was released ("I could understand your tears and your shame—she calls you 'boy' instead of  your name").

It was very nice for Eastland that people like Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale were willing to be friends with him in the 1970s, but you don't have to advertise how nice it was to be "civil" with white supremacists now, or in general act, as Biden seems to be doing, as if you're ready to do anything to get the votes of white supremacists who will never again consider voting for a Democrat while alienating the black folk at the core of our 21st-century multicultural party. They'll start to believe you really prefer Eastland to them, and I'm afraid I'm thinking that way myself. I'm starting to think not only that I don't care for Biden, at least as a politician, but, worse, that he can't win against Trump because he's throwing away the votes he must have to do it, for nothing. He's looking like a bad politician.

I don't understand what's going on with Biden at all, whether he's as arrogant about his frontrunner status as they used to (wrongly) say Hillary Clinton was, or whether he's deliberately or unconsciously sabotaging himself, or getting as dopey as the Onion version of himself, but his failure to submit to a Maddow interview and refusal to show up in California for the state Democratic convention and MoveOn forum on the weekend of May 31 and in Iowa for the Hall of Fame Dinner on June 8 suggest he doesn't even know he's campaigning. Today, when The New York Times has a huge interactive feature on Democratic candidates answering a set of 18 questions ranging from "Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?" to "What is your comfort food on the campaign trail?" and just one out of the 22 failed to respond—Joe Biden. It may be that he really doesn't want to win. Here's more from Steve M.

Meanwhile Senator Bernard Sanders, apparently irritated at all the attention Biden's getting, makes sure we know he's even worse at this game than he was in 2016, apparently following the latest misogynist conspiracy theory from David Sirota:

We need to lose these old dudes fast, is all I can say. Take them on a cruise or something. Tell them they're running against each other in the shuffleboard lane.

Update 16 December: This old piece is getting a lot of traffic for some reason, and I feel I should tack on a note to acknowledge that Biden absolutely hasn't destroyed himself with older black voters at least, so far, and it's possible I read this all wrong.

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