Racist comments? Accusations of sexual harassment? Corruption? Lying? Incompetence? Which candidate did they vote for, again?
There’s nothing unusual about choosing the lesser of two evils in politics. For many voters, that’s an uncomfortable choice they’re forced to make almost every election. No candidate is perfect and it’s certainly easy to understand why some voters dislike or even hate President Trump for whatever reason.
This cycle those voters were free to choose Joe Biden instead, also for whatever reason.
What is unusual, however, is the willful lack of self awareness on full display about who Biden actually is and his lengthy, troubling record. Daily, we’re treated to a panoply of claims about the horror that is Trump: He’s a racist, a misogynist, a sexual assaulter, the most corrupt and incompetent President in history, a serial liar and a threat to democracy itself.
Writing for The Nation this week, Sasha Abramsky, summed up this point of view nicely. “His authoritarian presence on the political stage, the cancer that he represents on the American body politic, must be obliterated, leaving absolutely no possibility of a second act.” Ms. Abramsky then insisted Trump must be prosecuted for unspecified crimes.
Meanwhile, the same media set and social media crew is conveniently ignoring — forgetting, downplaying, hiding? — Biden’s extensive record, the majority of which fails to align with the very values they are espousing.
You don’t need to take my word for any of it. Biden’s own Vice Presidential pick, Kamala Harris, publicly accused him of racism and sexual assault during the primary campaign.
In a debate in June 2019, Harris said to Biden, “I do not believe you are a racist,” but then went on to describe how she was personally hurt by Biden’s support of two senators, James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, who “built their reputations and careers on segregation and race.”
Ms. Harris then tore into Biden over his opposition to Federally-mandated integration efforts in the 1970s. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
Then-Senator Harris was so enamored of this line of attack, she even Tweeted a picture of herself as a little girl after the debate.
Biden’s overall behavior in the 1970’s wasn’t exactly woke. On the Senate floor, he railed against the Federal government’s involvement in integration issues. “Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point.”
Nor are these the only eyebrow raising comments Biden has made regarding race relations and other races in general. This includes casual racism like “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking!” or “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” to more overt claims of “predators” stalking the streets.
Biden has also had his share of trouble with women. In addition to a long history of inappropriately touching women and even young girls, well documented in dozens if not hundreds of photographs and videos, he was publicly accused of sexual assault by Tara Reade, a former staffer in his Senate office in the 1990s.
In a March 2020 interview, Reade claimed Biden pushed her against a wall, kissed her, put his hand under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. She told National Public radio, “His hands went underneath my clothing and he was touching me in my private areas and without my consent.”
There were other women who have spoken out as well. You know who believes them? Biden’s own running mate. “I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Ms. Harris said.
But that’s not all: Biden has frequently demonstrated a less than stellar relationship with the truth, lying about matters both big and small. On more than one occasion, he claimed his wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver.
“My wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons.”
The only problem with the claim: There’s no evidence it’s true and the man was never charged. Nor is this an isolated incident. He even said he was arrested in South Africa on a visit to Nelson Mandela. “I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see (Nelson Mandela) on Robbens Island.”
It didn’t happen, like so much of what he’s said over the years.
Then there are the myriad claims of corruption and incompetence.
His son, Hunter, received approximately $1 million per year from Burisma while Biden was in charge of corruption in the Ukraine. According to the Treasury Department, $3.5 million dollars was wired from a Russian oligarch. China Energy Company, Ltd. appears to have paid Biden’s family $10 million. Hunter wanted a $10 million-per-year “fee” from one of his Chinese business partners.
The list goes on.
In fact, Biden might be the only incoming President in the modern era that is already a potential subject of a Special Counsel investigation. In October, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed US Attorney John Durham as a Special Counsel looking into the origins of the infamous Russia investigation run by the Obama-Biden administration. While Biden himself hasn’t been publicly named a target of the probe, we do know that he participated in Oval Office meetings concerning the investigation and was certainly involved at some level.
Corruption and incompetence: His own pick for Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, had this to say about the Obama-Biden Administration’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic, “It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history…It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck.”
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense in the Obama-Biden Administration has detailed Biden’s foreign policy failures, saying he’s been wrong on every major foreign policy decision. He adde some additional details:
“The vice president, when he was a Senator — a very new Senator — voted against the aid package for South Vietnam, and that was part of the deal when we pulled out of South Vietnam to try and help them survive. He said that when the Shah fell in Iran in 1979 that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran. He opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense build-up. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on. He voted against the first Gulf War. So on a number of these major issues, I just frankly, over a long period of time, felt that he had been wrong.”
What are we to make of all this?
I don’t bring these details up to shame people for voting for Biden or to suggest that Biden and Trump are equivalent. They’re self-evidently very different people and politicians. Everyone was free to make a choice based on their own criteria, even if they just like a candidate’s hairstyle.
It’s not up to me to judge.
At the same time, however, Trump and his voters are regularly judged, harshly, and Biden isn’t exactly a fresh, promising face on the political scene like Barack Obama was in 2008. He has a long, at times incredibly troubling, record and this record includes many of the same things Trump is regularly lambasted for as the worst possible President to ever occupy the office.
A little self awareness would be nice. What’s the old adage about people that live in glass houses?