Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me smiling broadly surrounded by text reading 'Fan-F@!#ing-Tastic!,' pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

So, Joe Biden has long had this reputation as an avuncular statesman, which I have never understood, because he's actually quite a fucking jerk. And he seems pretty eager to make that clear during this campaign.

[Content Note: Racism] Yesterday, Biden was waxing nostalgic for a bygone era of civility and invoked two segregationist (that is, white supremacist) senators, going on about how they could still work together to get shit done. Lots of people pushed back on that horrific garbage, including Senator Cory Booker, who issued a statement that read, in part:
Vice President Biden's relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone. I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together.

And frankly, I'm disappointed that he hasn't issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.
That is about as respectful a criticism as Biden should have expected to get from anyone, no less a Black senator. So how did Biden respond? By suggesting that Booker should apologize to him.

Biden, talking to reporters: Here's the deal: What I was talking about— I could not have disagreed with Jim Eastland more, and the segre— He was a segregationist. I ran for the United States Senate because I disagreed with the views of the segregationists; there were many of them in the Senate at the time.

As I led the Judiciary Committee, I was able to pa— What I was talking about was the Voting Rights Act. I was able to pass the Voting Rights Act, while— when I was a young senator, when he was still the chairman, we voted against him and beat him in the Voting Rights Act. And secondly, when I was chairman of the committee, I extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. Not 5 years. In addition to that, I made it very clear, by the end— By the last time I was on that committee, I was chairman of Foreign Relations, but I was a lead Democrat, we extended another 25 years, so we got 98 out of 98 votes for it.

The point I'm making is: We don't have to agree. You don't have to like the people, in terms of their views, but you just simply make the case and you beat them. You beat them. Without changing the system.

Male reporter, off-screen: How does it feel that your Democratic rivals are implicitly saying that you have issues talking about race?

Biden: They know better.

Female reporter, off-screen: Are you going to apologize, like Cory Booker has called for?

Biden: Apologize for what?

Female reporter: Cory Booker's called for it—

Biden: Cory should apologize. He knows better. There's not a racist bone in my body. I've been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period. [walks away]
So, to recap: Biden 'splained at all of what he meant, like we didn't know; bragged about his involvement with the Voting Rights Act; reminded us that he is intransigently committed to the notion that Republicans will still work with Democrats in good faith because he was apparently asleep during the Obama administration; then demanded that Booker apologize to him for suggesting he was being racially insensitive; and defended himself by employing a racist trope.

Biden is not a kind or sensitive or thoughtful person. He is a cavalier, mean, entitled asshole who sneers through his teeth that a Black senator should apologize to him for asking and expecting him to do better.

He should not be the Democratic nominee. We can do so much better. And should.

* * *

Speaking of people who shouldn't be the Democratic nominee, Senator Bernie Sanders responded to that Politico piece I linked yesterday, about Senator Elizabeth Warren "emerging as a consensus candidate," by tweeting: "The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly 'anybody but Bernie.' They know our progressive agenda of Medicare for All, breaking up big banks, taking on drug companies, and raising wages is the real threat to the billionaire class."

As I noted on Twitter: "Does Bernie Sanders really think he's the only Democratic candidate who supports universal healthcare, breaking up the banks, taking on drug companies, and a liveable wage? Because he ain't. This looks as foolish as it does egotistical."

Also: "Bernie could have pointed to that article and taken yet another victory lap about how he's pushed centrists left (which is a debatable contention, but that's never stopped him before). Instead he chose to lash out at Warren in a very dishonest way. That's very telling."

[CN: Misogyny] This is, of course, familiar territory:

What a fucking transparent joke he is. Maybe that's why people are switching to Warren — which is something he'll never consider. It couldn't possibly be that he is a very bad candidate with an outsized ego and a misogyny problem. It must be RIGGED!!!1!!1!

Honestly, the people who keep defending Sanders against charges of misogyny by pointing out that he hires women to work for him really need to get a fucking grip. First of all, a number of women who worked for him last time around won't do it this time, because of a pervasive culture of sexism in his 2016 campaign.

And secondly, a man who will hire women to work for him doesn't necessarily respect women as his equal. Look at how he treats his female opponents. LIKE SHIT. That is more telling regarding his attitudes toward women than whether he will employ women in subordinate roles.

* * *

[CN: Racism; police brutality] I feel like I've said this a lot at this point, but people jumping early and hard on Mayor Pete Buttigieg's bandwagon may want to give their candidate a second look — or even a first one. Because he is really not ready for primetime. And anyone who is paying attention to what people of color in South Bend are saying about their mayor, they'd know that already.

Wesley Lowery at the Washington Post reports on what happened after Buttigieg left the campaign trail to return home to South Bend after a white police officer killed a Black man:
A white police officer had shot and killed a black man early Sunday. Buttigieg canceled several days of campaign events — including an LGBTQ gala in New York — and rushed back to Indiana to "be with the South Bend community," in the words of a campaign spokesman.

Instead of showcasing But­tigieg's ability to lead through a crisis, however, the shooting is exposing what has long been considered an Achilles' heel of his candidacy: his frosty relationship with South Bend's black residents. Since arriving on Sunday, Buttigieg has alienated the family of the dead man, Eric Logan, 54, skipped a vigil at the scene of the shooting, and sought advice from outsiders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.

...The shooting has handed But­tigieg the first significant challenge of his charmed campaign. To allies, his decision to leave the campaign trail and then hold two days of private meetings signals deliberate, considerate leadership. But to detractors, including many of South Bend's black activists, his actions show that he still doesn't get it.

"How's he handling it?" said Oliver Davis, the longest-serving black member of the South Bend Common Council. "Well, he talked to the media before the family. He skipped the family vigil, full of black residents. And then he then gave a speech to the police. So, how do you think that went over?"
Buttigieg is traveling around the country bragging about how he has "transformed" South Bend, and his supporters reiterate that line as proof of the laudable executive experience he has that qualifies him for the presidency. And surely there are parts of South Bend that have been successfully gentrified. The part that gets left out, noted by Lowery: "40 percent of black residents here live below the poverty line."

For perspective: That is double the national average (20%) of Black Americans living in poverty. It is significantly higher than the Indiana state average of 24%.

* * *

The New York Times asked 21 Democratic candidates the same 18 questions, and then compiled all their answers here. It's pretty interesting (not always in a good way).

I've really tried to ignore author Marianne Williamson's vanity run, but I feel it's important to share that she is an anti-vaxxer who justifies her beliefs by comparing not vaccinating one's children to being pro-choice, and that it some hot bullshit.

Senator Cory Booker has announced that, if elected president, he would "immediately start the clemency process for more than 17,000 individuals who are there due to the failed War on Drugs." You can read his "Restoring Justice" plan here.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has reintroduced her Refund Equality Act with 39 other senators to right the historical wrong of disallowing legally married same-sex couples to jointly file their taxes.

Senator Kamala Harris is talking about the intersecting scandals of underpaying educators and the housing crisis: "Julie, a teacher in Iowa, spends over 40% of her pay on rent. In America, you should be able to serve your community without worrying about high rent. As president, I'll give teachers like Julie a raise & give relief to folks struggling with rising rents."

Rep. Tim Ryan rightfully identifies the Trump Regime's efforts to lower their responsibility to detained children as "state-sanctioned child abuse": "'Trump admin argued [it's] not required to give soap, toothbrushes to children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border and can have them sleep on concrete floors in frigid, overcrowded cells.' This is state-sanctioned child abuse. But some want to argue about semantics. Shameful."

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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