We thought Joe Biden couldn’t top — or bottom — the appalling gaffe of calling a 2010 White House bill signing ceremony “a big f__ing deal.” But he just did it. In Danville, Virginia this week, Biden told a largely black audience that Republicans were going to “put y’all in chains.” Now, of course, his staff is backpedaling furiously. He meant the banks. He was talking about banking de-regulation, they bleat frantically. Sure he was.
If any conservative, any Republican had made such a statement, he’d have been fired. Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz was fired in 1976 within hours of telling a dirty joke offensive to black Americans (and most others). Majority Leader Trent Lott lost his post when he joked about Strom Thurmond being elected president. Old Strom had been a segregationist candidate in 1948.
But Joe Biden gets a pass from the press. No one asks to see his birth certificate. That’s because he is daily showing us his dearth certificate. He shows us a dearth of common sense.
Biden tried to identify with one Southern audience by bragging that his state of Delaware had slaves!
So who was it, Mr. Vice President, that broke those slave chains? It was the Republicans. Republican Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and signed the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery. It was Republicans who passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution that abolished slavery, provided for equal protection for former slaves, and extended the suffrage to them.
Every vote cast against those constitutional amendments was cast by a Democrat. Every vote cast against every Civil Rights Act in the 19th century was cast by a Democrat.
Moving on up to the 20th century, every vote cast against the anti-lynching laws routinely introduced and passed by Republicans in the House was cast by a Democrat. Not until 1957 were we able to make lynching a federal crime — thanks to Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Republicans provided the Senate votes to break a filibuster against the great Civil Rights Act of 1964. Democrats claim Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan had a “Southern Strategy” to win the White House.
That’s odd. It was Democrats who had a Southern Strategy from 1791 to 1948.
One of the clues that Barack Obama had not been in the Senate long enough when he was elected president in 2008 is his choice of Joe Biden as a running mate. Mr. Obama had not hung around the Democratic cloakroom long enough to learn what all the other Senate Democrats knew — that Joe Biden is prone to make the most foolish statements in public. There’s a good reason why Joe Biden was a U.S. senator for 36 years and even his fellow Democrats never suggested making him their majority leader.
When Joe Biden went to Moscow in 1979, he told the Soviets the U.S. cared about arms control more than about human rights. As a result, we got no arms control, and thousands of Russians were thrown into the Gulag.
In 1988, Biden ran around the country running for president, giving an amazingly eloquent speech to Democratic audiences. He earned new respect from all hearers — until they learned that he had cribbed the entire speech from British Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock. Plagiarism got journalist Fareed Zakaria suspended. Plagiarism got Joe Biden promoted.
There’s a wonderful story about President Theodore Roosevelt going down in the first submarine. Reporters lined the pier. One said: “Please, Mr. President, don’t go down unless you take Vice President Fairbanks with you!” Now we know why we’ve never seen President Obama in a submarine.
Ken Blackwell, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.