Progressive Alert

Bernie and Biden

Judging by the results of Super Tuesday, Joe Biden may be on his way to crushing it at the Democratic convention. That’s right, Progressives, Joe Biden, the mastermind behind the Democratic party’s rightward turn, its renunciation of New Deal reforms, and its embrace of the billionaire class vying to give us four years of Trump-light.

Oh, and one other inconvenient fact that should make Progressives shake in their boots — Joe’s dependence on big Democratic money that regularly buys elections for Democratic hopefuls. Note also his hypocrisy — having one of his gophers announce on September 26, 2019 that… since the beginning of this campaign, Biden for President has not and will not welcome the help of super PACs.” (T.J. Ducklo, 9/26/2019) Less than a month later, Joe’s resolve wavered and died — those who are dedicated to defeating Donald Trump are organizing in every way permitted by current law to bring an end to his disastrous presidency.” (Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, 10/24/2019). Result: Biden super PACS sprung up (like Unite the Country) to monetize Joe’s campaign.

To be fair, Bernie also has super PACS in his corner — Nurses’ Union PAC and a coalition of Progressive organizations representing over two million working class people of color. Grass roots organizing not bundling cash being the objective of Bernie’s PACS.

 Particularly troubling in light of Joe’s woeful record of slamming the working class and people of color is the endorsement of Rep. James Clyburn — “I know Joe.  We know Joe … But most importantly, Joe knows us.” If Representative Clyburn’s “us” refers to the African American community, his endorsement is baffling. As a result of Joe’s authorship of President Clinton’s catastrophic crime bill (Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act), the U.S. incarceration rate outstrips that of every other country in the world. Maybe Rep. Clyburn is unaware that people of color are two-thirds of the population in federal lockups. Or maybe he doesn’t care. Joe himself was pretty flippant about his successful push for the bill ‘s passage joking “A wag in the newspaper recently wrote something to the effect that Biden has made it a death penalty offense for everything except jaywalking.” Recently, Joe has tried to run away from his handiwork denying that he had any part in the bill’s creation and passage. Not true says former Senate majority leader and fellow neo-liberal, George Mitchell who touted Joe as “the one person most responsible for passage of this [the crime] bill… the most effective legislator in the Senate, bar none.”  

Bernie Sander’s reaction to the crime bill at the time — “What do we have to do, put half the country behind bars?” Sadly, as it turned out, Sanders went on to vote for the bill to preserve the section intended to reduce violence against women. When it turned out that the Violence Against Women act may have actually increased the epidemic of violence, Sanders admitted his mistake — “I was not happy I voted for a terrible bill.” Joe on the other hand couldn’t have been prouder often referring to the “Biden Crime Law” as being responsible for “restor[ing] American cities.”

 There’s more, lots more —Joe’s mighty contribution to the passage of NAFTA. The toll: over 700,000 manufacturing jobs lost, the beginning of an era of low wages, declining union clout, and skyrocketing corporate profits. Sanders’ take on NAFTA — “a bad deal for American workers.”

Some of Joe’s other greatest hits. His successful campaign to pass a banker-friendly bankruptcy “reform” bill which eliminated bankruptcy protection for students and curtailed it for poor and working class Americans, his history of opposing desegregation (“a liberal train wreck”), his opposition to abortion, and his attacks on the social safety net, at one time calling on Congress to “require all welfare recipients to sign a contract in which they agree to work in exchange for their benefits,” Remember how horrified Progressive were when twenty-five years later President Trump took Biden’s advice?

Coming from Senate campaigns financed by millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street, in the banking sector and super PACS, is it any wonder that Biden put his political weight behind ending Glass-Steagall, the only bulwark against the predatory instincts of the banks. Bernie wasn’t on board and predicted that the end of Glass-Steagall would lead to “more mega-mergers” and the “further concentration of economic power in this country.”  

Progressives, Joe is not your guy. Throughout his long political career Joe’s core “values” as a politician and leader have been to do the bidding of the oligarchs — shrinking the size of government and the social safety net, rolling back protections against violations of civil rights and liberties, cutting key regulations to protect land, air, and water, and rolling back other key reforms of the New Deal and Great Society.

Biden’s ten wins in Super Tuesday primaries display the lengths to which heavyweight Democrats will go to rob Bernie of his shot at the Oval Office. After Rep. Clyburn’s powerful, endorsement in South Carolina (he also endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016), mirabile dictu, on the eve of Super Tuesday two Democratic candidates, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg announced they were ending their campaigns and endorsed Biden.

The dream dies slowly as Biden’s star rises: a healthcare system that takes care of everyone, higher education opportunities that don’t burden young people with lifelong debt, real climate change (not the Obama-Biden reliance on “clean coal as a path to solar and wind power), free day care to give young parents one less thing to worry about and a radical lessening of the inequality that haunts the lives and prospects of too many Americans.

What does Biden offer — neo-liberal economics, austerity and a market economy, continuation of the empire’s focus on war, violence and regime change, a rapidly evolving climate catastrophe, and an out-of-control security and surveillance state.

Sounds just ducky, doesn’t it? Want to know the gory details of Biden’s decades-long pandering to the rich and powerful. Read or reread SA’s earlier articles on a failed leader: On October 22, 2018, Joe Biden: The Kind of Leader the U.S. Doesn’t Need and on April 18, 2019, Joe Biden: Time to Exit Stage Right


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