Listen: Joe Biden, Democratic Party, Rebecca Trace discussed on Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan
"Let's see if my guest today agrees with me, she's one of my favorite writers right now. She's right for large for New York magazine and the cut and a contributing editor at L magazine. She's the author of among other books, good and mad the revolutionary power of women's anger, and she's also written an essay, which I urge you to read off. Do you finish listening to this show headlined, Joe Biden, isn't the answer? Rebecca trace to joins me now, Rebecca, thanks for being deconstructed. Thank you so much for having me in your New York magazine essay from Mont, which I loved on Biden. You say he's the champion, the protector of quote that guy in the diner, you say he himself is that guy who is that guy that guy is this sort of prototypical imagined voter and often. In fact, the politician the Democratic Party in my view, turn to very soon after the transformative and disruptive social movements of the mid to late twentieth, century. So the. The women's movement. The civil rights movement, the gay rights movement after which there was a kind of partisan realignment in which a Democratic Party suddenly found itself in the in the nineteen seventies and moving into what was going to become the Reagan revolution is the party that was defending civil rights, women's rights, these newly one liberties for people who historically had been very marginalized, and the party itself, which was still run by white men. Imagined the American voter to be the white, man. You know in the diner. Now, I think I don't know if the diners were as hot in the nineteen seventies is they are now but Biden is the he is. He's that guy he's the guy who is so from millier, he is the middle of the road. I take the train Amtrak Delaware folk see Aw shucks, not perfect not polish. Not Ivy league. Not a woman, not a person of color, not gate, rightly he's, he's all the things that revert back to who. Historically, had always had the grip on power and the reassurance that, that kind of person might still have the grip on power and it's not just I'm not talking about just the fact that he's a white guy. I want to be really clear about that, right? He was awake guy who ran in the early. Seventies for his Senate seat on civil rights platform, and then made a turn on busing and desegregation efforts. Right. Anti busing right became anti busing he had run on a on a bussing platform. But then when he was met, you know, when, when we had these transformative moments, I think movements, we often we often talk about the because they are now decades in the past. I think we forget, how disruptive they were to the fabric of daily life and to and to politics. But there was there was pushed back to them. Right. That pushback in part fuels Reagan and the rise of the right in the nineteen eighties. And so when Joe Biden gets into office, he faces pushback from any of his white constituents in Delaware, and he turns on bussing and actually in his public turn on busing he gives cover. Over two other white Democrats, who then also turn on bussing, and ultimately the busing legislation is defeated. So that's one example. He is also from the beginning antiabortion. He gets sworn into office weeks before rove weight is decided in nineteen seventy three and in one thousand nine seventy six the Hyde amendment legislative writer that, that prohibits, the use of federal insurance programs to pay for abortions, thereby making abortion inaccessible to low income women, Joe Biden votes for it, even in his earliest incarnations which didn't have exceptions for life, and health of the mother and rape, and incest, that's where he is on abortion in the beginning. You took about disruptive periods. We are in a pretty disruptive period right now, I think it's fair to say you say in your piece to bide missing is the best and safest candidate to get it out of this perilous, and scary political period. And then you add, but the irony is so much of what is terrifying? Dangerous about this time are in fact problems that can be laid at the feet of Joe Biden himself. And the guys we've regularly been. This assured a Democrats only on cer- some might say, that's a bit unfair. Are you saying? It's Joe Biden's fault. What I'm saying is co failure, the failure of the party that he's been senior within in one capacity or another as a Senator. And then as vice president. Has not aggressively defended the very freedoms that were one in that disruptive period. Right. So if you look at everything from the, the Voting Rights Act row, there are a whole set of actual changes that happened that are precisely what made everybody so uncomfortable, right? New kinds of freedoms protections opportunities for kinds of people who'd been denied them in the past. So the Democratic Party to my mind has not vociferiously energetically defended those wins. They've been in retreat from them they behave defensively. Joe Biden is emblematic of that. Is it Joe Biden's fault? No. But the fact, for example, that he did vote for hide and support it for a long time. And as recently as two thousand seven by the way was was still saying that he didn't he. Yes, he'd gotten better on abortion, but still sort of it in this paternalistic way. He just wants to help young women not have to make hard decisions or whatever he's also the guy who oversaw the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. He is the man who. Is in charge of the judiciary committee. He had to be pressed and essentially have his hand force in order to let a hill testify to begin with, that she had been sexually harassed from coming with three other women who are willing to come forward to backup need a hill. He did not let them testify, and Clarence Thomas. Got confirmed as ING about politics and people to recognize this. I think we live in sending clay JR. But actually people are very generous. I've noticed over the Oviously went to political journalism on both sides of the Atlantic on apology gets you call it fall a genuine apology gets. You note that genuine apologies that you somehow tends to jail even bothered to do that. We don't take any to hill. The guy had twenty ODA's Molin twenty twenty seven years, twenty seven okay. I'm gonna run for president between he did run for president will come to that in a moment. And yet, he never doesn't uphold you in on the eve of his candidacy, he rings up and he still doesn't apologize apology. He doesn't follow this stand even after she has come out and said, actually that's not. It doesn't do it for me. He then within days of Anita hill, publicly saying, this is not this has miraculously hasn't won me over. He goes in public and says, I don't think I treated her very badly, which is wrong if incorrect. It is factually incorrect. He also speaks about those hearings as he speaks about so much I noticed he just made comments about the Hyde amendment that are similar. He speaks in a passive sense. I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions. In the way they asked them. I hope my colleagues learned from that learn from that she deserves to be treated with dignity could have done more. Just ran the fucking judiciary committee. It was his choice who testified it was he had the ability, those if you go back and watch a lot of people, there's now twenty eight years ago. A lot of people don't remember or didn't watch have been born. Since if you go back and watch Anita Hill's testimony and the way that she was treated by his colleagues colleagues, he says, warm things about all the time. He's always that's part of his cell right now in front of in twenty twenty right? They're good Republicans and the system works because I would go down and have lunch. I'd fight like hell with them on the floor, and then I'd go down and have lunch with them afterwards, the system, worked, right? These are his buddies. In fact, it is it is on record that one of the reasons he said he didn't want to hear Hill's testimony was because he had promised Republican colleagues in the Senate, Jim that it would be a quick confirmation process. So these are his buddies, and he does not stop them. Defend her reprimand them point out that grotesque way, they're treating her. He didn't do any of that. And he had the power and it's. Same thing. He I saw over the weekend. I believe a Representative from the ACLU got him at an event and said, I need to know. Do you still support the Hyde amendment because Biden has the story about him, is he's come around on abortion, even though I think he's still uses incredibly paternalistic language about it, and he failed to support the freedom of choice act, which in theory would have prevented a lot of these state measures severely limiting or banning abortion from going through. He did not support that, but purportedly he's gotten better. So a woman gets to him in an event and says this is just within the past few days. Do you still support the Hyde amendment, and I believe what he says is? Yeah, it's gotta go. It's gotta go. Now, it does have to go the idea that he had no role in it being the law of the land for these forty three years, isn't the problem, Rebecca, that, that works with a lot of people people own going to are the one. Boom. Then I'll remember what happened then we're all gonna go back when right YouTube, the glories of YouTube. I might must incarceration. Oh, we got. Yeah. This is a guy who was buying a bunch of measures, including the nineteen ninety five crime Bill, which Bill Clinton now says, yes, it did lead to massive when win. Better apology, and acknowledgement of error than you do. Right. Joe Biden says no. It didn't lead to incarceration whose idea that the crime Bill generated mass incarceration. It did not generate mass incarceration. He's senior adviser Simone Saunders. Who's a friend of mine goes out on CNN that weekend says it does not need to moss, and customization. That's weird. But what's worse is forget the numbers go on YouTube. I mean, this is what I think is going to damage him overtime. I don't think he's kind run away with this. Yeah. No, I, I agree with you. When you want some of the clips, it's not just any voted for this stuff wrote the legislation, he's laughing, he's making jokes about the death penalty. He saying vicious things about the quote unquote superpredators with did Hillary Clinton because that worked for him. Right. Again, he was the comforter. I'm going to give you another example. And this is this is less about policy because, yes, he's the person who thought of and proudly took credit for the sentencing disparities between crack. And, and he says. Be able to go to the right of us on this idea them. Exactly. And, and he doesn't he, he has bragged for years about being the architect of those sentencing disparities that caused that created a problem of mass incarceration along racial lines, right? Here's another example, and it's not about policy when he was in his run for president twice before one of the great ironies about Joe Biden being the great front runner in two thousand twenty is that the man has run. He's, he's a serial loser for the first time first time he had to leave because plagiarism the second time he got point seven percent in Iowa can fifthly. Thank you to Bill Richardson got more votes than in the cockpit. Just reputation of white working class vote whisper. Okay. Listen. First of all, a lot of his support right now is coming from black voters, and it's real. And there've been a couple of articles about the devotion that many black voters, the base of the Democratic Party have to Joe Biden, but the irony is that, that is he's getting that approval. And he is being that comforting figure two part of the democratic base because of his association with Barack Obama and the irony of this. I think speaks directly to the role of that guy in response to potentially disruptive changes in who has power in this country. So in two thousand seven he's running for the presidency against Brock Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Bill Richardson, and he says, in an interview early on because he's a ga- in addition to everything else, he's a gaffe machine, he's always saying the wrong thing, was it clean clean, and articulate. The first sort."