Should Joe Biden be proud of compromising with racist politicians? | The Tylt

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Should Joe Biden be proud of compromising with racist politicians?
#CompromiseImportant
#NeverWorkWithRacists
#NeverWorkWithRacists

Biden frequently bemoans the bygone era of governance, in which he claims more work was accomplished in Congress. Biden has touted his moderate viewpoints and ability to reach across the aisle to collaborate as strengths in his quest for the Oval Office. His recent comments, AP News reports, came during a fundraiser in New York. 

The controversy began at a New York fundraiser Tuesday when Biden pointed to long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.
“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of the two men, who were prominent senators when Biden was elected in 1972. Biden described Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and said Eastland called him “son,” though not “boy,” a reference to the racist way many whites addressed black men at the time.
Yet even in that Senate, Biden said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”
#NeverWorkWithRacists

Biden's remarks seem innocuous outside of a historical context. However, as Rolling Stone reports, the men Biden was bragging about working with were not merely political opponents, they were virulent racists. 

[I]n his remarks — delivered on the eve of Juneteenth, the day that marks the bitter end of slavery in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation — Biden voiced fondness for one colleague in particular, James Eastland, a Mississippi senator with a despicable legacy of racial hatred and incitement who was also a mentor to Biden in his early days in Washington. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden told the assembled donors. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”
...Eastland was a giant in the Senate and an avatar of the darkest racism of the Civil Rights-era South. He was a plantation owner who championed white supremacy in language that now shocks the conscience. During the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycotts of the mid-1950s, Eastland appeared at a rally of the White Citizens Council to deliver remarks that stopped just short of a call for racial genocide. 
#CompromiseImportant

Many of Biden's African-American colleagues rushed to his defense, saying he was merely illustrating a point, not minimizing the severity of the mens' racist views. Per the New York Times

“I don’t see anything different in what Biden said to what we all do over here,” Mr. Clyburn said. “He didn’t say anything more than I would say to describe my work with Strom Thurmond and a few others.”
Mr. Clyburn, who participated in civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s, said that Democrats of his generation needed to develop working relationships with segregationist Southern politicians like Thurmond, his state’s longtime senator.
The Rev. Joseph Darby, an influential African-American pastor from South Carolina — a state where polls show Mr. Biden with a commanding lead, currently, among black voters — dismissed the notion that Mr. Biden should apologize.
“People look at his overall record rather than cherry-picking some of the things he says,” said Mr. Darby, a longtime ally of Mr. Biden’s who also spoke positively about Ms. Harris and Ms. Warren. “They weren’t the examples I would use, but I don’t think that merits an apology. He was talking about the way the Senate used to work. That’s the way the Senate used to work.”
#NeverWorkWithRacists

Many of Biden's opponents in the Democratic primary called for the former Vice President to immediately apologize and walk his statements back. 

On Wednesday, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of two black candidates running for president, said Mr. Biden was “wrong” to use segregationists as examples for bringing the country together.
“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,’” Mr. Booker said in a statement. “I’m disappointed that he hasn’t issued an immediate apology for the pain his words are dredging up for many Americans. He should.” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont later echoed Mr. Booker’s call for an apology.
...Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York posted a photo of his multiracial family on Twitter and cited a racial epithet that Mr. Eastland used.
“It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of ‘civility’ typified by James Eastland,” Mr. de Blasio wrote. “It’s past time for apologies or evolution from @JoeBiden. He repeatedly demonstrates that he is out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party.”

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#CompromiseImportant

NPR reports that Biden shot back at critics, saying he in no way agreed with the policies these men favored, he was merely illustrating a point about the importance of compromise. 

"Here's the deal: I could not have disagreed with Jim Eastland more. He was a segregationist. I ran for the United States Senate because I disagreed with the views of the segregationists," Biden said. "The point I'm making is, you 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."
#NeverWorkWithRacists

Sen. Kamala Harris told reporters she found Biden's comments to be "misinformed and wrong," pointing out the men Biden was boasting of working with would have prevented Harris from holding the position she currently holds. 

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Should Joe Biden be proud of compromising with racist politicians?
#CompromiseImportant
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