Truthout - September 13. 2019

"... The fact that this was Biden’s best performance of the campaign does not mean it was a good performance — it wasn’t — and questions about his strength as a frontrunner are not going away anytime soon. Neither are accusations of deeply embedded racism, thanks to his record playerfiasco."

... While Biden certainly rose above his prior performances, his night was deeply marred by his crushing failure to speak competently on a variety of key issues facing our country. As expected, a significant portion of the evening was devoted to health care. Moderator George Stephanopoulos, channeling his inner blue dog, set the table for Biden by framing the Medicare for All conversation with three permutations of “raise your taxes” in the first five minutes. Biden was loud in taking the proffered bait but far from convincing, while Sanders and Warren eviscerated his position with a barrage of razor-tipped ripostes.

It got badly worse from there. When confronted with his own long and damaging record on race and segregation, Biden was asked, “What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”

He answered with a commentary on schools — and a thinly veiled attack on Black parents. Biden’s reply deserves first-ballot consideration for entry into the Gibberish Hall of Fame. “It’s not want they don’t want to help,” he stammered as he spiraled into quasi-Trumpian incoherence trying to explain the responsibility of parents. “They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words.”

Translation: Biden was advocating for a scenario in which social workers are deputized to teach Black parents (who, he assumes, do not know enough “words” for their kids to learn anything from them) to parent. One recommendation such social workers might make would be, apparently, playing records at night.

“Biden 2020: Make Sure Kids Hear Words” is probably not the slogan his campaign hoped would emerge from the evening, any more than they wanted to see #RecordPlayer trending alongside #BidensTeeth on Twitter when all was said and done. The fact that this was Biden’s best performance of the campaign does not mean it was a good performance — it wasn’t — and questions about his strength as a frontrunner are not going away anytime soon. Neither are accusations of deeply embedded racism, thanks to his record player fiasco. ...
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