Truthdig! - May 8, 2019
Recent criticism of Joe Biden for praising Dick Cheney as “a decent man” and Mike Pence as “a decent guy” merely scratches the surface of what’s wrong with the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. His compulsion to vouch for the decency of Republican leaders — while calling Donald Trump an “aberration” — is consistent with Biden’s political record. It sheds light on why he’s probably the worst Democrat running for president.
After several decades of cutting corporate-friendly deals with GOP legislators — often betraying the interests of core Democratic constituencies in the process — Biden has a big psychological and political stake in denying that the entire GOP agenda is repugnant.
At the outset of his Senate career, Biden lost no time appealing to racism and running interference for huge corporate interests. He went on to play a historic role in helping to move the Supreme Court rightward and serving such predatory businesses as credit card companies, big banks and hedge funds.
Biden’s role as vice president included a near-miss at cutting a deal with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to slash Medicare and Social Security. While his record on labor and trade has been mediocre, Biden has enjoyed tight mutual alliances with moneyed elites.
The nickname that corporate media have bestowed on him, “Lunch Bucket Joe,” is wide of the mark. A bull’s-eye is “Wall Street Joe.”
With avuncular style, Biden has reflexively used pleasant rhetoric to grease the shaft given to millions of vulnerable people, suffering the consequences of his conciliatory approach to right-wing forces. Campaigning in Iowa a few days ago, Biden declared that “the other side is not my enemy, it’s my opposition.” But his notable kinship with Republican politicians has made him more of an enabler than an opponent. Results have often been disastrous.
“In more than four decades of public service, Biden has enthusiastically championed policies favored by financial elites, forging alliances with Wall Street and the political right to notch legislative victories that ran counter to the populist ideas that now animate his party,” HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter recounts. Biden often teamed up with Senate Republicans to pass bills at the top of corporate wish lists and to block measures for economic fairness.
In the mid-1970s, during his first Senate term, Biden repeatedly clashed with Sen. Edward Kennedy, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, who wanted to rein in runaway corporate power. “Biden became an advocate for corporate interests that had previously been associated with the Republican Party,” Carter reports. As he gained seniority, Biden kept lining up with GOP senators against antitrust legislation and for bills to give corporations more leverage over consumers and workers. “By 1978, Americans for Democratic Action, the preeminent liberal watchdog group of the time, gave Biden a score of just 50, lower than its ratings for some Republicans.” ...
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