Joe Biden Calls Tea Party "Crazy" In A Speech That Also Managed To Be Kinda Racist
Vice President Joe Biden has a record of being a... candid speaker, particularly during campaign season. So it's not really a surprise that comments Biden made regarding the Tea Party to a group of African-American clergymen in South Carolina on Tuesday are raising a couple of eyebrows. Someone who was in the room told CNN that, in his plea to the clergymen to not allow Republicans to take over Congress, Biden referred to the Tea Party as, "crazy." Biden apparently added:
This is not your father's Republican Party... This is a different breed of cat, man. I am not making a moral judgment, but I will tell you that they have no judgment.
Granted, Biden isn't the first person to express that opinion. Democrats and Republicans alike have publicly questioned the party's sanity on a number of occasions. The group has been called a "national embarrassment," a fraud, and even diehard Republican Speaker John Boehner has criticized them for their rash firebrand behavior. Regardless of what side of the aisle one comes from, it's not hard to realize their inflammatory and overly-confrontational strategies were great ways to make sure Congress got nothing done over the last six years.
But coming from a Vice President, the remarks carry a different kind of weight.
Another point worth mentioning is how race played a part in his remarks. Biden's attempt to gain footing with the African-American clergymen, many of whom influence minority voters — the largest portion of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina — may have been well-intentioned, but it packed a serious cringe factor. He referenced the beginnings of his career — when he served as a public defender for low income families in Wilmington, DE — saying he was "the only white boy on the east side of Wilmington."
Putting the hyperbole aside, I'm not totally sure how a comment like that is supposed gain him credibility among the black community. It kind of sounds like the whole, "I have friends who are black," defense white people sometimes use to show how non-racist they are. Joe Biden knows some politicians are racist, but there's no way he could be, because he grew up with a lot of black people. In fact, his friend and coworker — President Barack Obama — is black. So there's no way, right? Right?
Maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. He also said he garnered 98 percent of the African-American vote every time he ran in Delaware, which, if its true, means those voters like him, and that he does do a good job representing their needs and interests.
But minority voters aren't stupid. They know the difference between a politician who actually advocates for their interests, and one who considers speaking broken Spanish to voters on campaign stops a big achievement (insert side-eye at multiple politicians here). As a person of color, I'm pretty sick of hearing politicians make these half-baked attempts to gain favor among minority voters. If Biden is trying to get Democrats elected, and especially if he's trying to run for president, he needs try a bit harder than that.
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