Biden makes incommodious statement!

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019

Everyone else follows suit:
Candidate Biden has, at least semi-apparently, made his latest incommodious statement.

We introduce a note of uncertainty because no one quite exactly knows what Candidate Biden said. There is no tape of what he said, nor is there a full or reliable transcript.

All we have is the press corps' "pool report." According to Kevin Drum, the pool report said this:
POOL REPORT (6/19/19): Mr. Biden then recalled his time serving in the Senate. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Mr. Biden said, briefly channeling the late Mississippi senator’s Southern drawl. Mr. Biden said of Mr. Eastland, “He never called me boy, he always called me son.”

Mr. Biden then brought up a deceased Georgia senator, “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list of all these guys. Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
That would be our full account of Biden's incommodious statement. That seems to be all we know concerning what he said.

For the record, Biden pretty much never stops making incommodious statements. He reliably says too much by half.

This empowers everyone else to offer their own incommodious statements—sometimes in ways which suggest journalistic malpractice, sometimes in ways which suggest "performative virtue" tilting toward demagoguery and even stolen valor.

Let's begin with the journalism. Yesterday morning, the New York Times published a remarkable front-page report about Biden's incommodious statement. Amazingly, the paper published a lengthy, front-page report on the topic without quoting a single word Biden reportedly said at the event in question.

As we type, we're looking at the hard-copy report from our edition of yesterday morning's Times. On line, the Times is now presenting an 1800-word version of this report. The on-line version includes some changes and some additions, but still doesn't contain a single word Biden reportedly said.

Presumably, Glueck and Herndon, the Times reporters, actually had the pool report at their disposal. But say hello to the New York Times! Rather than quote a single thing the stumble-prone pol reportedly said, the enterprising youngish reporters quickly set out on their own.

The young reporters set to work, building a framework around the Democratic front-runner's unquoted reported remarks:

They never quoted Biden reportedly saying that Talmadge was "one of the meanest guys I ever knew." But right in their opening paragraph, they began to create a novelized version of what they apparently felt he had said.

In the opening paragraph of our hard-copy report, the reporters say that Biden had "warmly recalled his working relationships in the 1970s with two virulent segregationists" (our emphasis). In paragraph 5, they say Biden had offered "fond recollections of working with two defenders of segregation."

In paragraph 14, they say that Biden had been "extolling his relationships with notorious segregationists." But for all their mood-establishing insertions, they never report that Biden had warmly and fondly described one of these people as "one of the meanest guys I ever knew."

The children's work wasn't yet done. In our hard-copy report, they rush to quote a rather obscure person slamming Candidate Biden hard. Paragraph 6 reads like this:
GLUECK AND HERNDON (6/20/19): “I just really don’t understand for the life of me what the vice president could have been thinking, to bring the names of Mr. Talmadge and the others who are well-known conservative segregationists into any conversation referencing civility,” said Leah Daughtry, a veteran Democratic strategist who ran the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions and is African-American. She added, “He needs to issue an apology immediately.”
The reportorial giants quoted Daughtry early on. In fairness, they also quoted a much better-known black pol who was defending Biden.

That well-known pol was "James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the House Democratic whip." The scribes quoted him in paragraph 33 (sic), 27 paragraphs after the lesser-known Daughtry had left the front-runner for dead. (There were 37 paragraphs total in their lengthy report.)

Again and again, then again and again, the New York Times is one of our most inscrutable newspapers. Even by the Times' weird standards, this front-page report by Glueck and Herndon struck us as rather odd.

Then too, there were the incommodious rebuttal statements made by various pols. For one especially gruesome example, we turn to the front-page report in yesterday's Washington Post.

Just for the record, Viser and Sullivan quoted Biden's reported remarks from their second paragraph on. But they quickly turned to the performative virtue of some other contenders, even perhaps to borderline demagoguery with a hint of stolen valor.

Inevitably, the guy below was worst. His remarks were quoted late in the Post's report:
VISER AND SULLIVAN (6/20/19): New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted a response on Twitter that featured a photo of him with his wife, who is black, and their two children.

"Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal & that whites were entitled to 'the pursuit of dead n*ggers,' " he wrote.
Biden loved a bunch of guys who wanted my children dead! Thus spake the dumbest mofo who ever fell off the truck—although, on the brighter side, there's a huge amount of obvious virtue there!

Leading anthropologists have told us there will be no way to avoid these endless fights. Biden will keep making incommodious statements, they insist, and the others will all follow suit.

There's little doubt that we're looking ahead to a season of gaffe culture on stilts. If you think Trump can't win re-election behind this, you may be out of your mind.

That said, let's return to the observations of those highly credentialed anthropologists.

"This is the way the brain of this particular species was wired," these disconsolate experts told us last night, speaking in the past tense. As always, they spoke to us from the years which follow the global conflagration they describe as Mister Trump's Performative War.

"Did it start in June 2019?" we cagily asked. Despairingly, these disconsolate scholars glumly refused to respond.

As you may recall: When last we visited the Times' Astead Herndon, he and his editor were covering for Candidate Harris' inaccurate claims about the gender wage gap.

As you may recall, they did so in a way which made it clear that they knew her claims were inaccurate. They said that women are paid less then men though "not for analogous work!"

This is the way the New York Times plays. "It's the best they can do," experts tell us.


  1. Didn't your zombie kingpin Creepy Joe at some point comically misidentify Barry The Demigod Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"?

    1. I thought he was supposed to be called "Sleepy Joe" per our dear POTUS, President Bonespurs. Good work though goebbelsing it up to "Creepy Joe."

    2. Floppy Joe is also correct.

    3. As a liberal progressive, I applaud Trump's restraint with respect to military action in Iran.

      Hopefully Iran will come to the table and agree to a new deal, even if it is not as good as the Obama one, it is better than war.

  2. BTW a New York Times reporter speaking on MSNBC falsely identified Talmadge as a Republican. Of course, in those days, the racist politicians were southern Democrats.

    Appearing Thursday on CNN Newsroom, New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon falsely labeled segregationist Democrat senators whom former Vice President Joe Biden praised for their “civility” Republicans.
    The day prior, MSNBC host Kasie Hunt made the same error by misidentifying Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA). She has since issued a correction, while Herndon has yet to follow suit.

    1. "Of course, in those days, the racist politicians were southern Democrats."

      Make America Great Again, indeed.

    2. mm - I didn't say that the current Democratic Party was guilty of past Democrat misdeeds, but former NFL star Burgess Owens more or less did say that:

      “I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found out the misery that that party brought to my race,” Owens said.

      He added, “I do believe in restitution. Let’s point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies, 20 million of them. State of California, 75 percent of our black boys can’t past standard reading and writing test, a Democratic state. Let’s pay reparation. Let’s pay restitution. How about a Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race.”

    3. Could you get more woke than Burgess Owens?

      well, I suppose if you set your alarm, maybe

      The Republican party exists to negate policies that would positively impact African Americans. Lee Atwater, just as woke as Burgess Owens, explains it:

      "You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger". By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. "

      Who else bought into that forced busing thing? Oh yeah, Biden.

    4. Wow, David. I just learned that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Who knew? Jackass.

    5. mm -- you just blew your chance of getting a job as a reporter for the New York Times. In TimesWorld all anti-black stuff was done by Republicans and all pro-black stuff was done by Democrats.

    6. David, the sad thing is, you're serious.

    7. Conservative Democrats were racist.
      Conservative Republicans are racist.

      This isn't Democrats vs. Republicans.
      This is Conservatives vs. Humanity.

  3. “The reportorial giants quoted Daughtry early on.”

    And prior to this, they mention the criticism leveled at Biden from Harris, Booker, Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

    That is what the article is about. (What did TDH expect? The title is “Joe Biden and Democratic Rivals Exchange Attacks Over His Remarks on Segregationists”).

    These criticisms are real. Whether you agree with them or not, they are not a narrative made up by the press.

    And again, whether you agree or disagree with these criticisms, you have no right to accuse the critics of insincere “performative virtue”. Somerby likes to position himself as judge and jury of what is in people’s hearts without knowing what is in their hearts.

    1. Biden essentially stated that he had nothing in common with these men. He didn't vote for them or campaign for them. He rolled up his sleeves, conducted himself with the [then] expected level of civility, and did his job by working with other senators to accomplish mutual goals.

      The brouhaha over what should be the commonest of common sense behavior illustrates the point there are no longer any adults in the room, let alone leaders.

    2. As long as those mutual goals didn’t include desegregated schools or civil rights, everything was AOK.

    3. Gee, if only Biden had been VP to a President who tried his entire 8 years to work with the band of barbarians in congress commonly referred to as the republican party, things could have been so different.

      Apparently Cecelia has amnesia. Being a republican requires continually forgetting what happened yesterday.

    4. Are you suggesting that Biden didn't advance such policies while in the senate?

    5. And being mm, you consider such blogboard folderol to be worth typing.

    6. @Cecelia
      You said “mutual goals.” Biden has a reasonable record on civil rights, although he might want to educate us on what it is precisely. It’s strange for him to try to make some point about working with vile people, like Eastland and Talmadge, as a way of proving his ability to work with...vile racists? Is he implying something about the current GOP there? And those Senators were in Biden’s party, not the opposition party.

      It’s also weird, because it would be like Konrad Adenauer touting his record of working with the Nazis to pass minimum wage legislation or some such thing to show his bona fides as a compromiser. The Nazi regime was dead, as are the Jim Crow days of Eastland and Talmadge.

      I am looking to see if there is any record of Biden publicly condemning the stances of these two at the time, because you come close to normalizing people like that when you remain silent and/or work with them.

    7. “the [then] expected level of civility”

      And there we have it. Eastland and Talmadge and their ilk could publicly proclaim their murderous racism and back it up with State power, but the bugaboo called “Civility” prevented Sen Joe Biden, D-Del, from mentioning it. “Civility” is quite often code for “shut up, radicals, and respect the status quo.”

    8. 2:42pm, these men were normalized, to an extent, by being duly elected by the voters in their states.

      Their fellow pols couldn’t change that, but they could do what adults do, and respect the process by working with them on worthy common goals.

      Life is messy. You can trust me that in the name of getting something worthwhile accomplished, Biden’s political opponents have made a few compromises as to the moral rigor of a few people they’ve had to work with.

      If you need some token that Biden abetted these segregationists,look to his own actions on civil rights policy.

      In the ‘70s, there wouldn’t be the sort of public denouncement from non-opponents as there is now. These senators came under immense private pressure from their fellows. No 24hr cable panels demanding dramatic displays then.

    9. @Cecelia:
      “Civility” “respect the process”...that didn’t change a damn thing, Cecelia. People had to march, to confront the racist pols and their voters to demand change. It wasn’t going to change itself. Just as slavery wasn’t giving up without a fight.

      And flip to 2016, where respecting the “process” means refusing to hold a hearing for Garland, or 2019, allowing no bills to get to the Senate floor cause that’s the “process”, or living with gerrymandering cause that’s the “process.” It’s bs.

      And if your argument is that it’s not the 70’s anymore, that proves you have a calendar, and if your argument is that, in order to take a moral stand against something one must be morally pure, then that is odious nonsense.

    10. Cecelia, you make good points, but Biden does not have the best civil rights record. For example, Biden was virulently anti busing. Biden was not just civil with segregationists in congress, he actively solicited their help in his anti busing efforts.

      The likelihood of Biden being the 2020 nominee is so slim (particularly when you look at polls of what policies dems support), this issue warrants some scrutiny but not much.

    11. This discussion of civility is such bullshit as is Biden and all the other Neo-liberals.
      I would like to talk NOT about bidens "civility" but about the legislation we was agreeing to with those oh so Civil Southern Gentlemen.
      Like agreeing to more Criminal Justice reform
      or limiting the relief of Bankruptcy on consumer debt and ELIMINATING all student loan debt.
      How about expanding rights for corporations vis a vi the public at large.
      Please stop the semantic garbage and focus on the policies that crushed ordinary people but was done oh so civilly. Who gives a shit.
      This is why the public hates all of this.
      Its why someone who is a name caller and uses puns for a name can say how clever and smart he is. I just wonder if there are paid trolls on bob's site now just like Salon and Slate et al?

    12. 5:21PM

      Standing ovation, well said.

    13. @Cecelia
      absolutely correct. Everyone blows past the main point of his comment and the part where he said he didn't agree with those two other men on anything. Then the stampede starts...and you point it out and everyone piles on your back. We're doomed...

  4. Oh how wrong can you be?
    Oh to fall in love was my very first mistake
    How was I to know I was far too much in love to see?
    Oh jealousy look at me now
    Jealousy you got me somehow
    You gave me no warning
    Took me by surprise
    Jealousy you led me on
    You couldn't lose you couldn't fail
    You had suspicion on my trail

    How how how all my jealousy
    I wasn't man enough to let you hurt my pride
    Now I'm only left with my own jealousy

    Oh how strong can you be
    With matters of the heart?
    Life is much too short
    To while away with tears
    If only you could see just what you do to me
    Oh jealousy you tripped me up
    Jealousy you brought me down
    You bring me sorrow you cause me pain
    Jealousy when will you let go?
    Gotta hold of my possessive mind
    Turned me into a jealous kind

    How how how all my jealousy
    I wasn't man enough to let you hurt my pride
    Now I'm only left with my own jealousy
    But now it matters not if I should live or die
    'Cause I'm only left with my own jealousy

  5. "These criticisms are real. Whether you agree with them or not, they are not a narrative made up by the press. "

    Donald Trump 2020 thanks you for your service.

    1. And no Republican candidate ever criticized Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries.

    2. I don't know what you mean by "real" as it pertains to criticism of Biden's remarks.

      I'm afraid it doesn't make this particular type of racial dog whistle less of a narrative contrived to set everyone's hair on fire simply because it was quickly sounded by Biden's campaign opponents rather than just in the usual asinine news channel panels.

    3. “Real” means the candidates *have actually criticized Biden's remarks.* ie, the Times didn’t invent this criticism.

    4. Meanwhile Leader Mitch McConnell cheerfully refers to himself as the "Grim Reaper" with a smirk, and AG Barr every once in while likes to whip his dick out and slap the Democratic congressional leadership with it for fun, and Uncle Joe thinks he needs to lecture democrats about "civility". You can't make this shit up.

  6. Just as there were leftists who viewed Hillary as a neoliberal and refused to support her, there are those who view Biden working with vile racists in his own party as unacceptable.

    You can be a cheerleader for Biden’s approach, which is one of political expediency, or you can sincerely criticize a willingness to subsume moral principles in order to gain a temporary political advantage, which is Cory Booker’s criticism of Biden.

    Both sides have merit, but one can surely understand a black person’s (or anyone’s for that matter) unwillingness to forgive and/or forget the horrible vicious racism of an Eastland or a Talmadge. And there surely must be space within the Democratic Party for criticizing an approach to governance that praises working with such people to gain some political advantage, like a tax or infrastructure bill, while allowing those men and their reprehensible views to go unchecked back home in their Southern fiefdoms, where their black constituents may have been less enthusiastic about Biden’s collegial view of the Senate.

  7. I'd vote for 2004 Biden. We have zombie clown Biden now, and Trump is going to beat him with the help of votes from Pennsylvanians like me.

    1. PA will vote Dem in 2020, Trump is done, even his own polling shows that, the fight is over who will be the Dem nominee.

    2. Just keep believing that.

    3. Trump tells his aides to lie about his poll numbers when they're bad

      "after internal polling conducted in May showed him trailing some Democratic contenders in states like Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Trump ordered his aides to deny any such data existed."

      Even a poll of Fox News viewers show over 50% support impeachment.

      5:15 PM, no disrespect, but you are no Steve Perry.

  8. Candidates naturally go after each other during the primaries. There’s no need for TDH to act as if the sky is falling every time something like this comes up and try to squelch intraparty concerns by saying “this gains more votes for Trump.” There isn’t even a Dem nominee yet.

    1. Did you skip the part about the NYT not quoting what Biden purportedly said, and about their painting a rhetorical picture of Biden's sentiments that actually belies what he purportedly said....

      Gotta love 'em...

    2. Somerby didn’t tell you this, but if you want to read Biden’s remarks, you can go to page A18 of the same paper on the same date, or go to the story “Biden, Recalling ‘Civility’ in Senate, Invokes Two Segregationist Senators”, by the same author, linked to in the story Somerby is referencing. It is here, the link is under the word “remarks:”

      “And even some of Mr. Biden’s senior campaign advisers were privately shaken by his remarks.”

      The article that Somerby references is specifically about Democratic candidates criticizing Biden’s remarks. You can disagree with their criticism, but they have actually made the criticism.

  9. 4:23pm,I hate to break this to you, but I didn't argue that Republicans always act as adults, I argued that a specific Democrat did.

    I didn't argue that marches and speeches weren't necessary means for change too.

    Somewhere Mitt Romney (who's "gonna put y'all back in chains!) is laughing.

    1. You and Somerby seem to think the criticism of Biden was out of line. And that’s fine. But, Somerby equates the criticism to performative virtue signaling. He is saying the criticism is bad faith posturing. And I am saying that, just as there is good faith valid criticism of the 1994 crime bill, there can be legitimate good faith criticism of Biden’s remarks about the racist senators. You can recognize the sincerity of other people’s opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. But Somerby wishes to attack Biden’s critics by imputing a cynical motive to them.

    2. Interesting enough, Biden's comment was in that vein too.

    3. I am not clear on how Biden acted like an adult.

      I do not see how a racist being elected by a racist state in any way normalizes racism.

      Why is Mitt Romney laughing?

    4. "Interesting enough, Biden's comment was in that vein too."

      I do not think so, it seemed more a political move to signal to certain voters that he is ok to vote for.

      Bipartisanship in congress (which is basically a notion, not something that actually exists) usually just means that Republicans were able to play Dems for suckers.

    5. 5:25 pm, Eastland and Talmadge were Democrats.

    6. @Cecelia 5:56 PM

      Hence, Biden's comments make even less sense. He wasn't even "reaching across the aisle" to those two.

    7. Within the context of illustrating how it is now considered verboten to even "talk" with a contrarian in your own party, let alone someone in the other does make sense.

    8. @5:18P sez
      I do not see how a racist being elected by a racist state in any way normalizes racism.

      It’s practically the definition of normalized. In Hermie’s first election to the Senate from Georgia, almost exactly one-third of a million people cast votes. Only 19 people didn’t vote for him. And if you think the “racist” state of Georgia was an anomaly, remember that in 1972 George Wallace won the Michigan Democratic primary with a majority, besting his nearest rival George McGovern by almost 2-to-1.

      Normal doesn’t mean right or ethically proper.

      Why is Mitt Romney laughing?

      Probably a hardware fault.

    9. "My point is that no one should have to cater to bad faith media tyrants"

      Who is arguing this?

      I am not clear on what your point is, Cecelia, I am not sure you are either, but based on your responses I do not think you are arguing in good faith.

      Biden cozied up to racists (captives of their era, as Biden puts it) to pass anti civil rights legislation. Should we throw a parade? Here is what Biden told kids at that time about busing:

      "You shouldn't hate black kids. They had nothing to do with it. Black kids don't want to come to your school any more than you want to go to their school."

      Now he wants to use that experience to ostensibly claim that, unlike his opponents, he can work with those with different goals using his civility skills, of which there is no evidence - no evidence he possesses those skills, no evidence those skills produce results.

      Quite possibly what Biden is really doing is signaling to certain voters, those that may struggle with bigotry, that he is safe to support.

      Seems to me the ones who want to get things done are the emerging progressive liberals, not the old guard establishment corporatist Dems like Biden.

    10. "It’s practically the definition of normalized."

      Except it is not.

      Racism may have been geographically rampant to some degree at that time, it was not broadly normal. A racist being elected in a racist state does not change the condition.

    11. deadrat, stop spanking people. They don't like it.


    12. Leroy, for values of spanking equal to "correcting."

      I have my own trolls to vouch for that.

    13. 9:33 PM

      Cecelia explained already:

      "I never argued that electing segregationists normalized racism."

      That is good enough for me.

    14. @9:33P,

      Just to make sure I understand, please define what you mean by "broadly normal."

      You may have come down with a touch of presentism, the tendency to judge the past with the perspective and values of the present. If I’m wrong, I apologize, but I’m taking my cues from your ignoring George Wallace’s victory in the 1972 Democratic primary in Michigan and your description of racism as ”geographically rampant to some degree.” Racism wasn’t restricted to the Deep South, and the “some” there was equal to an American apartheid.

      Here’s a little quiz to help you judge the past normalcy of racism:

      One of the Dixiecrats whom Biden worked with in the Senate was James Eastland of Mississippi. Eastland won his second election to the Senate in 1948 (the same year that Truman won the Presidency).

      A. When Eastland and Truman took office, how may states had miscegenation laws on the books?

      B. The Supreme Court struck down miscegenation laws in 1967 in Loving v Virginia. Were there any laws affected in states not members of the Confederacy? If so, how many?

      C. How many states never had miscegenation laws?

      A. 30
      B. Yes, 5 (about half again the number of confederate states)
      C. 7

      How’d you do?

    15. Leroy, deadrat is my troll, and has neither spanked nor corrected.

    16. @11:57

      It is not instructive to reduce determining the extent of racism in America in 1972 to a few questions.

      My mixed parents married in South Carolina prior to 1972 without incident, SC continued it's interracial marriage ban until 1998 but did not enforce it.

      Racism exists today, always has, and likely always will exist, it's extent is not easily measured. Broadly speaking, racism was less normal and more localized in 1972 versus 1872, probably versus 1968, possibly versus 1992.

      Racists continue to be elected - Rand Paul, Steve King, and Trump are just some that one could arguably apply the label to.

      Electing racist people in racist areas does not normalize racism. The extent that racism is already normal there, and beyond, is not enhanced.

      I certainly agree with you if your point of view is that racism was bad in 1972.

    17. @1:23A,

      It is not instructive to reduce determining the extent of racism in America in 1972 to a few questions.

      In 1967, actually, but who’s counting? I’m afraid you’re wrong; it is instructive to ask those questions, and I’m going to guess that you peaked at the answers, found they didn’t support your position, and decided to dismiss this line of inquiry.

      Your parents must have been married after 1967, because before that they couldn’t have obtained a marriage license in South Carolina. That state did not “continue” its interracial marriage ban until 1998 because in 1967 the Supreme Court forbade states from doing that. South Carolina’s 1895 Constitution included Section 33:

      The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto or person who shall have one-eighth or more negro blood, shall be unlawful and void.

      Section 33 was not so much “not enforced” as made unenforceable after 1967. Constitutional amendments in South Carolina must be submitted to the electorate, and the fact that it took more than thirty years for the state to remove the dead provision of Section 33, with about 38% voting no, somewhat undercuts your thesis about the normality or racism.

      You still haven’t defined normal, but I’ll assume you mean usual and commonly accepted.

      The extent of racism may not be easy to measure precisely, but not so its general extent.

      Woodrow Wilson’s destruction of the black middle class in Washington, DC. The Klan control of the Indiana legislature in the 1920s. The Chinese Exclusion Act. The Japanese internment during World War II (one of two world wars we fought with a segregated military). Operation Wetback (1954). The Golden Age of American Lynching (ca 1850 - ca 1940). Literacy tests (died only in 1965 per the VRA). Poll taxes (died only in 1964 per the 24th Amendment). Our war against native populations.

      The list can be continued at depressing length. Racism is already normal here and has always been. At least by my definition above. That doesn’t mean that things haven’t gotten better, at least up to 2016.

    18. It is not instructive to reduce determining something as complex as racism in America to a few questions, regardless of the year. I appreciate your questions, they are interesting, but the answers are fairly well known in a general sense if not the specific numbers, they do not undercut my position, they do not do much of anything on their own.

      Everyone knows the 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving was not even the first interracial marriage in VA. South Carolina did not enforce their ban (which they left in place until 1998), at least not broadly by the point my parents married, which was prior to the Loving decision. States have all kinds of odd laws, echoes of former eras, that they do not enforce. SC is traditionally a fairly racist state, but that is unsurprising. Bob Somerby visits the area on occasion, he is pleased by the lack of racism he perceives. I doubt anyone calls him "boy". It is complicated.

      Normal as in conforming to societal norms. Broadly speaking, when Biden was cavorting with his fellow congressmen that also happened to be segregationists, racism was considered shameful.

      Where racism is already normal, electing racist officials is not unexpected, is likely representative of the local population, is deplorable, but does not normalize racism, either locally (duh) or broadly.

      Where racism is not the social norm, welcoming racists into friendly relations in a public manner, could have a normalizing impact, although likely limited to those with latent racism - and I think this may be the goal of the Biden campaign.

      As has been pointed out, Cecelia made clear that she was not even making such a silly argument.

      I agree with you completely in that racism is bad, should not be normalized, should be rejected, and is sadly still too prevalent.

    19. Anon 6:57, I would have been less confusing if I had stated that the colleagues of the segregationists may not have an alternative to working without them on some very worth goals.

      I'm inclined to give nod to the necessity of that sort of compromise, than to posturing politicians who hail their own bravery while lapping up media plaudits.

      In my mind, I can't extend my sentiment to Biden soliciting the efforts of segregationists to defeat busing. I'm not sure that this is logically consistent, but that's how these things are.

    20. @6:57A,

      It is not instructive to reduce determining something as complex as racism in America to a few questions….

      I’m not sure what the problem is here, but I think it starts with language. Instructive means usefully informative, not dispositive. Of course such examples don’t do anything “on their own,” but in concert with other evidence, they do.

      You say that “the answers are fairly well known in a general sense.” The answer you’ve arrived at isn’t known to me in any sense. Perhaps you can provide some evidence for your position. Your parents don’t count: even the plural of anecdote isn’t evidence.

      Please provide the names of an interracial couple married in Virginia before Loving. Note that you may be able to provide the names of an interracial couple who obtained a marriage license in Virginia pre-Loving, but they weren’t married. Virginia forbade such marriages before Virginia was a state. The same goes for your parents. Go back and read Section 33 that I quoted above. If your parents found a South Carolina registrar to issue them a marriage license, they were foolish to take it. Any legal challenge in South Carolina to your parents’ marital status would have found the marriage “unlawful and void.”

      Normal as in conforming to societal norms.

      You’ve just told me that normal means conforming to normalcy. See what I mean about language?

      Where racism is already normal, electing racist officials is not unexpected, is likely representative of the local population, is deplorable, but does not normalize racism, either locally (duh) or broadly.

      I guess I don’t understand the distinction between acts of racism being normal and those acts normalizing racism. Certainly a local election doesn’t usually have broader implications for “societal norms.” But you don’t want to deal with local elections anywhere. George Wallace’s Michigan victory not good enough? How about California’s Prop 14 in 1964, overturning the state’s fair housing act? Passed with about 2/3 approval.

      I have no idea where you got the idea that racism “was considered shameful.” To what extent do you suppose that was ever true? Any evidence to back up your claim? Remember that what people say and how they act don’t often comport with each other.

      Joe Biden wasn’t “cavorting” with his segregationist colleagues. He was cultivating relationships that he thought would help get laws passed. I understand the argument that this was unethical, and I’m even somewhat supportive of that view. But it paid off in 1975 to get the Voting Rights Act extended. The extension languished for months in the Senate Judiciary Committee as its chairman James Eastland remained hospitalized. I’m pretty sure Eastland could have stopped the bill from coming to the floor of the Senate. (There’s no Senate equivalent of a discharge petition in the House.) Eastland finally delegated his chairmanship to liberal Philip Hart, which guaranteed that the popular bill would get a vote and pass.

      racism is bad

      And it’s also as normal in America as apple pie.

  10. I never argued that electing segregationists normalized racism. Others here have argued that.

    As to the other points, I think you are clear on them.

  11. 5:25pm, contrary to Somerby defending Biden, he suggests that it would have been advisable for Biden to have used a less inflammatory way of making a point about our current political environment.

    My point is that no one should have to cater to bad faith media tyrants. Let's take a stand there. They aren't elected and we don't have to work with them.

    1. "Then too, there were the incommodious rebuttal statements made by various pols. For one especially gruesome example, we turn to the front-page report in yesterday's Washington Post."

      It would be unremarkable if Somerby confined his criticism to the media. But with statements such as the above, he clearly includes (Democratic) politicians in his critique.

      Besides that, he doesn't really explain how Biden's remarks are "incommodious", or how his critics' remarks are "incommodious". He clearly includes pols in his criticism of "performative virtue." And this isn't the first time he has taken Biden critics to task; previously, his topic was the 1994 crime bill.

      And you yourself were arguing against Biden's critics and not just the media in some of your previous comments.

    2. If one thinks a criticism is unfair, that would remain the case regardless of who runs with it.

      But no, I don't hold any Anonymous here, or even the candidates hoping to defeat Biden, to the level of accountability that I do the NYT.

    3. Anonymous 6:11pm, I just read that back in the day, Biden actually solicited Eastman's help in defeating busing policy.

      In which case, Somerby is correct that Biden's reference is incommodious".

      In fact, Somerby is understating things. Biden bringing this up is incommodious as all hell...


    4. Sheesh indeed, that Biden is some piece of work, I hear you.

  12. DeBlasio is the dumbest mofo who ever lived? I'm not calling him smart. But that is such hyperbole, the author loses credibility.

    1. It was a strange remark. Has Somerby started drinking again?

    2. David Neuschulz - Bob's hyperbole is an attempt to be humorous. You may not find it funny, but he doesn't mean his comment to be taken literally.