THE WOKE AND THE BUSED: Biden circa 1974...


...v. Harris like maybe last year:
So many racists, so little rest for the woke and the just!

Last Sunday, another one surfaced! It was Bernie Sanders, appearing on ABC's This Week.

After a bit of evasion, Sanders revealed that he's no giant fan of mandated busing either! After a bit of evasion by Sanders, George Stephanopoulos extracted this confession:
STEPHANOPOULOS (6/30/19): But does that also mean busing? Because your website actually says that you are coming out for repealing for the ban on funding for busing.

SANDERS: No, we've— Busing is certainly an option that is necessary in certain cases, but it is not the optimal. Does anybody think it's a good idea to put a kid on a bus, travel an hour to another school and to another neighborhood that he or she doesn't know? That's not the optimal.

What is the optimal is to have great community schools which are integrated, that's what I think most people want to see. That's what I want to see.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for your time this morning.
Sanders didn't seem especially high on the idea of mandated busing. And good lord! Back in the day, it seems that he was strongly opposed to the types of mandated busing which were creating so much turmoil.

In early May, CNN reported on Sanders' view in real time. Here's what three scribes reported:
MCDERMOTT, KACZYNSKI AND KRIEG (5/8/19): On the politically charged topic of desegregation busing, Sanders expressed concerns about the program's unintended consequences.

The Middlebury College campus newspaper reported in 1974 that Sanders believed busing
—"(doing) bad in the guise of good things," as he put it—risked creating racial hostility where none previously existed.

"The government," he said, "doesn't give a sh** about black people."
Did the busing projects of that era "risk creating racial hostility where none previously existed?"

In many settings, those busing projects, which were often quite ham-handed, certainly added to racial hostility, often in ways which were highly dramatic. As the busing regimes unfolded, many people came to oppose them, for reasons our modern-day legions of the woke may not always understand.

(To recall Chris Rock's experience with busing, see yesterday's report.)

Many people came to oppose the ham-handed, blunderbuss busing regimes of that earlier era. Those regimes were put in place by "well-intentioned" people who were often too lazy and clueless to understand the social dynamics their orders would unloose.

This helps explain why modern Dem pols, not excluding Candidate Harris, have never proposed mandated busing in the present day. We'll offer more on Harris' brave stand RE future busing in a post this afternoon.

Many people came to oppose the busing regimes of the 1970s! As with everything else he's ever done, Candidate Biden expressed his views on the topic in the most florid ways possible.

In part for this reason, this year's first Democratic "debate" was highlighted by an exploration of Biden's past view of the busing regimes of that ancient era.

It may seem strange to think that a debate in 2019 would focus on one candidate's statements from 1974. If so, that suggests that we don't understate the actual purpose of the type of mob attack which got started last Thursday night.

We'd compare the mob attack on Candidate Biden to the mob attack on Candidate Hillary Clinton which got its start in the Democratic debate of October 30, 2007. That debate was aired by NBC News. Predictably, moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams played key roles in the two-hour mob attack.

At that time, Candidate Clinton was stubbornly maintaining her lead in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Especially at that fairly late date, this meant that her opponents needed to take her down, fast.

Like an unfortunate antelope in an episode of Wild Kingdom, Clinton had to be dispatched. The leading authority on that debate helps us recall what happened:
Democratic rivals focused their attacks on Senator Clinton, and were particularly critical of her response to a proposal from New York Governor Eliot L. Spitzer which would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. After the debate, moderator Tim Russert was criticized for asking a misleading question to Senator Clinton regarding the release of her records as first lady...
We'll only note that Russert and Williams joined the Democratic candidates in "focus[ing] their attacks on Senator Clinton." The following day, the New York Times even managed to notice this part of the mob attack:
NAGOURNEY AND BUMILLER (10/31/19): Mrs. Clinton walked into the debate expecting to be the target of attacks but as the night went on, she appeared surprised by the intensity as she was challenged not only by her opponents but by the moderators, Brian Williams and Tim Russert of NBC.

Mrs. Clinton smiled far less frequently than she had in earlier debates, often looking grim as she turned her head from Mr. Edwards to her right to Mr. Obama on her left. “I need to rebut that,” she said at one point. “I don’t know where to start.”
Even as they measured the body language of smiles and grim looks, the reporters noted the aggressive conduct of Russert and Williams.

That said, it was Russert's question about driver's licenses which ended up changing the profile of that Democratic nomination fight. The question came late in the debate, with Clinton accurately describing it as a form of "gotcha."

The question had nothing to do with any issue then under discussion, or with any matter the next president would have to resolve. But the hyenas landed on the gazelle after Clinton gave an inconsequential response.

Mainstream pundits focused on this pointless topic for the better part of a week, with MSNBC's Pat Buchanan largely leading the way. As they did, the 2008 nomination race turned on that basically pointless question.

We've recalled that remarkable fact as we've watched the mob attack of the past week, in which the latest front-runner has been taken down by a question about his views in 1974—views which, to tell the truth, no one much disagrees with today.

In real time, we wrote extensively about that October 2007 debate and its aftermath. You can scan our incomparable archives from that year if you want the gruesome details.

At any rate, participants in that sudden mob attack included Candidates Obama, Edwards and Dodd. (Candidates Biden and Kucinich didn't take part.) Almost surely, the most ridiculous part of the sudden attack was authored by Candidate Edwards:
EDWARDS (10/30/07): I want to add something that Chris Dodd just said a minute ago, because I don't want it to go unnoticed. Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes just a few minutes ago, and I think this is a real issue for the country.

I mean, America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them. Because what we've had for seven years is double-talk from Bush and from Cheney, and I think America deserves us to be straight.
"America is looking for a president who will be straight with them," this candidate piously said.

At the time, Edwards was crazily hiding the fact that he was having an affair with a campaign worker who was already five months pregnant with a child he'd fathered. But so it goes when highly ambitious politicians set their sights on front-runners—on the hapless gazelle which must be taken down.

This brings us to the oddness of the current affair, in which a very weak front-runner has been subjected to a mob attack concerning a position he held in 1974—a position no one really disagrees with today.

At present, our pundits are pretending to examine Biden's views on race. To execute a needed take-down, they're pretending to care about his ancient position on the busing regimes which Sanders also opposed.

Candidate Harris is being praised as the greatest thing since sliced gazelle. But what about her views and her behaviors regarding basic issues of racial justice?

Almost surely, those views and behaviors won't be discussed. But if you're curious, consider Lara Bazelon's column in the New York Times.

Bazelon is a full-time worker in the area of justice for criminal defendants and the wrongly convicted. More specifically, she's director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Back in January, Bazelon authored this column in the Times about Candidate Harris' long list of behaviors. Those behaviors included several which were quite recent.

For whatever reason, those behaviots aren't being discussed.

Just because Bazelon says it, that doesn't make it so. But why are we discussing mandated busing from 1974 rather than the many people Harris has trucked off to jail?

According to major anthropologists with whom we've consulted, we're doing so because our discourse is fundamentally irrational and always has been. "Think about the way the jackals take down the gazelles," these future experts suggest.

Yesterday, on Deadline: White House, Michael Steele ever so briefly got out over his skis.

The gang had been laughing uproariously all through a remarkable opening segment. They enjoyed the hilarity of the overpaid and the elite.

Finally, Steele offered this, referring to Candidate Harris:
STEELE (7/2/19): I hope the Harris campaign is prepared for the fire that's going to come from beneath them, and there's a lot to go after Kamala on...

The door that she's opened on race—yes, she was that young girl who was bused, you know, many years ago across town. But I know a lot of Democrats are sitting there thinking, "Well, you were the prosecutor, as an older woman, who bused a lot of black men to prison."

So that's going to be a very interesting conversation—

WALLACE: You're mean!
Wallace switched the convo back to Trump, and the laughter resumed. To watch this exchange, click here, move to 19:30, though that whole segment is a tribute to the harm done by money and fame.

We'll guess that potential attacks on Candidate Harris will not be brooked or allowed. It seems to us that the tribe has now made its basic tribal judgement. Even among the woke and the bused, these judgments won't always seem to make technical sense.

That said, Bazelon wrote, in January, about the sins of Candidate Harris—sins which were committed in recent years, not in 1974.

How accurate are Bazelon's views? We don't know, and we'll guess that you won't see them discussed. Our brains have always been wired this way, top experts glumly insist.

Tomorrow: Just this once, we'll let you ask us about our first fifth-grade class


  1. If Candidate Joe were a stronger candidate, he wouldn’t be so weak.

    Somerby documents *the way candidates in primaries try to gain dominance over one another.* That is the political reality, like it or not. A strong candidate knows how to parry the attacks of his rivals. That apparently doesn’t describe Biden. So, let’s dump on Harris for showing us that.

    It may not be entirely “fair”, but why should Biden be immune from criticism of his support for the crime bill or his opposition to busing, anymore than Harris should be immune to criticism of her record as a prosecutor? A strong candidate can give effective answers to such criticism, a “hapless gazelle”, not so much.

  2. “your website actually says that you are coming out for repealing for the ban on funding for busing.”

    Stephanoppulos is correct. And Bernie is talking out of both sides of his mouth, because he says both “Busing is certainly an option that is necessary in certain cases” AND “Does anybody think it's a good idea to put a kid on a bus.”

    After which, Stephanoppulos thanks the Senator and fails to follow up with an obvious question, for example, “in which cases is it necessary?”

    And we note that Sanders says it is “necessary”, not just optional, in “some cases.”

    But Somerby glosses over this “Howler.”

    1. 12:20 PM, who apparently is rationed a restricted number of pixels, is forced to quote fragments which convey no context for what Sanders was saying. Here, in fuller form, is what Sanders said to Stephanopoulos LINK:

      "Busing is certainly an option that is necessary in certain cases, but it is not optimal. Does anybody think it's a good idea to put a kid on a bus, travel an hour to another school and to another neighborhood that he or she doesn't know? That's not the optimal. What is the optimal is to have great community schools which are integrated, that's what I think most people want to see. That's what I want to see."

      Here's what Bernie's website says:

      "Fund school transportation to help integration, ending the absurd prohibitions in place."

      That would be through, for instance, the Murphy- Fudge "Strength in Diversity Act" LINK which would "authorize $120 million in grants for 'voluntary community-driven strategies' to increase diversity through studying segregation, hiring new teachers, and other means.

      "According to Murphy's office, the Strength in Diversity Act's grants could pay for:

      "...Establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries, or expanding busing service..."

    2. I would love to have heard Stephanopoulos ask Bernie when he feels busing is “necessary”, but that didn’t happen. But apparently, the end goal is ending “segregation”, that terrible word that gives Somerby conniption fits, to produce “integrated schools.” I thought Howler readers understood that integrating schools is in general impossible nowadays. Is Bernie a pseudoliberal?

    3. Bob hates Progressives, it triggers his disgust of protesting "hippies" back when he briefly taught elementary school instead of going to Vietnam.

    4. 12 years is hardly "briefly", Anonymous, and as a Progressive, former "hippie" and high school classmate, I know Bob doesn't hate me.

  3. The Harris woman is the lowest species of zombie demagogues, that was clear from the beginning.

    But this: "basic issues of racial justice"? From you, dear Bob?

    How could you not be aware that the basic issues were decisively settled over half a century ago? Are you a dembot, dear Bob?

  4. Democrats need a fighter to go against Trump and the current GOP and their attendant media. Trump is willing to lie, cheat, and shamelessly demagogue to win. Dems are not going to win with a Dukakis type, nor is it likely that Smilin’ Joe would either. His fantasy, of working with McConnell, is lunacy, and would in any event lead to unacceptable compromises if Mitch did deign to allow a bill or two through the Senate.

    If defeating Trump is at all important to Somerby, then he needs to recognize that the characteristics of a successful Trump opponent are fundamentally different than the days when Kerry or Dukakis were seen as viable candidates.

    1. I think it's the reverse. Both Bushes were well thought of. The Dems needed a fighter to defeat them. Kerry and Dukakis were not that fighter.

      Trump OTOH is unpopular with many voters. Perhaps a majority dislike Trump. His best chance of winning is by demonizing his Democratic opponent. He would lose to a bland candidate.

    2. IMHO if Harris is the candidate, it will be important for her NOT to define herself in terms of race. That is, here big issues should not be about helping blacks. Otherwise, she could be seen as merely the candidate of a small minority of Americans.

      Note that Obama benefited from being the first black President. Harris won't have that advantage.

    3. What are the successful characteristics of which you speak? Someone who also lies?

    4. David: Trump really wants Biden to be his opponent. Wonder why?

      @4:45: Try reading the entire comment. ‘Democrats need a fighter’ was literally the first sentence. That means passion, someone willing to take on Trump, not wink and nod to McConnell.

    5. @6:07 - Who do you think is the Democrats' strongest candidate?

    6. All the top Democratic contenders trounce Trump in the polls, they all have moved to progressive policies that garner widespread support throughout the country.

    7. "Note that Obama benefited from being the first black President. Harris won't have that advantage."

      You can't really be this stupid; otherwise you'd forget to breathe. So, you must be dishonest.

    8. Kerry or Dukakis aren't running. Why refer to Kerry or Dukakis? Why not refer to a person who is running in this election?

  5. There’s a lot of busing going on. Fortunately for us, Bob’s tender readers, we’re being bused on the subject of busing in this Democratic debate, right to a debate about the busing of young children to what may seem to them foreign country.

    It didn’t work as well as hoped. That’s no surprise, at least to me, looking back in time. Was the result largely negative? I don’t know, I wasn’t in the US in the 70’s.

    I’m glad Bob brought this up, just so I can remind the faithful that Local property taxes provide most of the funding for public school and this varies in accordance to the relative affluence of each neighbourhood.

    I don’t recall that Bob has even approached this issue, but it’s certainly germane, and has historically always been this way. My view is that busing was well intentioned, but ultimately a failure. Hey Bernie, I’m riding your bus!

    What if funding weren’t predicated on property taxes? What if all public schools had a means of funding without those restrictions? If we’re going to dream, let’s dream big:

    All schools would be fully funded (by the States, along with Fed help (as now occurs), in teaching the three r’s, as well as music, civics, the humanities and science. In fact, let’s go all in, and make all schools a Montessori project, so that all children might be guided to their natural talents. That is, all schools. We all know, comrades, why this will never happen. We are capitalists, and thinking is only to be encouraged through the obtaining of lucre.

    But of course, this whole issue (busing) has been f**ked up by the present iteration of the MSM. History, even of the most recent kind, is dead. Now, it’s all politics, and who “scored.”


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