Book: Joe Biden in 1973 Lectured Cleveland on What Is ‘Good for the Negro’

DES MOINES, IOWA – MAY 1: Democratic presidential candidate and former vice presiden
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Former Vice President Joe Biden lectured the City Club in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1973 about what he thought was “good for the Negro,” according to a new book from a prominent left-wing journalist.

The racially insensitive comments from Biden, a white man from Delaware who was at the time newly elected to the U.S. Senate, resurfaced, thanks to a new book from leftist journalist Ryan Grim of the Intercept. The book, We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to AOC, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement, has already landed a few other major blows, including on former President Barack Obama, regarding his “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal legacy, but this revelation about Biden’s torrid history with race–as told from the left–is particularly damning for the current Democrat 2020 presidential primary front runner.

In a section explaining how Biden attempted to win back for Democrats white working class voters in the 1970s, Grim writes about the now former vice president’s controversial messaging–something that may come back to haunt him in 2020.

“Joe Biden, elected to the Senate in 1972, was a leading voice in the attempt to win back white working-class voters by showing them how tough Democrats could be against affirmative [action], school integration, and other priorities of the civil rights movement,” Grim writes. He added:

I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, “We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race. I don’t buy that,” Biden told a Delaware weekly newspaper in 1975. “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather.I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

In the next paragraph, Grim cites Biden’s speech in 1973 to the City Club in Cleveland, where the then-newly elected senator opined about what he thought is “good for the Negro.”

“In 1973, during a speech at the City Club in Cleveland, Biden told an audience that the Nixon-era resurgence of Republicans in the South was a good thing,” Grim writes:

“I think the two-party system,” he said, “although my Democratic colleagues won’t like my saying this, is good for the South and good for the Negro, good for the black in the South. Other than the fact that [southern Senators] still call me boy, I think they’ve changed their mind a little bit.”

Biden’s campaign spokesman, TJ Ducklo, has not replied to a request for comment from Breitbart News when asked if Biden still believes, as he expressed per Grim’s book, is “good for the Negro” and has not answered when asked about others raising the point that former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had to resign for saying something similar.

Dave Johnson, a leftist activist who, according to his Twitter profile, supports Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and is a senior fellow at the left-wing group Campaign for America’s Future, notes that Lott had to resign for making similar comments to what was just unearthed in Grim’s book:

Interestingly, Johnson also points out, Lott has spoken favorably about Biden’s 2020 campaign:

“Joe will be able to perpetuate the image of Uncle Joe, and he is pleasant. He is qualified,” Lott said of Biden, asserting he is the only Democrat who stands a chance against President Donald Trump.

Ducklo, on Biden’s behalf, has not answered when asked if the former vice president has any thoughts on Lott’s favorable comments about him.

The unearthing in Grim’s book of Biden’s 1973 speech about what’s “good for the Negro” also comes in the wake of comments he made this week falsely attacking Breitbart News.

“Now the Breitbarts, the hard right and the rest of these folks out there, they’re legitimizing by their actions the kinds of things that are happening,” Biden said. “You saw what happened in the synagogue, anyway I won’t go into it all, but the bottom line is this: I think the worst thing that happened to the United States of America of late is this division, villianizing and talking down other people.”

Biden’s comments about Breitbart News are factually inaccurate. Breitbart News is a proudly pro-Jewish, pro-Israel website that fights, exposes, and condemns white supremacy and antisemitism. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), the 2000 Democrat vice presidential nominee, who also once was a Democrat presidential candidate, has spoken highly about Breitbart News.

“I know the positive pro-Israel record, pro-Semitic record — if you can call it that — certainly fair record of Breitbart when it comes to Israel and Jews, and I appreciate it, and I think the majority of people appreciate it as well,” Lieberman said in an exclusive interview on Breitbart News Daily.

But the revelation by Grim of Biden’s comments also come as President Trump, seeing Biden as his likely rival, given the former vice president’s position in the polls, has highlighted how Biden’s work in the U.S. Senate severely harmed the black community, something Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts aim to alleviate.

This week, Trump tweeted about the matter–calling out Biden in particular:

Biden’s complicated history with race has hurt his standing in the black community. For instance, in this MSNBC report, a black voter says that Biden “has a terrible history with the black community”:

In early May, too, Morning Consult questioned if Biden’s early support in the black community will hold up, given his spotty record on civil rights and race issues. New York magazine went even further in a March 2019 article, questioning if Biden’s backers in the black community will still vote for him when they remember what he actually did to them policy-wise.

From the New York magazine piece:

Joe Biden once called state-mandated school integration “the most racist concept you can come up with,” and Barack Obama “the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean.” He was a staunch opponent of “forced busing” in the 1970s, and leading crusader for mass incarceration throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Uncle Joe has described African-American felons as “predators” too sociopathic to rehabilitate — and white supremacist senators as his friends.

And, as of this writing, a plurality of black Democrats want him to be their party’s 2020 nominee.

Whether Biden can retain that support, after voters learn more about his problematic past, could very well determine the outcome of the party’s primary race. To explore that question, let’s pick through the former vice-president’s hefty baggage on racial justice — and then, the case for thinking that Obama’s halo will prove to be brighter than the shadow of Biden’s record is dark.

Democrats have been trying to clean up Biden’s racial problems for years and understand they linger even now, decades after his various actions as a U.S. senator and as vice president, with some Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members pitching that Biden select a black woman, like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), or failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial Democrat candidate, Stacey Abrams, as his running mate early.

“The Congressional Black Caucus may have found an answer to its Joe Biden dilemma: Vice President Kamala Harris,” Politicos John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle wrote in early May:

Some black lawmakers are agonizing over whether to back Biden or two members of the close-knit caucus — Sens. Harris and Cory Booker — who also are vying for the White House, according to interviews with a dozen CBC members. But with the former vice president jumping out to a huge, if early, lead in the polls, several CBC members are warming to the idea of a Biden-Harris ticket to take on President Donald Trump.

They quote Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) as describing Biden-Harris as a “dream ticket.”

“That would be a dream ticket for me, a dream ticket!” Lacy Clay said. “If she is not the nominee, that would be a dream ticket for this country.”

What’s more, regarding earlier reports that Biden was considering Abrams as a running mate, Politico quoted an anonymous lawmaker saying that backfired:

Biden faced criticism after earlier reports he was eyeing former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as an early running mate. Abrams says she’s still considering seeking the top slot herself.

Announcing who he’d like as his vice presidential pick would be “premature and likely would backfire,” according to one CBC member who requested anonymity.

“The vice president’s team seems to be very sensitive to the notion that they have to go out and earn this,” the lawmaker added.

However, even having a black leader from the Democrat side of the aisle on the ticket might not be enough to undo the damage in the black community that Biden’s history may have–especially with Trump on the rise there.

“I can give an unqualified ‘yes’ on the idea that the president will be more popular on Election Day with blacks in 2020 than he was in 2016,” Horace Cooper of the conservative Project 21 Black Leadership Network told the Washington Examiner.


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