At Joe Biden’s fundraising event in Wilmington, Del., last night, he played to type: the amiably crotchety old pro who’s complaining about young reporters who don’t know their history. From the pool report:
“The way the African American community has stuck by me in this state is absolutely amazing,” Biden said.
“They sent the national press here,” he added. “And they actually sent a group of reporters, eight of them, and they were very, very hostile. New, young reporters who didn’t know much about me.”
Biden said the reporters then talked to residents throughout Delaware about his 40-year record.
“They said things like ‘Oh, they like you. They support you,’” Biden said to the crowd’s laughter.
“You put in context the decisions that were being made,” he continued. “Cause a lot of the new, and totally understandable, reporters don’t have any idea what the context was, what things looked like here with busing … You all vouched for me and it made a gigantic difference.”
“Reporters don’t have any idea what the context was,” and that is why the criticism of Biden on busing and supporting tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and 1990s didn’t do that much damage, at least so far in this campaign. Voters who are old enough to remember Biden’s stances from back then will also recall that whatever the intended impact of forced busing was, the policy proved enormously controversial policy and exacerbated racial tensions instead of alleviating them. On crime, just about every major political figure in the 1980s and 1990s eagerly reassured voters they would lock up criminals and throw away the key. Compared to today, the Democratic party was much more nuanced on abortion in the 1990s, with the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra. Biden isn’t really a “centrist,” but he was always where the center of the Democratic party was; his stances were rarely that outlandish by the standards of his party at the time. Maybe today’s Woke Twitter finds Biden’s old stances disqualifying, but as we keep learning, Twitter does not reflect the electorate: 10 percent of users create 80 percent of the tweets, and Twitter users skew younger, more heavily female, and less conservative than the electorate at large.
Let’s also note that Biden’s weird and seemingly unbelievable stories sometimes turn out to be true. “Corn Pop” really existed.