The central point of Michael Tracey’s recent Spectator article is that Biden’s commanding lead in the polls is an accurate indication of widespread support among Democratic primary voters. The Democrats remain the party of Obama who is by far the most influential, revered and politically powerful figure within it.
Obama’s de facto endorsement of Biden, his help in lining up institutional support in key states such as South Carolina not to mention access to Obama’s donor base and favorable media coverage will be highly significant if not decisive much as early endorsements obtained by Clinton were. And here the comparison is slightly misleading in that, as Tracey points out, Clinton was a weaker candidate, paling in comparison to the then incumbent Democrat, widely disliked by Obama partisans who harbored bitter memories of Clinton’s racially tinged attacks and her support of the Iraq invasion.
Continue reading Obamamania and its Legacy: Why Biden Leads
The clip above makes apparent the continuing relevance of the late Molly Ivins’ line cited in the title. It is, however, not as amusing as it was when it was directed at far right icon Pat Buchanan. Now, any guffaws it elicits should be followed by the recognition that what accurately described a reactionary Republican can readily be applied to the Democratic front runner.
This is depressing, yet another indication of our continuing descent into something resembling fascism. But it’s also good news of a sort that we’re finally waking up to the reality of the “tough on crime” rhetoric of 90s. That it was more than a little reminiscent of the Waffen SS is now pretty obvious. And it’s also useful to be reminded that the mass incarceration mania was a bipartisan affair. The Democrats obscured their role in consigning countless low level drug offenders to our system of gulags through Clinton initiating a “national conversation on race” conducted under layers of “I feel your pain” therapy-speak combined with “tough love” respectability politics.
Biden’s role in the creating mass incarceration epidemic has meant that one of the signature achievements of the neoliberal era, the 1993 Crime Bill, has become a campaign issue. His opponents are predictably and entirely appropriately making Biden’s position known. Not surprisingly, the Biden camp is attempting to deflect attention away from Biden’s lead sponsorship (which he brags about here) by noting that Sanders also voted for it.
Continue reading “Better in the Original German”–Joe Biden Endorses Mass Incarceration