News & Politics

Joe Biden Talks About Chains; Rightbloggers Hardest Hit


Vice President Joe Biden said in a speech last week that the GOP’s calls to “unchain Wall Street” really mean “they gonna put y’all back in chains.”

Having just launched their own Vice-Presidential candidate to less than earth-shaking effect, rightbloggers flipped out over Biden’s remarks, expressing a concern with racism for which, to put it politely, they are not traditionally known, and trying to convince readers that Obama was plotting to throw Biden off the ticket.

Biden’s long been a figure of fun for his “gaffes,” but rightbloggers haven’t been able to get much traction out of that. Their last flare-up at Biden was when the Vice-President got out in front of Obama on gay marriage — at which they were outraged until Obama caught up with the Veep and came out in favor, whereupon they transferred their anger to the President.

But Biden gave the brethren a new casus bellow when, at a campaign appearance in Virginia (which he appeared to confuse with North Carolina, though in fairness the speech site was right on the North Carolina border), he said, “Romney wants to let — he said in the first hundred days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They gonna put y’all back in chains.”

The use of such dialect in a Southern state is not unknown among members of both races, whether or not they grew up with it; also, as Angry Black Lady and Zandar point out, slavery images in reference to fundamental freedoms are not exclusively used by Democrats against Republicans. Nonetheless rightbloggers treated the statement and the dialect as moral outrages against black people, or white people, or something.

Some made pro-forma harumph-harumph comments. Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation, for instance, said “invoking slavery and accusing either Mitt Romney or the Republican Party of wanting to put African-Americans ‘in chains’ is beyond the pale. Biden needs to apologize or resign,” and then complained about other mean things Democrats had said about Republicans. But other attacks were more targeted, not to mention hilarious.

Warner Todd Huston was apoplectic at Biden’s “obvious pandering to African Americans” — imagine! And during election season too! — but seemed much, much angrier that a black woman (Joy-Ann Reid, editor of The Grio) appeared on TV to say she didn’t have a problem with it. Where’d she get the nerve, Douglas wondered, to “tell us that Joe Biden talking in minstrel-like, black dialect didn’t mean he was talking to black people! In fact, she’s ‘offended’ that people would think that a white guy lapsing into black dialect might be thought of as speaking to and about black people.” Donald Douglas will tell you who’s talking jive, Black Lady.

Some, like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, referred to Biden’s auditors as “AUDIENCE THAT INCLUDES BLACK PEOPLE” (or “mostly black supporters,” like The Lonely Conservative) to make sure everyone got the point. (Definitive racial-mix numbers were never provided, as no sane person thought this would be a big deal.)

And what was the point? It varied, but usually had something to do with Barack Obama’s abuse of African-Americans. In variation one, Biden and Obama were stirring up the dusky hordes against white people with inflammatory race talk.

“It sure is amazing how the dialect of pandering politicians can morph when in the presence of a much needed electorate,” said Shawn Mallow of Wizbang, who apparently thinks Obama will have trouble winning black voters in 2012.

Right, Wing-Nut! declared, “it’s time to face the black community, and tell them to look around.” This lecture to the black community should be delivered by Romney, R,W-N! explained, and should begin thus: “The Democrats have hooked black Americans on ‘government cheese’, providing them with minimal sustenance via welfare and unemployment checks, while corrupting their once-unshakable morality that allowed them to survive centuries of enslavement. They have offered no incentive, no opportunities for the black community to get ‘off the cheese’ and out on their own, where they can prosper and flourish, and not just simply survive…”

That’s some tough love there, though we suspect R,W-N! is less interested in convincing African-American voters than hopeful someone will tell them they’re all shiftless welfare slaves so he can watch.

Michelle Malkin — who usually refers to claims of racism as claims of “RAAAAACISM,” to convey that cunning blacks only make such claims to unfairly embarrass conservatives — offered a column called “Black like us: The race clownery of Obama-Biden,” in which she attacked “condescending liberals’ cynical racial pandering attempts” which she found “as always, seismically cringe-inducing.”

Just in case readers didn’t get what she meant, Malkin ornamented her column with this: “New Black Panther Party threatens Republican National Convention… ‘Our feet will be on your necks.'”

Malkin thought Biden’s remarks “echoed the former pastor of Biden’s boss. Rev. Jeremiah Wright,” whom “you may recall, used the same ‘chains’ imagery to justify his ‘God Damn America’ diatribe…” She also attacked “Hillary Clinton’s infamous black church minstrel performances in which she unleashed a mortifying Southern-spiced-with-street accent” and repeated at “an event with race-hustler Al Sharpton.” To recap, white Democrats were pretending to be black in order to help Black Panthers stomp whitey’s neck. Ooga booga!

There was an alternate theme — less often used, for obvious reasons — that Biden and Obama were being mean to black people because they hate them.

The Washington Free Beacon listed the “Top Five Biden Race Gaffes,” which Fox Nation obligingly republished as “The Top 5 Racist Biden Gaffes.” Among these: “Biden falsely boasted that Delaware was a slave state to explain why he would remain competitive in southern primaries,” and that Biden once referred to a political opponent as “the first mainstream African-American [candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” (The candidate was Barack Obama, with whom Biden successfully ran in 2008.)

Bob Owens reminded people that Republicans were on the Northern side in the Civil War, that some Democrats had been copperheads, and that “it seems very difficult for Democrats to let go of the language of slavery… Sometimes it’s hard to believe Biden isn’t a bigot, as well as an idiot.” Owens used to run a blog that was actually called “Confederate Yankee”; he has apparently changed sides, or at least his shtick.

The editors of National Review came up with the best Democrat-Robert-Byrd-was-a-Klansman routine we’ve ever heard: “It bears noting, first,” they said, “that Mr. Biden spent his Senate years comfortable in the company of a Democratic lion who had borne the title ‘Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan’…” Yes, Biden was in the same Senate as Byrd! And he was comfortable!

Some of the brethren scraped up some black conservatives to decry Biden. Fox News got Jesse Jackson’s daughter. (“Wow. An honest lib. That’s refreshing,” commented Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft.)

Former Democratic Virginia Governor Doug Wilder didn’t like what Biden said, either, and RedState’s Moe Lane said we should “note that the Democrats apparently couldn’t find a national slot for the first-ever African-American elected governor… and of Virginia, at that. Funny how that always seems to happen to prominent African-American Democrats, isn’t it?” Barack Obama sure does hate black people.

Our favorite overall was “Why Do Obama Officials Get to Talk Like (& Mock) Black People?” by Debbie Schlussel. “My question, though,” she asked, “is why Black people allow this. Why do so many of them have no problem with people who speak the Queen’s English (or close to it) suddenly patronizing them with this BS Black accent, dropping their ‘g’s at the end of ‘ing’-words and using ghetto-like improper grammar and ‘y’all’s’?…”

Eventually Schlussel revealed the probable inspiration for her post: “See,” she said, “I can’t get away with that.” Maybe it’s because they know you’re not really their friend, Debbie.

Some rightbloggers attempted to straddle both the Obama-hates-blacks and Obama-hates-whites themes. The most spectacular case was this dazzling peroration from Erick Erickson, RedState boss and CNN correspondent:

Considering there is only one group of people ever put in chains in this country, it is clear he was race baiting. I have no doubt this was orchestrated by the Obama campaign, which immediately is again screaming that the old fool was taken out of context.

It is remarkable that the party that thinks ‘states rights’ is racist code thinks “put you back in chains” is hot and sexy talk… In short, if you use Barack Obama’s middle name, you are a racist. But if you race bait a crowd by telling them Mitt Romney will put them back in chains, Stephanie Cutter, the President’s spokesgal is cool with that…

Actually, it’s not really remarkable at all. Inciting racial animosity for political gain has been the Democratic playbook since the Democrats were, well, not to put too fine a point on it, putting black people in chains. But I’m sure we are just, again, taking the Democrats all out of context.

We can imagine Erickson wiping the sweat from his brow, looking down at his work, and smiling, too pleased that he got everything in to be concerned with whether or not it made any sense.

(Meanwhile in parts the United States, Republicans were showing their concern for black folks by making it harder for them to vote.)

Soon the new story became that the Democrats were any day now going to remove Biden from the ticket and put in Hillary Clinton.

John Podhoretz took to the New York Post to claim he had once, years earlier, seen Biden at a press op in which the future Veep “wandered off into secondary subjects… it was clear to me and others around the table that there was something wrong… Biden had displayed a literally clinical display of logorrhea, a term Google defines for me as ‘pathologically incoherent, repetitive speech.'”

You might wonder why Podhoretz and his colleagues didn’t end this lunatic’s career then and there by revealing this pathological performance — was it because it occurred during a more collegial era in American politics? Anyway, Podhoretz claimed that Obama picked Biden for VP simply because “he wanted a running mate who would have no independent standing whatever” and said Biden might now be a “time bomb” for Obama.

Charles Krauthammer said “Biden being Biden” was like “Manny being Manny,” referring to the eccentric former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez: “He catches an out with only one out in the inning, a man on base and he tosses the ball into the stands,” said Krauthammer. “You know, it’s Manny being Manny. So, this is a guy that nobody takes seriously. I think there is a fitness problem here. The bar… is [so] low because of all the crazy stuff he says that you got to ask yourself, is this a guy you want a heartbeat away?” We’re not sure what people who think more about sports than politics (which is to say, most people) made of the comparison of the Vice President to the all-time post-season home-run king. Maybe Krauthammer was seeking to split the Democratic minority coalition by appealing to Dominican-Americans.

The Daily Caller told its readers that Obama had “lost support on Biden pick” — in 2008.

The professional shit-stirrers went to work. Noted Bad Vice-Presidential Nominee Expert Sarah Palin said Obama should replace Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At Commentary, Alana Goodman began, “We all know it’s not going to happen. The White House has directly denied it. And yet, the rumors that President Obama is considering replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton keep coming…” By the end of the item, Goodman was saying, “on the other hand, maybe I’m completely wrong and Obama actually is thinking about cutting Biden loose…” That’s how convincing her argument was!

The Weekly Standard put up a “Countdown to Obama Dropping Biden” ticker.

“It seems increasingly likely that Slow Joe must and will go if the law firm of Jarrett, Axelrod, Plouffe & Michelle decide he’s a drag on the president’s reelection chances,” said Michael Walsh at National Review. At the same venue, Jim Geraghty asked, “How Loud Will the ‘Dump Biden’ Whispers Get? I doubt the White House looks to Sarah Palin for advice, but you figure quite a few folks are thinking along the same lines these days…”

“Many signs are actually pointing to a Joe Biden dumping,” claimed Simon de Hundehutte at American Thinker, who really buried the lede because he then boldly predicted “Biden will be removed ‘compassionately’ from the ticket due to ‘health considerations.’ This might happen before the convention, but if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised if it comes anytime up to and including the weekend before Election Day.”

That certainly would be weird — but can you prove it won’t happen? Aha! Rightwing author Ed Klein alleged that Obama aide Valerie Jarrett tried to get Hillary to replace Biden and she said no. The allegation, based on unnamed sources, claimed by a writer even John Podhoretz can’t credit, and strongly denied by the State Department, is so weak that Steven Hayward of Power Line had to admit “some parts of this story seem a bit thin” — though Hayward concluded, “it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the Lamestream Media pick up on this story,” as if the media would be showing Liberal Bias if it didn’t spread around this bullshit story.

And as Ed Morrissey‘s item — which fully bears out its title, “Too good to check” — shows, that’s pretty much the rightblogger attitude: Who cares if it’s true? So long as one person believes it, you’ve made a sale. So the brethren flooded the zone with blog posts and tweets like “Apparently Hillary turned down offer to replace Biden two weeks ago according to Ed Klein! Even she doesn’t like Barack Obama!” (The Daily Caller‘s Matthew Boyle) and “Switching out Biden would be the ultimate sign of panic for Democrats” (Fox’s CNN’s Dana Loesch).

The most interesting thing, though, was the reaction of the Obama Administration. Biden put out a half-assed explanation, then said, “I am sometimes criticized for saying exactly what I mean. It’s not gonna change.” The Obama campaign basically said it couldn’t give a shit either. When reporters asked Press Secretary Jay Carney about it, Carney joked, “one place where I would not go for advice on vice-presidential running mates is Senator McCain.”

Rightbloggers squawked (“Civility for thee, but not for me, as always. Now with more slavery metaphors and American citizen demonizing!”) but we imagine normal people shrugged. We have to congratulate the Administration. In an age of insta-apologies, they’ve decided to act as if this alleged outrage doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t. They seem to have learned what rightbloggers never can: That while Americans dislike many types of people — blowhards, racists, buffoons, etc. — one thing they really can’t abide is a bunch of whiners.

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