That former Vice President Joe Biden has announced his third attempt at the White House was a surprise to no one who has paid any attention to Washington politics. Likewise, it is no surprise that he is — early on in his campaign — running on a platform of being the only one who can save America from the catastrophic destruction that he claims will necessarily follow another four years of Donald Trump as president. What perhaps is surprising is the lows to which he has already stooped in his efforts to paint Trump as a racist.
In a video announcing his candidacy, Biden used the August 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, clash between white supremacists and Antifa as a background prop for his hyperbolic rhetoric. He begins the video by quoting the Declaration of Independence. Before quoting the most well-known portion of the Declaration (“We hold these truths to be self evident...”), Biden says, “We know it by heart.” And while Biden gets the quote right (which is a major feat for the man known for getting facts, figures, and people mixed up on a regular basis), it is worth noting that his former boss, President Obama, did not seem to “know it by heart” — he habitually left out the phrase, “by their Creator” when quoting it.
Biden talks about the Declaration as a prelude to attacking President Trump, saying that Trump does not live up to this country's ideals, and that's why Biden wants to be president. In an early segment of the video, wherein Biden is apparently trying to burnish his anti-racist credentials, he first disparages Thomas Jefferson. Biden says, “We haven’t always lived up these ideals; Jefferson himself didn’t” — an obvious dig at the fact that Jefferson owned slaves.
This is the beginning of Biden distancing himself from the truth. While it is true that Jefferson owned slaves, he never once bought or sold a slave; he inherited them, though he hated the institution of slavery. In fact, Jefferson denounced slavery several times in the harshest of terms, and he lamented that slavery was a problem that was both nearly impossible to simply correct and a national sin that would cause Divine judgment to be visited upon this nation. Biden could have easily found that out (if he could understand the difference between a phone number and a web address). Allow this writer to make that search as simple as two clicks for the man-who-would-be-president.
One link in those search results will show that Jefferson referred to slavery as “an abomination,” an “unremitting despotism,” a violation of the “most sacred rights of life & liberty,” “a moral reproach,” and something that the practice of makes a man “a thief.” He prophesied that America would pay a dear price for slavery, saying of the institution of slavery, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever: that, considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.”
Finally, he recognized that slavery — which he said was forced upon America in her “infancy” by the British crown — was not an easy pickle to get out of. Though he wrote that America must “bear and adopt” the abolition of slavery “or worse will follow,” he also wrote, “I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [of slavery], in any practicable way,” but that “as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.”
Given Biden’s slander of Jefferson, one is left to wonder what course he would have had Jefferson take. Sell his slaves? That would mean trading in human beings, something Jefferson never did. Emancipate them? In the economy of 18th-century America, few were the slaves who could have survived if suddenly freed. As history professor Steve Byas pointed out: Jefferson "had freed his favorite chef, James Hemings, but Hemings, unable to support himself, eventually begged to be allowed to return to Monticello. Sadly, Hemings eventually killed himself." Instead, as one of Jefferson’s slaves, Isaac, put it, Jefferson kept them and treated them as human beings, given all of the dignity that they were due as such. Issac is quoted as saying, “Mr. Jefferson bowed to everybody he meet: talked wid his arms folded. Gave the boys in the nailfactory a pound of meat a week, a dozen herrings, a quart of molasses and peck of meal. Give them that wukked the best a suit of red or blue: encouraged them mightily. Isaac calls him a mighty good master.” As well, Jefferson could not free his slaves because he owed money, and they were collateral on debts.
Jefferson also worked to end the Atlantic slave trade and tried to prove that blacks were not inferior to whites.
After disparaging Jefferson — who is dead and cannot defend himself — Biden attacked Trump, claiming that Trump call Neo-Nazis "fine people":
It was there in August of 2017 we saw Klansmen and white supremacists and Neo-Nazis come out in the open. Their crazed faces — illuminated by torches, veins bulging, and baring the fangs of racism — chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ‘30’s.
They were met by a group of courageous Americans when a violent clash ensued and a brave young woman lost her life.
And that’s when we heard the words of the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were — quote — some very fine people on both sides.
Very fine people on both sides?
With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And it that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.
I wrote at the time, that we’re in the battle for the soul of this nation. That’s even more true today — we are in the battle for the soul of this nation. I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.
It is hard to choose which is worse, Biden’s over-the-top rhetoric or his lack of anything resembling accuracy and honesty. Perhaps they are so intricately intertwined that even he can’t get them apart. The simple facts are these:
1) Biden’s “group of courageous Americans” are nothing of the sort. They flew the emblems of communism and came prepared with weapons for a fight. They were neither courageous nor fundamentally American. Desiring a Soviet America is not patriotism; it is treason.
2) President Trump did not call the knuckle-dragging, useful idiots in the white-power, KKK, Neo-Nazi camp “very fine people” and assign "a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.” That may make for good speech writing and video talking points, but it doesn’t pass the truth test at all. In truth, Trump put down Neo-Nazis, saying,
You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.... I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.... So you know what, it's fine. You're changing history. You're changing culture. And you had people — and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the White nationalists, because they should be condemned totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and White nationalists. [Emphasis added.]
Trump merely noted the truth that there were people there who had nothing to do with either the Nazis, on one side, or the communist Antifa on the other. But Broad-brush Biden refuses to acknowledge the difference.
Sadly, though Biden — an admitted “gaffe machine” who seems to open his mouth only to stick his foot in it — has begun his third attempt to put in a change of address for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with a smear campaign lacking anything like credibility, he is leading in the Democrat’s 2020 polls. And President Trump said he hopes Biden wins the primaries and has to face him in the general election.
As the old saying goes, "Hindsight is 20/20." If the Democrats choose Broad-brush Biden as their pick for 2020, it will likely prove — once again — that they lack foresight.
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