All politicians are fully aware that any associates in their history with negative reputations could make headlines during a political campaign.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden this week identified some from his past and put them in the headlines himself.
Republicans likely will consider that a favor.
At a fundraiser Tuesday, Biden cited his experience working alongside segregationist senators in a bygone day. And he spoke of how they were able to see each other’s arguments and reach an agreement.
Biden said he was able to get along with segregationist senators even though they “didn’t agree on much of anything.”
He apparently was trying to emphasize he believes he can bring opposing sides together.
The Washington Post said he “remained adamant that political fellowship of the sort he maintained with white supremacists in the 1970s was not just possible in today’s climate — but the best answer to the forces elevating President Trump.”
He cited, specifically, the late Sens. James O. Eastland, D-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, D-Ga..
Both refused to accept “civil rights and racial integration.”
Biden said of Eastland: “He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.'”
And he bragged: “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”
The reaction perhaps wasn’t what Biden wanted.
Connie Schultz, wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, “absolutely” nuked him, noted Twitter news aggregator Twitchy.
“There is no punchline here, no emoji or funny meme to soften the harm of your words. That segregationist never called you ‘boy’ because you are white. If you want to boast about your relationship with a racist, you are not who we need to succeed the racist in the White House.”
There is no punchline here, no emoji or funny meme to soften the harm of your words. That segregationist never called you “boy” because you are white. If you want to boast about your relationship with a racist, you are not who we need to succeed the racist in the White House. https://t.co/gULBDb9kMp
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) June 19, 2019
Eastland’s opinions also were posted, showing he opposed integration even after the federal courts ruled for it.
Max Kennerly wrote on Twitter: “An example of Eastland’s ‘civility,’ while he was urging people to defy Brown v. Board of Education: ‘The Southern institution of racial segregation or racial separation was the correct, self-evident truth which arose from the chaos and confusion of the Reconstruction period.”
An example of Eastland’s “civility,” while he was urging people to defy Brown v. Board of Education:
“The Southern institution of racial segregation or racial separation was the correct, self-evident truth which arose from the chaos and confusion of the Reconstruction period.” https://t.co/VZ5AZGwI8u
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) June 19, 2019
Twitchy noted: “This really shouldn’t be shocking to anyone. This. Is. Who. Biden. Is.”
Twitter user Jeff Hauser asked, “Can we just acknowledge that some people are visibly past their prime?”
Philip Klein wrote at the Washington Examiner “it’s just bizarre that he has chosen to make this point by, of all people, hailing his working relationship with two Democratic segregationist senators.”
He quoted Biden: “I know the new Left tells me that I’m — this is old-fashioned.Well guess what? If we can’t reach a consensus in our system, what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president. That’s what it does. You have to be able to reach consensus under our system — our Constitutional system of separation of powers.”
Klein pointed out that Biden could have cited many examples of compromise.
“Instead, he highlighted his ability to work with two segregationists — James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge. It isn’t exactly a savvy comeback to those who consider you ‘old-fashioned’ to bring up long-dead senators who, to the extent that anybody knows them at all, remembers them for their vile racism.”
The Examiner cited past remarks by Biden that remain questionable.
For example, he once said desegregation is “a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied; and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality.”
The Post reported, “Biden’s campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment about why it would be notable that the Dixiecrat — who thought black Americans belonged to an ‘inferior race’ and warned that integration would cause ‘mongrelization’ — didn’t call Biden ‘boy,’ a racial epithet deployed against black men.”
Biden did note that Talmadge was “one of the meanest guys I ever knew,” but “at least there was some civility.”