After tonight, we have to ask ourselves: does Biden really have that ‘electability factor’ his competition supposedly doesn’t?
The Independent Voices
Joe Biden was presumably prepared to answer for his recent fond invocation of working with the segregationist James Eastland, but he was not ready for the specific challenge Kamala Harris would pose to whatever excuse he was ready to share.
Those who rushed to defend Biden’s tall tale of a more “civil” time in the Senate when a white male Democrat from the North could work with a white male Democrat from the South in the grand but dying tradition of compromise conveniently left out the source of the Biden-Eastland collaboration: anti-bussing. Harris did not, which made her assailment of his controversial remarks all the more satisfying. Biden could have solved this issue weeks ago with an apology, but much like the president he hopes to succeed, saying sorry proves difficult for him — thus tonight’s humbling.
“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said to the former vice president as she looked him squarely in the eye. “And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country.”
Harris went on to note the anti-bussing policy and added how such form of systemic racism impacted her directly.
“And there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day,” Harris explained. “And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”
“I did not oppose busing in America,” Biden responded. “What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”