Joe Biden, truth teller?!? (Part I)

In the first of what will surely have to be an on-going series, let’s examine the proposition that President Joe Biden is that rarest of rare things, an honest politician.

Let’s start with his well-documented past deceptions and lies. And they are well-documented indeed, primarily because it was documented at a time when the media was still making nods to at least the pretense of being an objective and honest broker of information. Biden’s first run at the presidency in 1988 ended in failure when it was revealed that he was plagiarizing other people’s political speeches, most notably those of British Labour MP Neil Kinook, going so far as to even steal Kinook’s stories about his own family’s history. The late Robert Kennedy was also someone from whom he stole.

And it wasn’t Biden’s first foray with presenting other people’s work as his own. Back when he was in law school, he was caught plagiarizing from others’ work in one of his law papers. In a confrontation with a reporter, in which he prefaced his remarks with the Trumpesque braggadocio “I probably have a much higher I.Q. than you do, I suspect”, he claimed that he earned three degrees as an undergraduate, was the only person in his law school class to get a full scholarship, and ultimately finished in the top half of his law school class. All of these were lies.

During that 1988 campaign, his staffers tried to stop him from falsely claiming to have joined the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, but the lie was repeated at several campaign stops. When the campaign was imploding on the back of the plagiarism charges, and Biden was struggling to stay in the race, he implicitly copped to the lie while trying to avoid admitting it, saying ““I find y’all going back and saying, ‘Well, where were you, Senator Biden, at the time?’ — you know, I think it’s bizarre. Other people marched. I ran for office.”

But the lies about his activism during the Civil Rights era didn’t start with his 1988 campaign. He’d been telling porky pies about it for years.

When Biden gave up on his 1988 quest for the presidency, he finally admitted:

”I was not an activist…I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Del. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. But I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans.”

That burst of honesty proved to be only temporary. By the time he was running for the presidency again in 2020, he was back to touting his imagined youthful activism again.

Of course, the 2020 campaign provided Biden with the opportunity to lie about all kinds of things, not just his Civil Rights (non-)activism. In South Carolina he told an audience that:

When I got out of the United State Senate, instead of taking a Wall Street job – and they’re not bad, I’m not making them bad – but instead of doing the things that I never did before, I figured I wasn’t going to change all these years from what I was comfortable doing. So I became a teacher. I became a professor.

Actually, the job he took when he left the US Senate was the job of Vice President of the United States. But aside from his confusion about the job he left in 2016, what he actually became at that point was the recipient of what was essentially a no-show job with a huge salary, an honorary “professorship” at UPenn in exchange for his name and a few appearances at “big ticket” events. He never taught a single student in a single class.

He also repeatedly told campaign audiences that he had been arrested trying to visit Nelson Mandela. Eventually he was forced to admit that it wasn’t true.

And it isn’t just his own personal history that he lies about. He’s an inveterate liar about policy. In his final debate with Trump, he claimed that “not one single person, private insurance, would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare.” Of course, Obamacare literally outlawed certain insurance plans, resulting in many millions of people losing their insurance.

In that same debate he said ““I have never said I oppose fracking.” Sure, Joe.

During an earlier debate, speaking about Obama era border enforcement policies, he said “What Latinos should look at is, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one.” Whether one wants to call them cages or not, in fact the facilities used to detain illegal immigrants under Trump were the exact same facilities used to detain illegal immigrants under Obama.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Biden had this to say about his opponent, President Donald Trump:

Have you ever heard this president say one negative thing about white supremacists? Have you ever heard it? That’s the reason I got back in this race because of what happened in Charlottesville. People coming out of the woods carrying torches, their veins bulging. Close your eyes and remember what you saw. And a young woman gets killed, that resisting the hate and violence. And the president gets asked to comment on it. what does he say? He says there were “very fine people on both sides.” He wouldn’t even condemn David Duke, for God’s sake.

In 2000, Trump condemned David Duke as “a bigot, a racist, a problem”. During the 2016 campaign, Trump condemned and disavowed Duke over, and over, and over again.

As for white supremacy, Trump has repeatedly condemned it. In one White House address Trump said:

Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

Even his infamous and much mischaracterized “very fine people” comments following the violence in Charlottesville, which is the basis for the Biden’s deceitful insinuation, Trump specifically said (12:55) ” I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

So is President Joe Biden an honest politician, or does it seem more like he is dishonest? On past evidence, it appears that he has been dishonest pretty much perpetually about his past, about policy, about other people, about his own actions, going all the way back to his law school days in 1966. We’ll see if he maintains his record for dishonesty while he remains President. Stay tuned…

 

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