by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden has described himself on the 2020 campaign trail as one of the most liberal members of the Senate, but in reality he has spent much of his five decades in politics denouncing the left-wing of the Democratic Party.
As early as 1970, when he was a member of Delaware’s New Castle County Council, the 27-year-old future vice president used the type of hyperbolic language that was to become his trademark. He lambasted the “far left” and the American Civil Liberties Union, a historic bastion of liberalism, on starkly racial grounds.
“I have some friends on the far left, and they can justify to me the murder of a white deaf mute for a nickel by five colored guys,” he said in a Nov. 11, 1970, interview with the News Journal of Delaware. “They say the black men had been oppressed and so on. But they can’t justify some Alabama farmers tar and feathering an old colored woman. I suspect the ACLU would leap to defend the five black guys. But no one would go down to help the ‘rednecks.'”
He added: “They are both products of an environment. The truth is somewhere between the two poles. And ‘rednecks’ are usually people with very real concerns, people who lack the education and skills to express themselves quietly and articulately.”
While such sentiments from Biden, now 76, could appeal to centrist voters in the 21st century — in part they sound like a prescient counterpoint to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 mocking of the Trump-supporting “basket of deplorables” — they are problematic in the Democratic Party of 2019.