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June 28, 2019


I found the debate points about busing to be quite interesting seeing as it obviously worked and ended school segregation didn’t it? In fact it worked almost as well as mass incarceration. Oddly segregating children by race seems to be the new progressive position because it is “better” for them. There are studies.

I only caught the last ten minutes or so but my impressions were: Swalwell was an ageist little douche, Harris was pushy and rude, Williamson was a loud mouthed hippy dippy weirdo and Bernie was predictable in his Trumpian way of loudly yelling the same old talking points from 2016 over and over again. And what would the beltway media be saying this morning if Biden had responded to Harris head on and landed a (verbal) punch or two? The beltway media has already decided to make Joe wrong no matter what.

I like Biden, by he committed political malpractice the moment he brought up how well he worked with Sen. Eastland. The same goes for his remarks on busing last night: he should either have admitted his positions were wrong, or explained that by the 1970s busing was political poison. Instead he came across as an inadvertent defender of states' rights.

Not that I expected it to be any different but Dems never learned anything from the Republicans 11th commandment. None other than Steve Bannon pointed that out on Bill Maher's show: "That's why you lose." Is "this is why I should be President" leaving out "this is why Vice President Biden shouldn't" really too much to ask for? Unsurprisingly, Dems start to do Trump's work for him and the media crafts the impressions for lazy and malleable voters.

P.M., I think you’re looking at this through Biden-tinted glasses, which I’m sympathetic to because I’m looking at this through Buttigieg-tinted glasses and thought the young mayor wiped the floor with his competition. But I watched the same debate and my immediate reaction, before the peanut gallery could condition my perspective, was that the old geezers are toast. Bernie was mostly irrelevant, and Biden seemed not only flat-footed and disengaged, like Obama did in that first debate with Romney; he seemed old. Accuse me ageism all you want, but look, air traffic controllers are mandated to retire at 56, and no one accuses them of ageism. Biden struggled with verbal recall, he was slow to react, and he appeared befuddled at times. I agree that Harris took a cheap shot, but the fact that he wasn’t prepared for the obvious was a very bad showing.

We’ll see. I’m still willing to give him a chance, but yikes.

Did you watch the debate on ACA by any chance? On the progressive left it is received wisdom that it sucked because it didn't go far enough because of concessions to Republican interests and they were adamantly and universally opposed anyway. This is, of course, complete and utter nonsense. The debate and the concessions all occurred in house. The votes required to get it passed were all Democratic votes. And they included all sorts of lamentable Democrats. Some opposed abortion rights for women and public funding for abortion. Some were very much against stronger gun laws. Some were in favor of Charter schools. The list of deplorabilities and deplorables was quite extensive.

And yet somehow righteous politicians who were for abortion rights and against Charter schools and for more restrictive gun laws managed to work with these other scum they did not like and with whom they did not agree to produce ACA. Just like Joe did back in the day.

There is always a certain amount of hypocrisy attendant with being a politician. It should be in the job description. But it is still hypocrisy.

I agree with every word of this. Faced with the existential crisis of Trump, Democrats weaken themselves. They may win yet. Stranger things have happened. But me? I am mentally planning how I will survive another 4 years of Trump.

Hint: It will not be by subscribing to a newspaper.

The truly odd thing is that Trump succeeded by doing nothing but attacking the other Republican candidates.

OK. Harris has been my preference from the beginning, so I was glad to see her do well. As she and Cory Booker, and even Al Sharpton, have tried to explain to Biden, those segregationist Senators were a threat to people like them, and it hurts them to hear Biden wax nostalgic about a more civil time (civil for whom?). It hurts them on a deeply personal level. I thought it was revelatory to hear that Harris was bussed to school in Berkeley, of all places - as she said, 2 decades after the Brown decision. Justice delayed, and all that. Biden has had quite awhile to come up with a better reaction - a half-hearted "I hear you, and was not thinking about that" would suffice. But he seems to get defensive and arrogant.

No, bussing was not the answer, and has pretty much gone by the wayside, and schools are more segregated than ever. But something needed to be done - and I think it may have done a bit of good. And there are plenty of kids like Kamala for whom it worked, to get her into a better school.

Now Harris will have to defend herself against more attacks on her record. From what I have seen so far, she will be capable of doing that.

Sue in Seattle

You are absolutely right Sue. I don't really know if it did more good than mass incarceration. But it certainly did more harm. On balance it did far more harm than good. And it did the most harm to those it was supposed to help.

This I witnessed with my own eyes: Detroit. The collapse of Detroit began with what was called white flight. But that was just a fuse that was lit under economic class flight. As vacancies skyrocketed and home prices fell you, as a Detroiter, had a choice. Do you watch the value of your major asset evaporate or do you join the stampede and get out while you can? And everybody who could afford to, regardless of race, did that. It became a general rout. The poor of every color but predominantly black were left behind.

How bad did this get? In order to maintain some good jobs in the city they tried to mandate that municipal employees had to be city residents. Naturally all the city employees' unions fought valiantly against this and won. They did not have, or for the most part want, to live in the city that was giving them their paychecks and was somehow magically supposed to pay for their benefits and pensions. Oddly the same people seemed surprised when there wasn't any money to do that when Detroit went bankrupt.

Now I happen to believe that disparity in school funding was the key to the problem and not segregation per se. Busing just made the whole problem worse. But you will never get the rewriters of history to admit that Biden was right about this.

Why isn't busing used anymore? The schools that you might want to try this on are now so physically far apart you would need high speed trains to get the students there.

So what is your solution? I know that you're Canadian, but maybe you can tell us how to solve racism in America. Redlining, union discrimination also contributed to Detroit's problems.

I wound up living in a "mixed" neighborhood in Seattle, partly because it was what I could afford, but also because I wanted my child to grow up surrounded by people of other races and ethnicities. He always went to majority-minority schools. We all make choices.

Sue in Seattle

Sorry P.M. - A lot of people have been irritated by Biden doing this for years.

As a thought experiment, what does this story invoke in you when you read it?

Sick to your stomach? Angry? Outraged? Wondering how is it no one has told him to knock it off?
What if you were a Black person and knew this:

How would you feel when he did this:

Angry? Sick to your stomach? Frustrated? Wishing someone would tell him to knock it off?

You are way off the mark here.

Yes, I followed the ACA debate in 2009-10, and was sickened by the Firedoglake types who railed against its supposed inadequacies (Jane Hamsher actually called upon Democrats to vote against the bill). I remember, too, a certain Sen. Bernie Sanders appearing regularly on The Ed Show to do the same.

Of course legislating is an unholy mess, and requires compromises with all sorts of unsavory types. But if hypocrisy is the order of the day in politics, then in 2019 the smart politician avoids mentioning James Eastland. To invoke the ACA once more, wouldn’t it be considered madness if in 2048 a Democratic presidential candidate waxed nostalgic about Bart Stupak?

Should have sent these opinions to Obama about a decade ago.

But Trump wasn't really a Republican so he wasn't bound by the 11th commandment. The others were toeing the line pretty well there and fell right in line when he won. I think that's one of their other commandments.

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