What We Can Take From The Leaked Biden Audio
He may be impressed with himself, but nobody else should be.
Joe Biden has been telling us who he is for a long time, but some seem to be confused about it. Conveniently, Biden does a fantastic job here of summing up just who he is for anyone who might be unsure, all in the course of one Zoom meeting. Although Biden likely would have preferred for this call to remain private so he could use it to point to the time he met with civil rights leaders throughout the next four years, someone had the foresight to record it for posterity.
The first thing to point out here is that nobody should be surprised. He’s not actually shy about where he stands, even his “restoring the soul of the nation” schtick gives it away. He doesn’t really want to change anything, he just wants to get our nice American family back together, like the good old days.
This is the same problem shown by his cabinet picks, which all seem to be career D.C. “swamp monsters.” The view gets even darker when you consider that his solution to people having a problem with warmonger Michèle Flournoy as Secretary of Defense was to seek the necessary waiver, and pick former general Lloyd Austin, currently on the Board of Directors at Raytheon. He also apparently thought Neera Tanden, who apparently worries about the cost of “overtreating” cancer, would be a gift to AOC and her supporters. These are the kinds of things that show us that he thinks we don’t really need to change anything, we just need to get back on the path we were on before 2016.
Something that’s hard not to notice throughout the meeting is the narcissism Biden displays. Perhaps the most telling was the claim of having “more of a record of getting things done in the United States Congress than anybody you know,” which is questionable even if just taken at face value, but much more so when you consider the kinds of things he seems to be so proud of getting done. I wonder if he’s more proud of the Crime Bill, the PATRIOT Act, working with segregationists, cheering on and voting for the war in Iraq, or cutting Social Security?
When someone voiced concern about a lack of progress, his reply was, “you shouldn’t be disappointed, what I’ve done so far is more than anybody else has done this far.” Apparently he thinks we should be happy with performative liberal identity politics. This is further evidenced by his “if it doesn’t count for y’all, well, to hell with y’all” spiel, in which he continues to seem to suggest that civil rights leaders should be happy with the diversity in his staff alone. This is the same kind of attitude behind many failed police reforms and attempts at “affirmative action.”
He bragged about winning the election on “three platforms” one of which was “restoring the soul of this country because of what I saw happen in Charlottesville,” and claimed that “no one else was talking about it.” That is demonstrably false, even if he’s just talking about politicians. Furthermore, in light of how this comes up around the same time as his statement that “the words of presidents matter,” this implies another almost-direct admission that all we can expect is performative identity politics. While it is certainly better to have a president who says that racism is bad, as opposed to one who openly runs on it, words are not enough.
Please note the use of the word “performative.” There are real issues of race, gender, and other things that often get swept aside as “identity politics,” and when politicians engage in these kinds of theatrics, it makes it that much easier to ignore the real problems. While it may be easy to give him credit for at least drawing attention to certain issues, if nothing is done to change the system that causes them, nothing will change.
Speaking of nothing changing, his statements on where he stands with the issue of policing were problematic as well. When he said, “we’re not [talking about defunding police], we’re talking about holding them accountable,” that was a clear indication that he has no intention of doing anything any differently than what has been tried in the past. We have further evidence of this as well, in his call to “get police more money” for the “god-awful problems” he thinks that they experience. We’ve tried his idea of “reform” before, and it turns out it actually adds to the problem. The worst part of this is knowing that people like Biden and Harris have access to the same research as the rest of us, but they clearly care more about appealing to conservatives and the false ‘“law & order” narrative. Biden said “it matters how we do it,” and he’s right. The evidence just shows that his idea of how we should do it is wrong.
For the record, he’s also wrong about it the idea of defunding police costing Democrats wins they were hoping for during the election. As Krystal Ball pointed out on Rising, perceived alignment with Nancy Pelosi (who Biden seems to support) and Democratic party corruption were bigger problems.
The way Biden talked down to the others at that meeting reveals a lot about him, and the substance of what he said reveals a lot about what we can expect from his presidency, which apparently isn’t much of anything good.