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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/23/19

Joe Biden's 'Gaffes' Are Much Bigger Problem for Democrats Than Embarrassment

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JOE BIDEN: We have to make sure every single child does in fact have three-, four-, and five-year-olds go to school. School, not daycare, school. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It's not that they don't want to help, they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure that the television, excuse me. Make sure you have the record player on at night. Make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school or a very poor background, will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: So breakdown the issue for us here. What was the problem with what Biden said during the last debate about the record player?

RYAN COOPER: Yeah, sure. So the question here from the moderator, was to bring up an old comment of Biden's in which he just said, "I'm not going to do anything about the legacy of slavery, and it's not my fault what happened 300 years ago," something like that. There has been a push, both academically and in a lot of the popular press, The New York Times, looking at the legacy of slavery, which absolutely does continue to this day. Why is there an income gap between black and white? Slavery is a big part of that. And so, in response to this question and saying, have you rethought anything, Biden goes on this rambling non-sequitur type response, and the implication with the record player comment was to, number one, repeat this very semi-discredited study that poor people don't talk to their kids very much and that there's this huge word gap.

A recent effort to replicate that study did not pan out. So it's discredited or semi-mythological research. But on the other hand, the implication is that black people don't know how to raise their kids, and that they need to be instructed by Joe Biden to turn on the record player. By the way, who has a record player nowadays? And I guess those are coming back, but you look at differences in educational attainment and differences in wealth and income, as I was saying previously. And the overwhelming reason for those things and why poor black children and poor white children as well do less well academically is because they are poor. Because they have less access to material resources, and not because nobody told them how to turn on the record player at night. And so Biden is just wildly out of step. This is just an ignorant take and a way to blame poor people for what happens to their children rather than the unequal society, basically.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: So the reality is that poor people, and particularly poor black people because his response was in context to a question about have his views changed on what America can do to address the legacy of slavery. So the issue is not that the legacy of slavery is that black people don't know how to raise their children and they don't talk to their children, so they need the record player on at night so their children can hear words. The actual legacy of slavery that America needs to address is that we have to address the actual legacy of slavery in income and wealth inequalities, housing inequalities, education inequalities, all of those inequalities that are actually and he didn't say any of those things. He talked about turning the record player on at night. You mentioned something else in regard to the record player specifically in your article, that I think a lot of people missed. What is that in reference to?

RYAN COOPER: Oh, that. So it's hard to parse this because he did mention the word study, something about 4 million words, but then the record player thing, it seemed to be that he was saying that it was about keeping the record player on at night. And that sounds like a reference to this urban legend that playing Mozart while your baby is sleeping is going to turn them into a super genius. And that's just nonsense, but it's still very common to see that. You look up YouTube, go to Baby Mozart or whatever. It's like, "Oh yes, 10 IQ points, 20 IQ points if you're listening to classical music." Come on, this is a goofy, woo-woo nonsense. You don't become smart by listening to stuff when you're asleep.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: I mean, I tried actually, and people can certainly argue as to my level ofAnyway, so let's move on about Joe Biden's comments. This is so much fun and it shouldn't be. That's where I think we want to go with this conversation because in the moment where he became testy in his response in the debate, he started talking about Venezuela when his time was up.

LINSEY DAVIS, MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

JOE BIDEN: There's so much weNo, I'm going to go like the rest of them do. Twice over, okay? Because here's the deal. The deal is that we've got this a little backwards. And by the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I've confronted Maduro. Number two, you talk about the need to do something in Latin America. I'm the guy that came up with $740 million to see to it those three countries in fact changed their system so people don't have a chance to leave. You're all acting like we just discovered this yesterday.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: What was the issue with his comments about Venezuela? Because they also seemed off.

RYAN COOPER: That one, so this was again in response to the question about the legacy of slavery, and then he just, after the moderator says, "Thank you, Joe," he just completely switched gears and returned to a topic that had already been hashed out. He just sort rambled a lot about how he knew Maduro, and we know how to deal with this, and then brought up the refugee crisis that's coming from Central America and that doesn't really have anything to do with Venezuela. But then he also said that we should be letting more refugees in from Venezuela. But the overwhelming impression, and I guess what matters about this comment, is that you were just like, "Dude, what are you talking about?" It's the kind of thing where someone's like" they're half senile or they're very drunk or something like that, and they just sort of start rambling incoherently about something that nobody brought up and you're like, "Man, where did you come up with it? Why are you talking about this?" And it just doesn't speak well to his mental state.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: Yes. Especially if you want to try to give Joe Biden some type of credit, as many in the corporate media tried to do with his comment about Venezuela. I think Joe Scarborough the next day went on a tirade about how evil Maduro is. Okay, that's fine if that's the argument you want to take to try to give him some type of legitimacy in his comments. But what he didn't do in that moment was mention actual US policy, that he could have mentioned, that framed a discussion about Venezuela, and perhaps immigration arguably. That would have made his comments more legitimate, but he didn't mention anything about US sanctions against Venezuela. He didn't mention anything about the United States trying to implement a coup in Venezuela and install a person that no one in Venezuela elected as their leader. He just did what you mentioned in your article, was to basically have people sit there and say, "Dude, what are you talking about?"

RYAN COOPER: Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, that was the overwhelming takeaway because the discussion had completely moved on, and it was like, "Why are you bringing this up?" But yeah, on the substance of the matter, the best thing that the United States could do for Venezuela would just be to remove all these sanctions and so forth that are helping to strangle the Venezuelan economy. And you would say ideally you could try to broker some sort of arrangement between all the various squabbling factions there, as Norway has been trying to do, and did successfully in Columbia some years ago. But the United States for a lot of very well justified reasons, doesn't have a lot of trust in the region. So that maybe wouldn't be appropriate. But yeah, on the substance of the matter, in addition to just bringing it up out of nowhere, Biden just he doesn't know what he's talking about.

JACQUELINE LUQMAN: So let me ask you these last two questions. Now, after this debate, there was the issue with the Corn Pop comment.

JOE BIDEN: And he ran a bunch of bad boys, and I didAnd back in those days, to show things have changed, one of the things you had to use if you used Pomade in your hair, you had to wear a baby cap. And so he was up on the board, wouldn't listen to me. I said, "Hey Esther. You. Off the board, or I'll come up and drag you off." Well, he came off and he said, "I'll meet you outside." My car this was mostlyThese were all public housing behind it. My car there was a gate out here. I parked my car outside the gate and he said, "I'll be waiting for you." He was waiting there with three guys and straight razors. Not a joke.

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