In my post assessing Joe Biden's candidacy yesterday, I registered my surprise at the darkness of his rollout video's tone and themes. The very first word of the clip is "Charlottesville," and much of the subsequent content featured images and audio from that terrible 2017 weekend. Biden reportedly wanted to launch his campaign with a rally in that city, but his team pulled the plug on that idea when some residents expressed concerns about politicizing those events. One might imagine that Biden's brain trust would have realized that weighing community sentiment and buy-in would be an important component of planning any such address, but it seems like they were forced to scrap their idea to dodge a potentially-avoidable controversy. Having endured that (mostly) behind-the-scenes drama, one might also imagine that because they were going to lean so heavily into the Charlottesville narrative in their first public communication about a brand new campaign, they would have been extra careful about their approach. For instance, surely they would have had the good sense to check in with the family of the young woman who was killed by a white supremacist in that awful melee prior to featuring her memory in a partisan video, right? Wrong:
Not a good look from Joe Biden at all. Heather Heyer's mom, Susan Bro, is on CNN talking about how Biden didn't even contact her before making Heather -- who was murdered in Charlottesville in 2017 -- the centerpiece of his campaign-opening video. pic.twitter.com/bIpYKwgPbZ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 26, 2019
This is political malpractice, plain and simple. A big, unforced, unthinking, amateurish error on literally the first public manifestation of Biden's presidential campaign. A large team had been building toward yesterday's announcement for months. How did this happen? And on a related issue of preparedness and professionalism, how could this happen?
One reason I expect Biden and his team wanted to go on #TheView was to address the issues of touching and Anita Hill, but Biden seemed to be a bit at a loss responding to both questions.— James Oliphant (@jamesoliphant) April 26, 2019
This was an utterly inevitable line of questioning, yet Uncle Joe seemed a bit flummoxed during his answers, which should have been crisp and carefully-considered. Was any preparation done ahead of any of this? On the Anita Hill matter, may I again remind you that every other woman from the office who testified at Justice Thomas' confirmation hearing backed Thomas, and that the FBI agents involved in the case exposed her contradictions and dishonesty:
In fact, it was less "he said, she said" than "they said, she said." Not a single colleague of Hill's came forward to support her allegations. In stark contrast, the very last panel heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee featured eight women, seven of whom had worked with Thomas at the EEOC, the Department of Education, and in Senator John Danforth's office...Each was given three minutes to speak, and each of them forcefully rejected the charges. Johnson, herself the victim of sexual harassment at a previous job, offered the most powerful testimony...In her initial meeting with FBI agents, she omitted many of the salacious details that later exploded in the Senate confirmation hearings. As Hill presented a much more scandalous story to the Senate Judiciary Committee, senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, and Arlen Specter had questions about why her story had changed so dramatically. "I did not tell the FBI all of the information," Hill replied to Specter, because the "FBI agent made clear that if I were embarrassed about talking about something, that I could decline to discuss things that were too embarrassing, but that I could provide as much information as I felt comfortable with at that time." But her account was immediately disputed by both of the FBI agents who had interviewed her, Special Agents Jolene Smith Jameson and John B. Luton, who observed her Senate testimony and then filed statements detailing what they described as Hill's untruthfulness.
When the Anita Hill- Clarence Thomas hearings played out in '91, public opinion sided strongly with Thomas. In a 10/91 NBC/WSJ poll, support for confirming Thomas was 62-28% -- and nearly twice as many said they had gained respect for Thomas than lost it during the hearings.— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) April 26, 2019
I'll leave you with a ready-made rejoinder to the coming attack blasts over the 1994 crime bill, which many on the progressive Left regard as racist:
For those judging Joe Biden re. 1994 Crime Bill, some context:— Charles Lane (@ChuckLane1) April 26, 2019
In 1993 87% of public (Gallup) said crime was higher than 3 yrs previously
Murder rate was 9/100K pop, i.e., 2x today
in 1/94 49% said crime was top US problem (2% today)
58% nonwhites SUPPORTED bill (Gallup)
It's awfully early, and it's too soon to make any grand pronouncements, but this has been a rocky rollout thus far. This is some decent news for him, at least:
NEWS: Joe Biden campaign says he raised $6.3 million in first 24 hours, topping Beto and Bernie.— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) April 26, 2019
— 96,926 donors