Friday, October 12, 2012

Reagan on Biden: 'Smooth But Pure Demagogue'

Jeffrey Lord
Gipper accused VP of being part of "lynch mob."

Ronald Reagan was not impressed with Joe Biden.

In fact, writing in his diary in his usual abbreviated style on June 15, 1987, Reagan described Biden this way:

He's smooth but pure demagog [sic]-- out to save Am. [America] from Reagan Doctrine.

That was a year after Reagan made a note about Biden and Senators Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum, who were busy making "vitriolic attacks on TV" about Reagan's nominee for Chief Justice of the United States, then Associate Justice William Rehnquist. Wrote Reagan:

They really are a lynch mob.

As America settles in tonight to watch now-Vice President Biden face off in debate with Congressman Paul Ryan, whom no one has ever accused of being either a "smooth but pure demagogue" much less part of "a lynch mob," it's worth a look at exactly why the nation's 40th president saw Biden this way -- and how Reagan's assessment is reflected in the conduct of today's Obama-Biden administration. Reagan never recorded of Biden as he is seen by many today -- as a gaffe-prone fool.

Reagan's point was that no matter the issue -- it could have been the Reagan Doctrine one day or the confirmation of Reagan appointees the next day (on one occasion Biden smilingly told a nominee for an obscure government board, "by my definition you are a racist") or something else the day after -- Joe Biden was always there to play the role of the "smooth but pure demagogue" -- the hot headed guy in the leftist political lynch mob brandishing the rope.

For Americans who have watched with alternating amusement and incredulity, this is precisely the trait that Biden has repeatedly displayed in the four years of his vice presidency. This is exactly what was going on when Biden took to a Danville, Virginia podium back in August and bellowed to a largely African-American audience:

"Look at what they [Republicans] value, and look at their budget. And look what they're proposing. [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks write their own rules -- unchain Wall Street. They're going to put y'all back in chains."

It was what was going on in Iowa the other day when Biden pushed his class-warfare theme by saying:

"...we're going to ask the wealthy to pay more. My heart breaks. Come on, man."

To be a demagogue, of course, is to exhibit a personality trait not a policy. To appeal to prejudice. There is more to all of this Biden demagoguery than just the theatrical performance of personality and appeals to prejudice. In the Reagan-era Biden used -- still uses today as Obama's Number two -- the tools of a demagogue to push specific policies. And he has three policy favorites in which his addiction to demagoguery most frequently surface: foreign policy, race, and economics.

In matters of foreign policy, as Reagan noted with Biden's opposition to the Reagan Doctrine, Joe Biden was and is still today as Barack Obama's vice president a thorough-going partisan of left-wing, quasi-pacifist foreign policy precepts that effectively date to FDR's discredited (and dumped) Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace lost out to Harry Truman, his policies losing out both with post-World War II Democrats and with the country at large in the election of 1948.

But the same far-left foreign policy principles of Wallace finally took over the Democrats with the ascension of South Dakota Senator George McGovern as the Democrats' nominee in 1972. McGovern had been a Wallace disciple, a delegate to the 1948 Progressive Party that nominated Wallace for president to oppose Truman. And it was in 1972, when McGovern-Democrats swarmed the party apparatus, that an ambitious 29-year old lawyer -- Biden -- took on the aging Republican Senator Caleb Boggs of Delaware and beat him in an upset.

Reagan specifically noted that Biden was opposed to the Reagan Doctrine.

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