Joe Biden's Biggest Gaffe Yet: 'Poor Kids are Just as Bright and Just as Talented as White Kids'


Back in June, when Joseph Robinette Biden decided to use his work with a pair of notorious Jim Crow-loving Dixiecrats back in the 1970s as an example of the bipartisan civility he could bring back to Washington, veteran ABC newsman Sam Donaldson declared it was “a mother of gaffes to use two Southern segregationist senators as an example.”

“Where is he living? He wants to be president of the United States in 2021 so he goes back to 1970 and says look there,” Donaldson said. “That’s wrong, Joe, and I think he knows it now.”

Does he really, Mr. Donaldson? Because if what happened Thursday night is any indication, no, he definitely doesn’t.

I’m sure there’s no voter who pays attention to these sorts of things who doesn’t already know that former Vice President Joe Biden is a gaffe machine.

Those voters also know some of those gaffes often have to do with his slightly problematic and unconsidered language on race. (“You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”)

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Everyone had kind of figured that was factored into the market, so to speak. The Democratic presidential candidate still maintains a comfortable lead in the polls, if just because polls generally aren’t taken in the overnight hours. We thought we knew the extent of the gaffery.

And then, on a summer’s eve in Des Moines, Iowa — speaking before an Asian and Latino Coalition town hall on education, of all places, according to the New York Post — the market conditions markedly changed.

“We should challenge students in these schools and have advanced placement programs in these schools. We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it,” said to the audience.

“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Realizing his mistake, Biden dug himself deeper: “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids. No, I really mean it.”

Joe, I’m certain you’re going to be spending the next few days telling us how you didn’t really mean it, but whatever. There you have it: You have poor kids and you have white kids.

I’m sure minorities and underprivileged Caucasians are going to love hearing that one. That’s inspiring “Stand and Deliver” kind of stuff.

There were plenty of social media takes on this, as you can no doubt imagine:

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As someone looking in from the outside on the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, you have to wonder what the straw that breaks the camel’s back is. I suppose liberals could compare Biden’s gaffes to controversial things that President Donald Trump has said and call them inconsequential.

Do you think Joe Biden will win the 2020 Democrat nomination?

But then, where’s the appeal? Do people remember the youthful Biden who was the future of the party in 1982 or so? He was just as gaffe-prone then and he hadn’t reached the point of doddering torpidity he’s at today. Say what you will about Trump, he doesn’t lack for energy, which is why the “Sleepy Joe” moniker stings.

Do they see electability? Have fun explaining “poor kids are just as bright, just as talented, as white kids” and the various other idiocies yet to come, all while Biden tries to paint the president as an unrepentant racist who shares blame for the El Paso mass shooting.

Do they see a moderate? Whatever vestiges of moderation remain in Biden’s political character seem to get chipped away after every gaffe like this, as the former vice president under the Obama administration — did he mention that he was Obama’s vice president? Because he was definitely Obama’s vice president, in case he hadn’t told you 1,246 times already — becomes conspicuously more liberal to prove he couldn’t really have meant anything that retrograde. With his frequent adventures into gaffeland, that means he’s going to end up somewhere to the left of Noam Chomsky by the time the New Hampshire primary comes around.

For Democrats who don’t think Biden’s gaffes are important, let me use one of the former VP’s quotes: “This is a big f—ing deal.”

If you’re a liberal, he is the thorn without the rose, a man bereft of all charisma or new ideas but given to saying things he definitely shouldn’t. He’s supposedly a safe pick who frequently utters very unsafe things, a man whose electability hinges on the fact the other frontrunners are too far to the left for independent voters. And he’s your way to get back into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?

If Donaldson thought June was “a mother of gaffes,” he should have just waited two months.

And if you think this is the mother of gaffes in terms of Biden’s campaign, I’d urge you to keep waiting, too.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture