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Carroll County Times Opinion

Chris Roemer: President Biden and the politics of expedience | COMMENTARY

Standing on the Senate floor when still a senator, Joe Biden made an impassioned speech against ending the filibuster. He announced the words he would speak that day would constitute “one of the most important speeches for historical purposes that I will have given in the 32 years since I have been in the Senate.”

Biden argued forcefully that ending the filibuster would “eviscerate the Senate and turn it into the House of Representatives.”

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He said, “It is not only a bad idea, it upsets the constitutional design and it disservices the country.”

If the filibuster is eliminated, Biden argued, “no longer would the Senate be that different kind of legislative body that the Founders intended.”

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He said, “The Senate ought not act rashly by changing its rules to satisfy a strong-willed majority acting in the heat of the moment.

“Proponents of the nuclear option argue that their proposal is simply the latest iteration of a growing trend towards majoritarianism in the Senate. God save us from that fate,” he said.

Then, just few months ago, President Biden said, “I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking actions on voting rights.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, a newly elected Sen. Biden said, “I don’t like the decision. I think it went too far,” adding that a woman did not have “the sole right to say what should happen to her body” when carrying an unborn child.

Last week, Biden said, “We have to codify Roe v. Wade into law. If the filibuster gets in the way, we should provide an exception to the filibuster to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”

It seems President Biden is adamantly opposed to eliminating the filibuster, which he sees as absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the Senate and our democracy, except when it gets in the way of Democrats getting what they want.

In 2001, concerning Afghanistan, President Biden said, “Our hope is that we will see a relatively stable government in Afghanistan.”

In 2003, he said, “The alternative to nation building is chaos, a chaos that churns out bloodthirsty warlords, drug traffickers and terrorists.”

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Then, last year, he said, “Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interests in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland. I’ve argued for many years that our mission should be narrowly focused on counter terrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation building.”

In 1993, during a Senate speech about crime, President Biden said, “We have predators on our streets that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created . . . they are beyond the pale many of those people, beyond the pale. And it’s a sad commentary on society. We have no choice but to take them out of society . . . a cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally . . . because they literally have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity . . . we should focus on them now . . . if we don’t, they will, or a portion of them, will become the predators 15 years from now.”

He went on to say, “The consensus is … we must take back the streets. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents, it doesn’t matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth. It doesn’t matter whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society. The end result is they’re about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons.”

Finally, he declared, “I don’t care why someone is a malefactor in society. I don’t care why someone is antisocial. I don’t care why they’ve become a sociopath. We have an obligation to cordon them off from the rest of society.”

Then, running for president, Biden’s campaign website stated:

“Today, too many people are incarcerated in the United States – and too many of them are black and brown. To build safe and healthy communities, we need to rethink who we’re sending to jail, how we treat those in jail, and how we help them get the health care, education, jobs, and housing they need to successfully rejoin society after they serve their time. As president, Joe Biden will strengthen America’s commitment to justice and reform our criminal justice system.”

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In the words of author, Nitya Prakash, “If you can abandon your principles for convenience, or social acceptability, then they are not your principles. They are your costume.”

Chris Roemer is a retired banker and educator who resides in Finksburg. He can be contacted at chrisroemer1960@gmail.com


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