Joe Biden’s rhetoric during his speech in Atlanta on voting rights, in which he said anyone who opposes nixing the filibuster or federalizing elections is on the side of racists, has received some bipartisan criticism for going too far.
However, one surprising source of criticism came from former Obama advisor David Axelrod, who said Biden’s rhetoric wasn’t “particularly useful.”
“Part of the issue here is that this has become oversimplified, in many ways,” CNN host Erin Burnett suggested to Axelrod. “They know that there is a right, that there is a wrong, that there’s the side that’s right, and there’s the side of being racist, and it’s just that simple. And that seems to be part of the problem.”
“I don’t think the president’s rhetoric in Atlanta was particularly useful,” Axelrod replied.
Axelrod was correct, but it was a surprising answer from the former advisor to Barack Obama, who played the race card throughout his presidential campaigns and presidency. While running for president, he accused those who didn’t support him of being racist.
“Nobody thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face. So what they are going to try to do is make you scared of me,” Obama claimed in his stump speech. “You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all of those other presidents on the dollar bills.”
Obama repeatedly played the race card throughout his presidency, from the early days when he accused a white cop of “acting stupidly,” for arresting a black Harvard professor for disorderly conduct, to when he inappropriately racialized the Trayvon Marton incident by saying, “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Any chance he had to fan the flames of racial division, he did. And he hasn’t stopped since leaving the White House.
I suppose it’s better late than never for Axelrod to admit that the race card isn’t useful, but why didn’t he realize this during the Obama years? Had Axelrod advised Obama to stop playing the race card all the time, perhaps America wouldn’t be as racially divided today.