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Columnist Eli Galiano provides a new perspective on Joe Biden going into this election season. 

I was born in 1998 — 25 years after the 30-year-old Joe Biden was first sworn into the Senate in 1973. This was 11 years after Biden and his mentor, the Demagogue of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, decided to turn Supreme Court nominations into circus theater featuring  “back-ally abortion” provocations and a “Spartacus moment.” This was also 10 years after Biden’s failed 1988 presidential bid due to academic record lies and law school and campaign speech plagiarism, and seven years after he botched the Anita Hill hearings. I’ve only been around for the second act of his political show and an examination of it might give some Gen Z-ers a new perspective on “Uncle Joe.”

Let’s start in 2012 with the disappearance of his friendly, empathetic, admirable persona. For what was historically a professional, presidential-level debate, Biden adopted an aggressive, laughing, interrupting, win-at-all-costs brand of politics that’s been his modus operandi ever since. In 2016, Biden was a favorite Clinton surrogate and made waves by saying he wanted to “take [Trump] behind the gym.” He cemented himself as a democratic folk hero, even willing to get violent. 

But during this 2020 election season Biden has been fighting off racist allegations for using the term “boy” in what some have called a questionable way. He did so when he told a story during a recent campaign rally about having to work with segregationist senators in the ’70s as a call to return to “civility” in politics. Attacks from once political allies also vying for the presidential job rushed in. Sen. Cory Booker called his comments “hurtful,” racially insensitive and said he’s “not sure VP Biden is up to that task [race reconciliation].” 

Sen. Kamala Harris confronted him at last week’s debate, saying, “I do not believe you are a racist … but,” and went on to scathe him for his segregationist remarks and former anti-busing stance in the ’70’s. Biden’s face during the exchange portrayed the grimace anyone would have while fiercely defending themselves from vile, racist accusations. Biden rejected both attacks from Booker and Harris and affirms his comments were taken out of context, especially after a career-long advocation of civil rights. He asserted he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, “period, period, period.” 

Yet, after the week he spent condemning what he’s implied is race-baiting from political opponents, he had the gall to say Trump’s immigration plans have a “racist incentive,” essentially calling the President a racist. But Biden’s also on the record saying to a predominantly black audience, “[Republicans are] gonna put you all back in chains” — damnable, demagogic race-baiting from a man accusing others of such. To my Gen Z-ers, Biden isn’t the aviator-wearing, ice cream-eating, meme-generating old friend he’s known to be. He’s a vicious, ruthless, power-hungry politician and must be vetted as such.

Biden’s a rich man wielding enormous power who’s done serious damage to our country over almost 50 years. He’s worth millions — $200,000 in speaking fees, private jets, etc. Yet, he’s claiming to represent average Americans’ best interests and calls himself “Middle-Class Joe” even as he’s currently renting a $20,000-a-month mansion. But he still postulates the idea of “the rich” being the problem in America without bothering to look in the mirror. Almost like a snake oil salesman, he’s tearing the country apart with race-baiting and class warfare in the name of bringing us “together.” He’s launched a third and final bid for a fifth, dream home, the White House.

Apparently, Biden’s going to tame and civilize a political system he played a major role in screwing up throughout his long, self-serving career full of incendiary rhetoric. Biden claims to be a “moderate,” but it’s a facade. He allowed gridlock to flood our politics, let our national debt skyrocket $18 trillion since ’73, avoided anarchy at our border and says Trump’s racist for trying to fix it. Furthermore, he missed on stable, bipartisan health care and entitlement reforms, and presided over a reckless, dangerous and unclear foreign policy in the Middle East. His record isn’t moderate or liberal. It’s just plain dumb — that’s Biden’s legacy.

I’m not even going into the alleged skinny dipping around female secret service agents and his cringe-worthy touchiness of girls around the country and at Senate swearing in ceremonies. But when he’s been there since 1973, it’s kind of like it’s his own playground, only we pay for it. We know Biden doesn’t drink, but maybe he’s drunk off a lifetime of power.

Biden is living proof: “The road to power is paved with casualties and hypocrisy.” His hypocrisy reeks. He’s a lifelong political hitman and needs 24 more kills before the final act — a tall task. However, don’t feel remorse if he loses; he understands politics is a rough business.

Eli Galiano is a senior political science major. Contact Eli at galianes@dukes.jmu.edu.