‘Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people…’
Booker, struggling to gain traction in one of the last debate opportunities before primaries being in February, lit into Biden’s declaration that more research may be necessary before deciding to legalize marijuana at the federal level.
“I thought you might have been high when you said it,” he told Biden.
While the drug has gained increasing mainstream acceptance since several states decriminalized it—with many on the Left linking it to issues of criminal justice and racism—Booker likely was raising it as a last resort in the hope of shaking off his abysmal polling numbers, between 1 and 3 percent in most recent surveys.
“Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people,” Booker continued, “and it’s why the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.”
Biden took the bait, and rather than give a coherent defense of his drug policy, he launched into a tone-deaf response on his support within the black community. Even the far-left Mother Jones was appalled in its recap of the exchange.
“I come out of the black community,” Biden said.
“I have more people supporting me in the Black community because they know me, they know who I am,” he continued. “Three former chairs of the Black Caucus, the only African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, a whole range of people.”
Although Biden was, presumably, referring to former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley–Braun, another of his Democratic opponents onstage, Sen. Kamala Harris, was quick to correct him.
Biden misspeaks and says he had support from “the only African-American woman that had ever been elected to the United States Senate,” before correcting that he meant “first.”
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 21, 2019
Some have argued that Harris’s privileged upbringing as the daughter of college professors who were of Jamaican and subcontinental Indian descent makes her appropriation of the African–American experience problematic at best.
However, Biden—who has a long history of gaffes—said he simply misspoke.
Even so, media pundits from both the Right and Left panned the former vice president’s lackluster showing.
“Are we afraid to say that a lot of his sentences don’t make sense—that he’s having trouble completing thoughts?” asked MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a frequent Trump critic, on his Thursday morning show, according to The Week.
One of Biden’s former Obama administration colleagues, David Axelrod, was even harsher, referencing the comically blind and feeble cartoon character Mr. Magoo, according to Fox News.
“Biden, I wouldn’t say that he was a house of fire in any of the debates that we’ve been to,” Axelrod said on CNN. “And yet he comes—kind of bumps along, kind of Mr. Magoo-ing his way through this.”
Chris Martin, communications director for the conservative America Rising PAC, compiled a montage of Biden blunders and criticism from left-wing mainstream media sites about his “no good, very bad night” a day after writing that the stakes couldn’t be higher for Biden.
Recently, Biden has been eyeball-deep in criticism for his involvement in a Ukraine conspiracy that ultimately compelled Democrats to launch an impeachment probe against President Donald Trump for pressuring the country’s new president to investigate.
But while Democrats have largely ignored the parallels between Trump’s alleged quid-pro-quo arrangement and those made by Biden during the Obama administration, they have been less forgiving on the front-runner’s other vulnerabilities.
Both Booker and Harris have gone after Biden’s complicated relationship with racial politics in the past.
Biden has polled well ahead of other Democrats in the race within the black community—largely due to familiarity and name-recognition from his role in the Obama administration. But fellow left-wingers have criticized him for working with pro-segregationist Democrats early in his career and resisting bus policies that would have expedited school integration.
“There’s a saying in my community—you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor,” Booker told Biden during the July debate, as reported by The Hill.
He was likely referencing the Newark, New Jersey, black community—although Booker, the son of IBM executives, graduated from Stanford University, received a Rhodes Scholarship and later attended Yale Law School.
TMZ reported Thursday that Martin Luther King III also snubbed Biden while applauding Booker and Harris during a post-debate discussion. The debate took place in his famous father’s hometown of Atlanta.