CNN: Republicans May Work With ‘Fundamentally Honest’ Biden Because He’s White, Unlike Obama

On Friday night, CNN journalists were again stretching to inject race into issues and to portray Republicans as racists as White House correspondent John Harwood speculated that congressional Republicans might work better with a President Joe Biden because he is white, unlike President Obama.

CNN Tonight host Don Lemon responded by thanking Harwood for bringing up the race angle so he didn’t have to.

After Lemon delivered a rambling question wondering how President Biden would manage to work successfully with Republicans in spite of factors that might undermine the effort, Harwood went directly to race:

Well, I think your skepticism is well justified, and the record of the last 12 years is one of blowtorch opposition from Republicans to Democratic presidents. There are a couple of things that are different this time. First of all, though, Joe Biden is a white man. Barack Obama’s race played a role in the intensity of the grassroots and the opposition in Washington to what he was trying to do, so that makes a difference.

After suggesting that Biden’s temperament would also make him more successful, Harwood then shifted to attacking Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans by alluding to fellow panel member, Susan Glasser’s recent column in The New Yorker. Here’s Harwood:

In a terrific piece, she poses the point, either President Trump believes what he says, in which case he is crazy, or he is ice cold cynical and trying to peddle these lies to his benefit. I think we shouldn’t forget that Ted Cruz, in 2016 Republican primary, squared that circle. And what he said was, “Donald Trump is a pathological liar,” but the moment those lies come out of his lips, he adopts them as his beliefs.

He then added:

And what we’ve seen is that many Republicans are willing to do the precisely the same thing. I think Joe Biden is going to set an entirely different tone. He’s fundamentally an honest person — he’s fundamentally a decent person. And we’ll see whether honesty and decency and rationality cuts any ice with some increment of Republican Senators necessary to get things done.

Lauding Harwood’s analysis, Lemon responded:

Boy, what a great conversation this was, and, John, I’m glad you said that first part about Joe Biden being a white man. I didn’t want to go there, but, I mean, they feel like he’s one of them — he’s Joe, you know, from the old days, so maybe they may want to work with him. And if that’s the reason they work with him, then so be it. I hope it happens.

Neither seemed to give any thought to the contentious relationship that existed between the last white Democratic President, Bill Clinton, and congressional Republicans who ended up impeaching him.

This episode of CNN Tonight was sponsored in part by Transitions. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript is below:

CNN

CNN Tonight

December 4, 2020

11:07 p.m.

DON LEMON: So, John, listen — and every time I ask this question, I don’t want it to come off the wrong way, and I’ve been told I sound like I’m the biggest skeptic and that I’m a Debbie Downer. I just — I hope that it does work. No, I really do. I hope that Joe Biden can work with the other side. But given everything that Susan (Glasser) just said — given everything that Ron (Brownstein) just said, how does he do it?

How does — I hope it works, I really do. But how does he work with, you know, Republican legislators who are wanting to turn over and da da da da da? I hope he can do it, again, let me just say for anyone who’s watching — but I have also been doing this job for the last 12 years, and I see what’s happening. Go on.

JOHN HARWOOD: Well, I think your skepticism is well justified, and the record of the last 12 years is one of blowtorch opposition from Republicans to Democratic presidents. There are a couple of things that are different this time. First of all, though, Joe Biden is a white man. Barack Obama’s race played a role in the intensity of the grassroots and the opposition in Washington to what he was trying to do, so that makes a difference.

Secondly, temperamentally, he’s very well suited to make the attempt, and he’s put every foot right so far in trying to turn down the temperature — drain the energy from some of the animus. We saw that in his interview with Jake Tapper, where he was expressing understanding with Republican Senators, the position they’re in, why they haven’t come out publicly. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work, but at least he’s in a position to make the attempt. 

I do want to button up in one sense the point that Susan was making. In a terrific piece, she poses the point, either President Trump believes what he says, in which case he is crazy, or he is ice cold cynical and trying to peddle these lies to his benefit. I think we shouldn’t forget that Ted Cruz, in 2016 Republican primary, squared that circle. And what he said was, “Donald Trump is a pathological liar,” but the moment those lies come out of his lips, he adopts them as his beliefs.

And what we’ve seen is that many Republicans are willing to do the precisely the same thing. I think Joe Biden is going to set an entirely different tone. He’s fundamentally an honest person — he’s fundamentally a decent person. And we’ll see whether honesty and decency and rationality cuts any ice with some increment of Republican Senators necessary to get things done.

LEMON: Boy, what a great conversation this was, and, John, I’m glad you said that first part about Joe Biden being a white man. I didn’t want to go there, but, I mean, they feel like he’s one of them — he’s Joe, you know, from the old days, so maybe they may want to work with him. And if that’s the reason they work with him, then so be it. I hope it happens.

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