Joe Biden proved yet again that he is not the future of the Democratic party on Thursday when he remarked at University of Nebraska at Omaha that Vice President Mike Pence is a “decent guy.” Yeah, that Pence, the one who supports gay conversion therapy and plays Igor to Trump’s Dr. Frankenstein (though the president himself definitely could not complete a doctorate).
At the Chuck Hagel Forum in Global Leadership on Thursday, the former vice president mentioned the frosty reception to Pence’s speech at the Munich Security Conference, as CNN reports.
“The fact of the matter is it was followed on by a guy [Pence] who’s a decent guy, our vice president, who stood before this group of allies and leaders and said, ‘I’m here on behalf of President Trump,’ and there was dead silence. Dead silence,” Biden noted.
The possible 2020 hopeful also discussed the Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un at the forum (“The president treats everything like a real estate deal”), but his passing comment about Pence was the line that stuck out to most, particularly critics on the left.
Unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate and prominent queer activist Cynthia Nixon criticized Biden for tacitly endorsing Pence’s homophobic views. The Scranton native responded to her via Twitter:
A silver lining for Biden—he did get some praise from Senator Lindsey Graham! That’s an endorsement sure to score him a place on the Democratic ticket!
CNN’s resident hack Chris Cillizza (who kind of sucks, in case you weren’t aware) chalks up Biden’s comment about Pence to being a politician from a bygone era. And he’s not entirely wrong, but Cillizza misses a vital point about the era during which Biden rose to political power: It was one in which queer people had to hide their identities, in which the expression of their love was often outlawed. It’s time for that old time-y politeness to be thrown out the window, because that’s how homophobia and bigotry proliferate. If you’re too worried about appearances and calling people across the aisle “decent” in spite of their utterly indecent views, then you miss the opportunity to help the vulnerable.
After all this, we’re still not entirely sure if Biden is running for president, except of course he’s running. Even the governor of Washington state threw his hat in the ring on March 1 (sorry, Jay Inslee—not a chance in hell). Old Joe is playing it coy, though, saying at the event in Delaware:
We are in the final stages of that decision, and—it would be the greatest honor of my life to be president of the United States, but also it is something that I have to make sure I could run a first-rate effort to do this, and make clear where I think the country should go and how to get there. I have not made the final decision, but don’t be surprised.