Memories of lunch

President Biden went to United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio to talk up the Bipartisan Innovation Act this past Friday. The act has passed into law, so I can’t say don’t let it be. It is. The White House has posted the text of Biden’s remarks here.

Biden took the occasion to look back on his career and reminisce about the good old days in the United States Senate. The New York Post covered Biden’s remarks here.

Biden observed, “You know, things have kind of changed since the days when I first got there.” Referring to retiring Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who was in attendance, Biden said, “He’s been there a couple terms. I was there — I got elected when I was 29 years old, in the United States Senate, from a very modest background. And I was there for 36 years before becoming Vice President.”

Biden was “from a very modest background” when he arrived in the Senate at age 29 in January 1973. Does anyone wonder how he became a multimillionaire while serving continuously in public office from January 1973 to January 2017?

Biden contrasted the good old days in the Senate circa 1973 with the contemporary scene: “We always used to fight like hell — and even back in the old days when we had real segregationists, like Eastland and Thurmond and all those guys — but at least we’d end up eating lunch together.” Working a variation of the Dylan song, Biden commented, “Things have changed. We got to bring it back.”

Let it be noted that Eastland was Biden’s fellow Democrat in the Senate until his retirement in 1978. So were “all those guys” except Strom Thurmond. Thurmond switched from Democrat to Republican in 1964. However, he seems to have abandoned the segregationist faith by the time Biden became his Senate colleague in January 1973. Indeed, Thurmond was one of Clarence Thomas’s champions in the Senate when Biden sought to tube his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991.

In the video below Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown looks on impassively as Biden walks down memory lane. What is he thinking? I’d love to see the thought balloons on this one. My guess: “Please, please Lord, make him stop.”

One more thought. Can we go to Kamala Harris for comment?

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