Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Joe Biden Vulnerable on His Support for the 1994 Crime Bill

The 1994 legislation imposed tough sentencing which has been attacked as "racist" in recent years, by the left's "racial reparations" and "restorative justice" crowd. *Eye roll here.*

At LAT, "As Democrats debate, Biden’s crime bill likely to provoke attacks":

Twenty-five years ago, after passing the most sweeping anti-crime bill in history, Democrats were ecstatic, convinced they’d not only addressed a top concern of voters but finally shed the party’s soft-on-crime label.

That was then.

A quarter century after Joe Biden helped shepherd it into law, the legislation has become a point of fierce contention among Democrats and emerged as a likely flash point in the series of presidential debates that begin Wednesday night in Miami.

Some consider the law too tough and many, including President Trump, blame it for a wave of mass incarceration that has filled prisons with a flood of black and brown inmates.

“It destroyed entire neighborhoods, destroyed entire communities and we’re still paying the price and suffering from it,” said Patrisse Cullors, a Los Angeles activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement. “What people need to say is, we made a mistake. A very big one.”

Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a veteran of the civil rights movement and the highest-ranking black member of Congress, is among the strongest defenders.

“The fact of the matter is we on the Democratic side did a yeoman’s job in putting in the kind of prevention programs, the preventive funding in the bill,” Clyburn, the No. 3 leader in the House, said on CNN.

The passions surrounding the bill and its legacy reflect a dramatic shift in the public mood — due in no small part to a significant drop in crime — as well as changes in a Democratic Party that has moved dramatically leftward as young people and minorities gain political strength.

It also underscores the generation gap between the 76-year-old Biden and younger rivals focused on the racial and social injustices that grew from the push for stiffer punishment.

“Awful,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told the Huffington Post.

“A huge mistake,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Trump, eliding his history of racially inflammatory words and deeds, has echoed the attacks. “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected,” he taunted Biden on Twitter. “In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you.”

Biden, who led the Senate Judiciary Committee and has referred to the law as the “1994 Biden crime bill,” says there were parts he opposed in the all-or-nothing package, including mandatory sentencing under a “three strikes, you’re out” provision for repeat offenders.

(The Democratic front-runner will take the stage Thursday night, in the second of two debates)

Overall, Biden insists the good far outweighed the bad.

“It’s the one that had the assault weapons ban,” he told voters in New Hampshire. “It limited the number of bullets in a clip. It made sure that cop-killer bullets, Teflon bullets, weren’t available any longer. It opened up the whole effort to make sure there is background checks for the first time in American history.”

The legislative package also included the Violence Against Women Act, landmark legislation that capped years of efforts to toughen laws against rape, stalking and domestic abuse.

“Anyone who says it was a terrible bill doesn’t know what else was in the bill,” said former California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal who joined all her fellow Democrats, save one, in support. (Seven Republican senators also backed the legislation, which passed 61-38.)

The legislation came at a time when crime, fueled by street gangs and the crack cocaine epidemic, was seen as spiraling out of control — including in Washington, D.C., under the very noses of congressional lawmakers.

Democrats were acutely sensitive to the issue. Bill Clinton ended the party’s exile from the White House by running in 1992 as a “different kind of Democrat,” with a tougher approach to law enforcement — the Arkansas governor even briefly dropped off the campaign trail to preside over the execution of a cop-killer with severely diminished mental capacity.

When the bill finally passed, after several close calls, Democrats exulted...
Still more.