Culture

Biden Takes Back ‘Take Back America’

It's only racist when a Republican says it

Vice President Joe Biden just made a populist appeal to America that would probably anger MSNBC hosts and other liberals were it said by anyone else.

"It's time to take back America!" he yelled during a speech in Detroit Monday.

Variations of that phrase, popularized during the Tea Party swing that led to a smashing Republican victory in the 2010 midterm elections, have been criticized by progressives as racial dog whistles.

PoliticsNation host Al Sharpton, as a video posted at Power Line noted, once told Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly that "there was a racial component" when people talked about wanting to "take back" America. MSNBC analyst Angela Rye declared the Tea Party's use of the expression "very, very racial," and fellow analyst Eugene Robinson said that kind of talk "certainly had a racial dimension." MSNBC contributor Bob Shrum, after the 2012 re-election of President Obama, remarked that talking about wanting to back the country reflected a "paranoia about the changing composition of the country."

This even extends to the Obama administration.

In an interview aired on This Week in July, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke of a "certain level of vehemence" directed at him and President Obama stemming from their race.

"People talk about taking their country back," Holder said. "I can't look into people's hearts, look into people's minds, but it seems to me that this president has been treated differently from others … There is a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is a main driver, but for some, there is a racial animus."

As for the president himself, National Review reports:

And Obama agrees, or seemed to think so in 2011, according to U.S. News and World Report’s Ken Walsh.

"A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to ‘take back’ their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea," Walsh wrote. "He agreed that there was a ‘subterranean agenda’ in the anti-Obama movement — a racially biased one — that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it."

Could Joe Biden be a racist as well?