Joe Biden’s Polish Joke

Earlier this year, Joe Biden gave a lengthy interview to The New York Times, a venue as friendly toward Biden as Sean Hannity is to Donald Trump. In the course of this interview, Biden offered the following observation:

Well, look what’s happened. Look what started to seep in, beginning and probably even with candidates during our administration. We stopped showing up at the Polish American club. We stopped showing up, and we all went to you, the really smart people. We had a new kind of coalition we were putting together. College-educated women and college men and boom, boom, boom and so on.

Two conclusions seem inescapable: 1) Biden thinks that the Democratic Party walked away from Polish Americans, and 2) Biden does not number Polish Americans among “the really smart people.”

In talking this way about Polish Americans, it is unlikely that Biden meant to exclude descendants of the other Eastern European ethnic groups who came to America in large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, where Biden grew up, has a higher percentage of its population that traces its ancestry to Eastern Europe than just about anywhere else in America.

Biden is from Scranton, the county seat of Lackawanna County. Wilkes-Barre is the county seat of neighboring Luzerne County. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre PBS affiliate (WVIA-TV) produced a documentary, “The Extraordinary Journey: The Eastern Europeans of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” which notes that 30 percent of the population in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Carbon, and Schuylkill counties traced their ancestry to Eastern Europe. Poles were the largest single ethnic group to immigrate to the region, but Slovaks, Czechs, Lithuanians, Hungarians, and Ukrainians also came in large numbers.

As the documentary details, the area developed a blended Eastern European culture. A lawyer friend of mine from Luzerne County is a good representation of those in northeastern Pennsylvania. He grew up taking pride in his Lithuanian name, loving the Polish Christmas carols sung at his parish church, and savoring the taste of the Slovak kolache baked by his grandmother. His family even makes kielbasa from venison.

Biden has portrayed this race as a contest between Scranton and Park Avenue, yet Biden left Scranton as soon as he could, nearly half a century ago. Park Avenue, on the other hand, has always looked down on Trump’s native Queens.

The Eastern Europeans of northeastern Pennsylvania figured out that Biden had little use for them long before he admitted it to The New York Times. Four years ago, the region’s swing to Trump was instrumental in giving the GOP its first presidential win in Pennsylvania since 1988. Polls suggest that northeastern Pennsylvania remains Trump’s strongest area in the state, while The New York Times recently ran an article on the area’s embrace of Trump, with much focus on Dave Mitchko, a local activist with an eminently Slavic last name.

But Biden wasn’t content with simply ditching Scranton. In order to amass the millions Biden has made in “public service,” Biden advocated for policies which devastated northeastern Pennsylvania and the many other places which “the really smart people” concluded had outlived their usefulness.

Biden supported NAFTA and Most Favored Nation trade status for Communist China, which resulted in thousands of American factories shutting down, causing millions of American manufacturing jobs to disappear. Biden also supported the Iraq War, a misadventure planned and executed by the type of Republicans who have endorsed his candidacy. That fiasco killed thousands of Americans and grievously wounded many more, devastated the ancient Christian communities of Iraq, and wasted hundreds of billions of dollars that places such as Scranton could have used.

Now Biden is embracing critical race theory and the concept of “white privilege.” This latest project of “the really smart people” promises to work out as well for the people of northeastern Pennsylvania as Biden’s earlier brainstorms did. It is absurd to describe Eastern European immigrants who came to northeastern Pennsylvania with nothing as “privileged.” Their families were serfs in Europe, and the work they did once they came here was always hard, often debilitating, and sometimes deadly. Mining anthracite coal put bread on the table, but also put coal dust in lungs.

Polish immigrants like my friend’s grandfather worked long days deep in anthracite coal mines without masks, respirators, or other basic safety equipment. They would not see the sun, or their children, for months—except on Sundays for Mass—yet they showed up every day, on time, without complaint. My friend’s grandfather died from black lung complications at the age of 57—true senior citizen status by NE PA standards in the 1970s. His remaining retiree buddies toasted his memory with nickel beers at the Polish Club in Dupont, PA, the same type of club Biden admits the Democrats abandoned for the “really smart people.” Now he wants to abandon their descendants by accepting the theory that what their families have earned in America is the result of an unfair and underserved “privilege.”

Right now, if the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden is enjoying his Polish joke. But maybe people like my friend will end up having the last laugh. If the many descendants of Eastern European immigrants who live in the critical electoral battleground stretching from the old anthracite coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania to the Mesabi Range of Minnesota end up taking the same dim view of Joe Biden that so many Slavic-Americans who know him best have, the “really smart people” may end up as blindsided by 2020 as they were by 2016.

Tom Zoldak

Tom Zoldak writes from Middle America. He can tell the difference between pierogi and golabki, knows what you use oplatki for, and can name “Wsrod nocnej ciszy’ in three notes or less.

3 comments

  • How can you sleep at night knowing you are clearly taking this out of context? Joe Biden clearly says the campaign stopped going to Polish Communities and instead started going to college educated men and women. Not because he thought Polish Communities are dumb or less intelligent. When he said “We stopped showing up, and we all went to you, the really smart people,” he was referring to going to the journalist he was speaking to or the media in general. The NY TIMES article was written by a highly educated pulitzer award winning author. He was being sarcastic toward her. Secondly, Biden wasn’t infering that the Democratic Party was walking away from Polish Americans. He was infering that the campaign would do things differently. Not once did he sound like he was saying he didn’t support the Polish community or that they were not smart. YOU DID THAT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not true.

      This is what Joe Sneakyfingers said:

      “Look what started to seep in, beginning and probably even with candidates during our administration. We stopped showing up at the Polish American club. We stopped showing up, and we all went to you, the really smart people. We had a new kind of coalition we were putting together. College-educated women and college men and boom, boom, boom and so on.”

      The Times added explanatory notes in blue type. If he were being sarcastic, the biased newspaper trying to elect him would have said so to protect him.

      But suppose you are right. Supposed that Biden didn’t say Poles are stupid. He was being “sarcastic.”

      In that case, he still implicitly conceded the party “progressives” think working whites, particularly ethnic Catholics, are stupid:

      Let’s go to the tape:

      “We’re going to lose. Because we weren’t doing the kind of retail politics we used to do. We weren’t stopping in diners. We weren’t going over to the Greek American club. We weren’t going into the black community and sitting at the local Y that’s in that community.”

      But why not? Why didn’t they go see the Greeks and Poles?

      Because left-wing, college-educated geeks and “progressives” run the party and think ethnic Catholic whites are stupid. And don’t care about them. Why is that? Because they don’t support abortion on demand or think a man can marry a man. They don’t hate Columbus or R.E. Lee. They don’t much care for socialism. They don’t hate themselves because they’re white. That’s why.

      “I’m not joking,” he said.

      This word salad came next:

      “I look down at one guy and said, because your wife deserves to make every damn penny you make, the man she’s standing next to. They all cheered. Neighborhoods I come from, guess what, that means you can put four new tires on the car. That means, not a joke. You guys don’t even think about it. That’s what it means. It means you can replace the water heater. It means you can send your kid back to that community college. It matters about your standard of living.

      “But guess what? All white guys are just basically, they don’t give a damn about women. They don’t care about equal pay. You’re damn right if they’re working guys. The people that don’t like equal pay are the people at the top of the heap. I don’t like the idea that you’re going to get paid as much as a man doing your job. That’s not happening on the line.”

      Total gibberish.

      If Joe Sneakyfingers didn’t mean that Poles are stupid and or that whites don’t care about women, then what does did he mean?

      No one knows. Anything Biden says can mean anything leftists want it to mean, except what it means.

      Like

  • Thank you for publishing this! Excellent work.

    Like

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