Former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Legislative Conference in Washington, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg News

Joe Biden has yet to join the 2020 presidential race, but the former vice president is already getting the Hillary Clinton treatment from liberals who seem more interested in ideological purity tests than beating Donald Trump.

In 2016 the left took Mrs. Clinton to task for her husband’s support of bipartisan efforts in the 1990s to reform welfare and stem the tide of crime. It was an attempt to repudiate the former first lady retroactively for having voiced utterly mainstream views on race and social policy, and she had nothing to apologize for on either front. Between 1995 and 2000, welfare rolls declined by more than 50% nationwide, and by the end of the 1990s black poverty, black child poverty and poverty in female-headed families were at their lowest levels on record.

Similarly, the 1994 crime bill passed the Senate 95-4, and supporters included Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, the upper chamber’s only black member at the time. Liberals have criticized the legislation in hindsight for increasing black incarceration rates. But blacks are far more likely than whites to be victims of violent crimes, and between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s violent crime in the U.S. declined by more than a third. Thousands of blacks are alive today who otherwise wouldn’t be had homicides rates continued at the levels of the early 1990s

Now it’s Mr. Biden’s turn to be put through the same ideological wringer. Last week the Washington Post rehashed his forceful denunciations of compulsory school busing as a first-term senator from Delaware in the 1970s. “The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos or whatever in each school,” he told a newspaper in 1975. “What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist! Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child.
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