While Biden is going around Pennsylvania and Ohio describing the election as a choice between Park Avenue and Scranton, on Wednesday he had a virtual fundraiser with Manhattan rich people, including one who lives on Park Avenue. A pool report distributed by the campaign said Biden was introduced at the event by Jane Hartley, a former ambassador to France and to Monaco. Press reports and campaign finance filings indicate she lives on Park Avenue. The other hosts of the event were Blair Effron of Centerview Partners, Deven Parekh of Insight Partners, and Roger Altman of Evercore. At the event Biden said he "just got off the phone with Warren Buffett." Buffett lives in Omaha, not Park Avenue, but he is not exactly some Scranton coal miner or out-of-work union laborer.
According to the pool report, at least, Biden did not reprise his Park Avenue versus Scranton dichotomy for this audience. Instead, he said that in his first 30 days in office, he would "send the House and Senate an immigration bill that's going to provide access to citizenship to 11 million people." I've been paying pretty close attention and haven't heard Biden regularly promising this as a first 30-day legislative agenda while he's been campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
I've been calling out Biden for the hypocrisy involved in fundraising from Park Avenue while denouncing it elsewhere, but Biden doesn't seem embarrassed about it. Here are his remarks as prepared for delivery on October 12 in Toledo, Ohio:
I view this campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue.
Between Toledo and Park Avenue.
All Trump can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street.
That's why the only metric of American prosperity that he values is the Dow Jones.
Like a lot of you, I spent a lot of my life with guys like Donald Trump looking down on me, guys who thought they were better than me because they had a lot of money.
Guys who inherited everything they ever got and still managed to squander it.
I have to admit, I've still got a little chip on my shoulder about it.
To go from denouncing Park Avenue on October 12 to raising money on October 14 at an event and being introduced by Hartley, who has an apartment on Park Avenue, is just so brazenly cynical that it's hard to believe. Altman is the fellow who resigned as Deputy Treasury Secretary in 1994. Some may find it reassuring that these fundraisers are happening—a sign that Biden somehow isn't really serious about raising taxes and isn't as unconcerned about the Dow as he claims to be on the campaign trail. But it was only in 2018 that Biden was saying, disapprovingly, "Demagogues and charlatans step up to stoke people's legitimate fears and push the blame always on the other. There always has to be scapegoats." Maybe the Evercore crowd can talk Biden into dropping the Park Avenue-bashing. It undercuts his message about uniting America against charlatans.