After a half-century of experience in Washington, D.C., Robert Juliano is one of the Democratic Party’s true “wise men” — a much-respected and much-loved figure in the party with strong ties to the labor movement and friendships with some of the Democratic Party’s legends.
Recently, Juliano — "Bobby," as he insists everyone call him — shared with Newsmax his deep concern over the direction in which his party is now headed.
He also voiced serious concerns about the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden, a friend since he came to Washington in 1973 and met the-then freshman senator from Delaware.
Since his arrival in the nation’s capital, “Bobby” has been a staple in the labor movement and Democratic politics. His early benefactor was the legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Among the Democratic powers who befriended him once he hit the nation’s capital were Speaker-to-be Tip O’Neill, D-Mass., Vice Presidents and Minnesota Sens. Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine.
Self-describing his career as that of an “independent consultant with strong ties to the labor movement,” Juliano met many people who were obscure a few decades ago but would go on to become powerful players in the unions’ arena.
Among them was Biden of Delaware.
As he put it, “Joe was 30 — the minimum constitutional age to be a senator — but he was still the second-youngest senator ever elected in history.”
The youngest was Democrat Rush Holt of West Virginia, elected at 29 in November 1934 and able to take office seven months later when he turned 30.
“And Joe never once talked about running for president in those days.”
Turning to the Democratic Party of today, Juliano said flatly, “It’s a big concern for me.”
He explained that, in the past, members of Congress served, “because they wanted to change things, not so they can become polarized in the political spectrum — like it is today.”
Biden, he told us, was and is in the former mindset. As a senator, Juliano recalled “Joe Biden was an advocate for working people and the labor movement. In so doing, he made it a priority, to work with people he disagreed with in order to get bills passed and create change.”
Biden himself said as much when he spoke of working with segregationists in the Senate, notably the overtly racist Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Eastland, D-Miss.
His mention of Eastland infuriated numerous black Democrats and led several of his opponents for nomination to pounce.
“He was trying to illustrate how he worked with people who differed with him, and this was an unneeded slip-up,” Juliano told us, “He could have easily named so many Republican senators he worked with on key legislation — Mark Hatfield (Ore.), John Heinz (Pa.), Lowell Weicker (Conn.), Chuck Percy (Ill.), James Buckley (N.Y.) — and a member of the New York Conservative Party — a whole bunch of them.”
Juliano also mentioned that this race has changed how the former Vice President acts and responds.
The defining moment for this change, he feels, was when several women came forward saying Biden inappropriately touched them.
Juliano explained to Newsmax the change he suddenly saw in his old friend.
“Instead of (going by) his instinct — which has always served him well — (Biden) suddenly had to think about everything,” he said, “and this made his candidacy weaker — in my opinion.”
Voicing his concerns about the candidacy of his friend, Juliano still has high hopes because “most of the polls still show him to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.”
And how would Biden do if, at age 77, he became the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, we asked.
“He’d knock the socks off Trump,” Juliano replied without hesitation.
Clare Hillen is a sophomore at George Washington University, and a former summer intern at the Washington, D.C. bureau of Newsmax.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.