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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Joe Biden

Party: Democrat
Residence: Wilmington, DE
Political Experience:
New Castle Co. Council, 1970-72;
U.S. Senate, 1972-present
Marital Status: Married (Jill)
BA University of Delaware, 1965;
JD Syracuse University, 1968
Birthdate: 11/20/42 in Scranton, PA
Religion: Catholic

There is something appealing about Joe Biden. Articulate, astute, and experienced, this man seems the most presidential of the whole bunch when you look down the line on the debate stage. Silver-haired, clean cut, and neatly tailored, one almost has to double check to make sure he isn’t a Republican. Just take a glance at his voting record as a long-time senator from Delaware, and you can be reassured that Joe Biden is a solid moderate Democrat. Biden became a senator in the Nixon presidency and is one of the longest-running senators in office. He is a strong advocate for women’s rights in domestic violence and other gender-specific legislation, and as a member of the National Narcotics Control Caucus, he works to reduce the spread of date-rape drugs and steroids in sports. Many believe that Biden has the most presidential potential for revamping our sagging foreign policy, as he has chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for many years. Biden wasn’t afraid to lean on military force to support
human rights in the Balkans, Libya and Afghanistan, and supported Bush’s mandate on Iraq only if all diplomatic avenues were depleted (a resolution he co-wrote and the Bush administration rejected). He commutes to Washington, D.C. from Delaware as a regular Amtrak passenger, and thus is a solid supporter of elevating US public transportation to higher standards, which will appeal to environmentalists
on principle alone.

Biden has three personal and professional crises to mention that have helped to create the tenacious, strong-willed fighter he is today: His first wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident, he survived cranial aneurysms in 1988, and he battled allegations of speech plagiarism in his 1987 presidential campaign. Now married for over 30 years to second wife Jill, a teacher, his current weaknesses seem to be self-inflicted and based wholly on his tendency to be long-winded. Joe likes to talk, and he often runs amok with honesty, with reckless comments concerning race and stereotypes which may be based in some truth, but are defined as borderline politically incorrect. Some voters prefer blatant honesty (it would be nice to see more such transparency in Obama and Clinton) and measure that as strength and credibility, but America might not be ready for a to-the-point Joe Biden after the smooth, wooing tones of popular Democrats like Bill Clinton. Jack Tapper, in a June 29, 2001 piece for Salon.com, described Biden as “sometimes candid, at times self-contradictory, often ponderous, clearly well informed, always long-winded.” When Mr. Biden hits the right tone, one cannot help but be impressed by and chuckle at his directness, such as in this quote concerning Republican presidential candidate, Rudolph W. Giuliani: “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11.”

While Joe has withdrawn from the race due to poor results in Iowa, it may be useful to keep him in mind as a potential VP candidate for the general election this fall. In any case, he adds some authentic credibility to the campaign trail simply by reminding us what many of his opponents rely on as a common debate segue: “Joe is right, but....”

originally published Currents Feb/Mar 2008

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