Joe Biden

So Obama picked Joe Biden to be his vice-presidential running mate.

Going over a quick review of Biden’s positions, I’m not devastated but not thrilled either. There’s a lot of really troubling things in there — like his support for the Partial Birth Abortion Act, his support for abstinence-only education, and his immigration policy including support for the wall along the border (though it seems like unfortunately Obama supports that wall, too). Of course, there’s also his history of saying, um, racist and otherwise really stupid things — which may just be my biggest problem with him overall.

That being said, I understand the pick. He’s older, has lots of foreign policy experience, a long political career, and was born in a swing state where he apparently maintains a good presence.  The good news is that he seems to have a very strong track record on violence against women, and on global warming.  That’s important.  And though I’m still not sure that this is the right way to judge the pick, he is a million times better than Kaine.

Those are my very general and preliminary musings.  But I’m sure that Feministers will have lots to say on the matter, and know more about the guy than I do. So: discuss.

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86 Responses

  1. David Schraub
    David Schraub August 23, 2008 at 10:18 am |

    Delaware is not a swing state. Or rather, if it is, that means the Democrats are getting thrashed elsewhere, and it won’t matter.

  2. Diane
    Diane August 23, 2008 at 11:02 am |

    Biden’s support of abstinence-only education and his support of the bankrupty bill are bad enough. However, my memories of his “leadership” of the committee to destroy Anita Hill will never go away. His keeping witnesses against Thomas locked up in a hotel room, never to testify, will never go away. I have nothing but pure contempt for him.

  3. Justin
    Justin August 23, 2008 at 11:18 am |

    How about the fact that Hillary Clinton was not even ‘vetted’ for the position? It’s a slap in the face to her 18 million supporters, and a measure of gross egotism that Obama simply passed her up. I cannot vote for this ticket now.

  4. shah8
    shah8 August 23, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    The field of publically acceptable VP canidate was weak, in my estimation. However, I think that’s because it’s usually weak. Dan Quale anyone? Biden’s about the same as Lloyd Bentson, with a bit less gravitas. I can take him, as opposed to, OMG BAYH!! or Kaine!! or Clinton!!

    I thought it would have been interesting to see Sebelius or Napolitano, but I would have really like Boxer ?:~) On the conservative side, I could have taken McCaskill.

  5. Nia
    Nia August 23, 2008 at 11:34 am |

    From the point of view of a European who follows USA politics, but not close enough to know Biden, it looks as if he was chosen because of his looks. Obama is black and young, and he looks even younger than he is. Biden isn’t just a much older white man, he looks like a stereotypical USA politician. Very formal and conservative-looking; respectable.

  6. Planet Janet
    Planet Janet August 23, 2008 at 11:41 am |

    Justin – Have you considered that the Clintons are already two of the most vetted people in the country? I mean the republicans have enough volumes of information on them to fill warehouses. The Obama campaign would’ve surely made use of this vetting information months ago when they were battling it out with the Clintons. So, there’s no reason to think that Obama didn’t have plenty of information on her to make a decision.

    Not to mention she played very dirty, lowball politics and continuously belittled Obama, even yelling “Shame on you!” as if scolding a little boy. I don’t think that behavior should’ve been rewarded.

  7. Planet Janet
    Planet Janet August 23, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    Nia – There were plenty of other old white guys to choose so I doubt that was it. I think he was primarily chosen for his extensive legislative history, providing a lot of experience to balance out the ticket and giving rural, working-class democrats a trusty, dependable guy that they already know well.

  8. Elena Perez
    Elena Perez August 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm |

    I don’t like the fact that McCain’s campaign was able to immediately come out with a commercial showing Biden criticizing Obama as not ready for President, and praising McCain. Not at all a wise choice from that perspective. We’re also talking about this at the CA NOW blog: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2008/08/obama-picks-bid.html

  9. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    What may have doomed Clinton as a choice was that Bill didn’t want his foundation vetted.

    And any choice was a slap in the face to someone no matter who Obama picked.

    Frankly, Mr./Ms. Justin-the-concern-troll, I don’t even believe you’re a Clinton supporter or even a Democrat without evidence. Progressive blogs are full of trolling commenters like you, and I’d bet the farm that more than half of them are “Operation Chaos” style disinformation trolls. If you really are what you purport to be, you have your pathetic “leaders” of DINO closet Repugs to blame that people don’t trust you, or sympathize with you. Not only do you want to destroy the Dems, you don’t care if you destroy Hillary’s own political career in the process. All you PUMAs deserve to be slapped in the face. Maybe you’ll wake up.

    (Full disclosure: I voted for Clinton in the Cali primary.)

  10. Peter
    Peter August 23, 2008 at 12:22 pm |

    A boring, safe pick.

    What it tells me about Obama, is that he’s far more conventional and status quo than all that “change” hoopla.

    I’m okay with it. I never really bought into the narrative that Obama was transformational, and he was outside the box of conventional politics. So, I’m not surprised.

    I was kind of hoping for a pick that would be more consistent with his message of “change”.

    But, VPs don’t matter that much anyway. I think the last VP pick I can remember that was totally outside the box of conventional political thinking, was Gore.

  11. meggygurl
    meggygurl August 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm |

    I need to do more research on the dude, but I remember liking him in the debates.

    I’m glad he didn’t pick Clinton. She deserves so much better of a position then VP. I’m hoping he gives her an amazing cabinet position. Something that will really use her skills/intelligence/experience/awesomeness. Honestly… I think choosing her would have been a grave insult to the woman. WTF does VP do anyway?

  12. RyanRutley
    RyanRutley August 23, 2008 at 12:39 pm |

    He’s Lyndon Johnson.

    Which I prefer to a Lloyd Bentsen.

  13. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri August 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm |

    I’m not a big Biden fan, but I think he brings something to the ticket that we did not have in ’00 or ’04, and that is the willingness and ability to say mean things about the opponent. Leiberman was an embarrassment in that respect, and Edwards wasn’t much better. Part of being the VP candidate is to be the attack dog for the campaign, and I think Biden might excel at that.

  14. Peter
    Peter August 23, 2008 at 12:48 pm |

    One thing that’s good about this pick, is that Obama must realize he needs an attack dog for VP.

    When it was reported that Obama was considering Bayh, or Kaine, I thought having those spineless milquetoast guys would have been a mistake. I don’t know much about Sebilius.

    Biden and Hillary Clinton are the only two on the VP short list, who I thought had the intellectual firepower and demeanor to totally kick the republicans in the teeth. Christ, remember the 2000 VP debates? Spineless Lieberman actually made people like Dick Cheney. Democrats better learn to kick some skulls in, because its guaranteed the republicans are going to sleaze up this election.

  15. Rachel
    Rachel August 23, 2008 at 1:03 pm |

    Biden’s also got a long and impressive record on foreign policy, which is an area where Obama is perceived as being weak.

    I was pulling for Sibelius, and I wouldn’t say I’m excited about Biden, but strategically it probably makes sense.

  16. Peter
    Peter August 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm |

    And if McCain does actually pick Romney, I think the debate will be hilarious.

    OMG, Biden would wipe the floor with Mittens.

    (I’m still hoping that he does pick Romney for numerous reasons.)

    Here’s one I like:

    In an era of high gas prices and economic pain for the middle class…..

    The two Dem nominees are from working class backgrounds, and neither of them are wealthy. By US Senate standards, both of them are downright poor.

    The GOP nominees will be two fantastically wealthy multi-millionaires, who can’t remember how many homes they own, what kind of car they drive, or how many servants they employ to take care of their houses.

  17. Peter
    Peter August 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm |

    LOL @ Cara.

    Great ad. That’s good politics. The only way to fight republican bullies, is to punch them in the mouth.

  18. Hugo
    Hugo August 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm |

    Biden is a loose cannon but a reliable ally — and that’s not a contradiction. The media in Britain seems to be making much of his Catholicism at the moment, and it may help with a few swing voters (as well as bringing out the usual crowd of bishops talking about denying him communion for his pro-choice views).

    And since Biden was dinged in the ’80s for cribbing speeches from Neil Kinnock, a former UK Labour Party chief, that’s getting some play here too — but I don’t think it will be a liability for him.

    I was pulling for HRC or Richardson, and am just relieved it wasn’t Bayh or Kaine.

  19. Pajamas Media » It’s Biden! The Fun Begins

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  20. i_muse
    i_muse August 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm |

    I’m not finding his choice boring as someone else has commented, I’m just disgusted.
    I’m not totally surprised, just disgusted.
    I’m voting for 3rd party Green candidate Cynthia Mckinney

  21. willygus
    willygus August 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    Apropos the harm reduction discussions here earlier, Joe Biden has until recently been a big proponent of law enforcement as an appropriate tool to address drug use. He comes down heavily on the police as the correct means for dealing with all issues of drug use, though he sponsored the cocaine v. crack disparity elimination legislation last year [s.1711]. This legislation redresses perhaps one of the most egregious excesses of the drug war, but hardly constitutes a new approach.

    His membership in the drug caucus of the Senate also belies a level of satisfaction with the way that criminalization of drug use has affected society, and an unwillingness to consider other approaches that is disturbingly common among both parties. I know this is not going to be an issue that most people would consider a deal breaker, but it is acceptance of non-evidence-based approaches on issues like public health that erodes support for rational approaches to policy issues in general.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to leave Obama over this. I’ve assumed since I started working in needle access that the political forum was not going to be a fruitful one to pursue change in. Harm reduction in general, and needle access in particular will continue to happen in spite of the Democratic party, not with it. Biden’s selection confirms my suspicion in this respect, one I’ve held since Obama first declared in Springfield.

  22. William
    William August 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm |

    oh goodie, Joe Biden. In addition to the problems Cara already mentioned, Biden has a terrible record in other places. Two votes in favor of the PATRIOT act, the RAVE act, granting prosecutors the ability to use RICO statues on nonviolent drug offenders, federal forfeiture powers, using international aid dollars for drug eradication, the waste of time and money that was congressional hearings about steroid use in sports, opposition to medical marijuana, support of capital punishment. Hell, even the foreign policy chops Biden supposedly has are in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt: he has consistently voted for American Military intervention every time he’s had the chance, supports strengthened embargoes against Cuba, and wants to expand NATO.

    After 16 years of American interventionism, and up against an unabashed interventionist, Obama chooses to go with an interventionist as his VP. You know, so he’ll appear stronger in foreign policy. I wonder what direction we’ll be headed for the foreseeable future…

  23. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 August 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    “Not only do you want to destroy the Dems, you don’t care if you destroy Hillary’s own political career in the process. All you PUMAs deserve to be slapped in the face. Maybe you’ll wake up.”

    What did Justin say that deserved these remarks, these insults?

    “WTF does VP do anyway?”

    Meggygurl, the position of VP can be as powerful as the person who occupies it wants it to be. Look at how instrumental Dick Cheney was in orchestrating the WMD’s-in-Iraq-We-Should-Attack propaganda. If there are ANY brains in the White House right now, they don’t belong to George Bush. But of course, I’m preaching to the choir…

    If Biden can enjoy the same amount of success in trying to CORRECT the damage the current administration has meted out, then perhaps he’ll be a not-so-impotent VP.

  24. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig August 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm |

    Look, we just need a Democrat, any democrat. If the Democratic party ran a cat for Pres, I’d vote for it. Nobody here wants the Republicans to win, so just suck it up and vote for Obama.

  25. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 2:03 pm |

    I’m voting for 3rd party Green candidate Cynthia Mckinney

    In other words, you’re voting for McCain. Or might as well be.

    At least the PUMA quislings are honest in their idiocy, and come right out and say they’re voting for McCain.

    If the “true progressives” once again throw the election of the only viable candidate who is by any measure better than just another filthy rich GOP puke by “voting their values”, I’m giving up on politics and returning to my punk rocker nihilist roots, because it’s completely hopeless anything will ever get better. Maybe if I start doing drugs again like back in the Reagan 80s, I’ll be numb enough not to care.

  26. Socraticsilence
    Socraticsilence August 23, 2008 at 2:08 pm |

    I was hoping for Sebelius, (and honestly I think she would have been the choice if not for the “its a slap in the face to Clinton crowd”), but I think Biden should be a good choice, in terms of actual legislative acheivement he’s probably been the strongest voice in Congress for Domestic Violence legislation (authored VAWA).

    THe one criticism of the choice that I find a bit hard to understand is the “gives ammo to the repubs in his criticism of Obama” bit, espeically when it comes from Hillary advocates (and I would have backed that choice to hilt, but I think they were worried about some possible Bill Clinton drama there)– in effect this line of criticism eliminate all primary opponents from ever being VP canidates.

    Oh, and let me second the hopes that McCain chooses Romney, my god the contrast between the 99th Richest Senator, and Romeny is in and of itself hilarious.

  27. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 2:10 pm |

    What did Justin say that deserved these remarks, these insults?

    For channeling Larry Johnson.

  28. Radfem
    Radfem August 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm |

    If the “true progressives” once again throw the election of the only viable candidate who is by any measure better than just another filthy rich GOP puke by “voting their values”, I’m giving up on politics and returning to my punk rocker nihilist roots, because it’s completely hopeless anything will ever get better. Maybe if I start doing drugs again like back in the Reagan 80s, I’ll be numb enough not to care.

    Don’t let the door hit your fanny on the way out. Many true progressives don’t even recognize the Democratic Party anymore let alone believe that it owns anyone’s votes. If its supporters use scare tactics to try to pull third party supporters in line, I think the Democrats will have their record stand at 0 for 3.

  29. Socraticsilence
    Socraticsilence August 23, 2008 at 2:28 pm |

    I think Nader would have been less objectionable than Mckinney given her anti-semitism.

  30. Socraticsilence
    Socraticsilence August 23, 2008 at 2:30 pm |

    Cara- While techinically you’re right, I do think people who are considering voting green should ask themselves how they would vote in 2000, if given another chance, would they have voted for Nader “because Bush=Gore” or is that somehow different than voting Mckinney instead of Obama.

  31. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 2:37 pm |

    Whoa. Calling someone an idiot because they’re voting for a third party candidate who just so happens to be much more progressive than Obama? Not okay and not following the standards of polite discourse and debate.

    For that I apologize. But I’m just about down to my last nerve with folks like this.

    Further, a vote for McKinney is not a vote for McCain. In terms of the Obama vs. McCain race, a vote for McKinney is neutral. Especially because it’s highly unlikely that McKinney will win enough votes to actually tilt the scale.

    Fair enough, but frankly, this is definitely not the year to “send a message with my vote”. If we want any kind of change at all, Obama has to not only win, but win in a landslide, with enough political capital to at least partially immunize him against the inevitable GOP machine trying to tie him up and bring him down.

    Obama needs to be the Democrat’s Reagan, riding the wave of an electoral smackdown, to actually get any “change” accomplished. Furthermore, he needs to know he owes his landslide to the progressive base, like Reagan knew he owed his to the conservative wingnut base, which is why he pandered to them for eight years. Wouldn’t you like to be pandered to? I would. Remember, a lot of hard right types were not happy at the time with some of Reagan’s background and political choices. He’s only become St. Ronnie in retrospect – after two terms of pandering.

    Here’s the method:

    Step one: hand imperfect candidate a landslide victory.
    Step two: remind them that you handed it to them, on a daily basis. Step three: receive pandering.

    This is how the Repugs have done it. The Left should finally learn the lesson.

    And regardless of any of that, even if she does win a significant number of votes that would have otherwise gone to Obama (instead of, say, gone nowhere and sat the election out), the only person that a vote for McKinney is for is McKinney.

    I would have accepted that before the 2000 election. Not anymore.

  32. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    If its supporters use scare tactics to try to pull third party supporters in line, I think the Democrats will have their record stand at 0 for 3.

    Excellent idea! When we’re all standing in the ruins of a shattered economy and infrastructure, when Roe v. Wade is annulled, when we’re breathing sulphur dioxide in the gentle shower of acid rain, and watching our young people being drafted to go fight a proxy war with Russia, remind yourself that you “voted your values.”

    You call it “scare tactics”, I call it reality.

  33. Socraticsilence
    Socraticsilence August 23, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    Joe-
    Exactly, after 2000, my tolerance for the third party argument is basically non-existent, especially when I hear people try and explain how “its different this time!”

  34. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm |

    Here’s the thing, fellow progressives…

    A vote that isn’t for Obama is a vote for killing people.

    As Noam Chomsky once said, although there is not a lot of difference between the two parties, a lot of lives hang in the balance of that difference. Voting for what you perceive as the lesser of two evils is not very satisfying, but to abandon that responsibility to vote for the lesser of two evils is to turn your back on all those lives which hang in the balance.

    Will Obama end the Iraq War sooner than McCain? Almost certainly. And every single day means more lives saved. Therefore, helping McCain get elected by not voting for Obama means more people die.

    Will Obama appoint a SCOTUS judges or judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade? Almost certainly. If Roe v. Wade is abolished, the underground abortion mills and back alley coathanger abortions start up again. Therefore, helping McCain get elected by not voting for Obama means more people die.

    Will Obama bring about more health coverage for Americans than McCain? Almost certainly. Which means people who might have died for lack of health care (especially early detection of treatable disease) might not. Therefore, helping McCain get elected by not voting for Obama means more people die.

    So before you make a stand and vote on your “principles”, be sure you understand what that choice means in real, human terms.

  35. Peter
    Peter August 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm |

    I’m too lazy to do any research on Biden’s positions, so I went to see how the various Liberal interest groups rate him

    (100 = best)

    ACLU: 86
    League of Conservation Voters: 89
    NAACP: 100
    NARAL: 100
    SEIU: 92

    By Democratic Party standards, he’s fair to midling on civil rights, the environment and labor. In contrast, NARAL and NAACP gave him their highest marks.

    Which pretty much jives with what I thought about him.

  36. Radfem
    Radfem August 23, 2008 at 3:13 pm |

    I think I need an umbrella to shield myself from the sudden shower of strawmen. And how many Democrats in Congress voted for killing people. If they hadn’t, there would be no need to debate whether or not voting for a particular candidate is about killing people or not.

    Sen. Biden’s vote on the Iraq War

    Yes, he’s since changed his mind but the war was a mistake to begin with and what his vote shows then is that he votes with the crowd on issues which involve killing people.

  37. S.H.
    S.H. August 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm |

    “Joe-
    Exactly, after 2000, my tolerance for the third party argument is basically non-existent, especially when I hear people try and explain how “its different this time!””

    Socratic I could really give a rat’s ass about your tolerance level. As an American citizen I can vote for Daffy Duck if I choose and I don’t have to get your approval or anyone else’s to do it.

    And spare me the coat hanger threat Joe, Joe Biden is hardly a champion of abortion rights. Nor is the democratic nominee, who can’t be bothered to even release a statement about the new HHS proposed rule. I refuse to keep lowering my standards every election cycle. Last time I checked it was the candidate’s responsibility to appeal to my values, I shouldn’t have to change or dilute my core bleiefs because “ZOMG we need a democrat, any democrat!” I’ll vote for a democrat when one comes along worthy of the title. Ain’t really seeing that this time around. And it’s MY vote, I will do with it what I choose. Deal with it.

    “Excellent idea! When we’re all standing in the ruins of a shattered economy and infrastructure,when Roe v. Wade is annulled”

    Ya know I find it hilarious that some Obama supporters consistently threaten that it will mean the end of democracy if people don’t vote their way, and consistently fail to see the absurd irony in that tactic. AND if I have one more male who doesn’t have a clue what if feels like to have to choose, let alone face the concept of not having the ability to choose, wag their finger at me and tell me I’m being a bad girl and I better get with the program or my uterus will pay the price, I swear to God I’m gonna scream.

  38. SoE
    SoE August 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm |

    I don’t get the US elections. Polls always seem to show that more people are in favor of abortion rights than in opposition. While still a lower percentage than other industrialized nations, 15% of Americans aren’t religious and nowadays the Evangelicals seem to care more about economics than abortion – but McCain slides towards the Religious Right he formerly despised and Obama nominates a nut (abortion and abstinence wise) for VP.

    WHY?

  39. AnonymousCoward
    AnonymousCoward August 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm |

    I like Biden, if only because I spent four years in Delaware, and just mentioning University of Delaware was enough for him to take several of my classmates and I back to his office to chat about Social Security reform for about half an hour. He’s a genuinely smart guy who’s made some bad decisions over his 35 years of service in the Senate. He’s not perfect, but if we limited our choices for leadership to only those who are perfect, we’d find ourselves lacking in potential Presidents.

    As for the issue of voting third-parties, it’s a zero-sum game. A failure to vote or a vote for someone other than one of the two top contenders, compared with a vote for the more preferred of the top two contenders, results in a higher probability of victory for the less preferred contender. This is incontrovertible mathematical fact.

  40. The Obama/Biden Round Up « Count Us Out

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  41. Diane
    Diane August 23, 2008 at 3:59 pm |

    “At least the PUMA quislings are honest in their idiocy…”
    What about those of us who are members of the Green Party? Are we idiots, too?

    “I think Nader would have been less objectionable than Mckinney given her anti-semitism.”

    McKinney’s “anti-Semitism” was manufactured by her enemies. Nader’s anti-feminism, however, is very real.

  42. Joe Max
    Joe Max August 23, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

    I believe that people on this very blog, particularly those voting for third party candidates, have already spoken about how they hate having “Roe!!!!” waved in their face constantly by candidates who don’t otherwise do anything for them

    Yes, I know – but it’s the reality of it, Cara. Not liking it doesn’t make it any less real. If those folks come right out and say, “I’m willing to see Roe nullified in order to make a political statement with my vote”, I can respect that (I might think it’s insane, but I’ll respect it.) But sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending it isn’t true because the truth makes you upset isn’t worthy of respect.

    My words are harsh because the reality is harsh. This isn’t a game. People are going to die as a result of McCain being elected who wouldn’t have died otherwise. Real human people. Mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. It’s not hypothetical, it’s a fact.

    I didn’t mean to deflect the thread, but someone posted that choosing Biden meant she wasn’t going to vote for Obama because of that decision. As far as the choice of Biden goes, he got a 100% rating from NARAL. If abortion rights are your passion, what’s not to like?

  43. carol h
    carol h August 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm |

    Joe Max: Suggesting that Clinton supporters “deserve to be slapped in the face” does not below on a feminist blog.

  44. carol h
    carol h August 23, 2008 at 4:34 pm |

    Sorry, that’s “belong” on a feminist blog.

  45. Rebecca (liberal!Rebecca)
    Rebecca (liberal!Rebecca) August 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    My personal thoughts on third-party candidates (while your point about swing states, Cara, is one I hadn’t thought of) is that yes, voting a third party theoretically has the potential to, if not bring that third party into power, to at least bring the views of a major party in that direction – bringing the Democrats more to the left by voting Green, for example.

    However, I do not think now is a good time. The time to vote Green would be when a Democrat is already in the White House. It’s less distance to travel from the current Dem platform to the ideal one than from the current administration’s platform to an ideal one.

  46. S.H.
    S.H. August 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm |

    “As far as the choice of Biden goes, he got a 100% rating from NARAL. If abortion rights are your passion, what’s not to like?”

    Joe either you’re not telling the truth or you don’t know the facts.

    If you look at project vote smart for instance you’ll see he supported the interests of NARAL 100% of the time in a given period but that doesn’t mean they gave him a 100 rating overall.

    In 2003 he had a 36% NARAL rating. in 2007 he got up to 75%. Alot of it depends on the votes/issues at hand, but I don’t see him getting a 100 out of NARAL as a grade ever, because he opposes public financing for abortion and he supports the partial birth abortion ban. He also accepts the Catholic church notion that life begins at conception. But other than that Mrs. Lincoln how’d ya like the play?

  47. Anne
    Anne August 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    Biden is an awful person. His treatment of Anita Hill was disgraceful. Yet another reason that Obama is not about real change.

  48. Nora
    Nora August 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm |

    “ACLU: 86
    League of Conservation Voters: 89
    NAACP: 100
    NARAL: 100
    SEIU: 92

    By Democratic Party standards, he’s fair to midling on civil rights, the environment and labor. In contrast, NARAL and NAACP gave him their highest marks.”

    That’s not actually correct. He’s not even stringently pro-choice according to NARAL. He received a 60% rating. That’s middling to them. Not anti-choice, but not pro-choice either.http://www.naral.org/elections/election-pr/pr08232008_bidenpick.html

  49. bastard.logic
    bastard.logic August 23, 2008 at 5:29 pm |

    What Sully Said…

    by matttbastard
    "Oh yes, with sprinkles!"
    New Political Animal head honcho Steve Benen has penned the ultimate smackdown of Ron “keep up the fight” Fournier’s bullshit op-ed-masquerading-as-analysis re: the newly announced O…

  50. AnonymousCoward
    AnonymousCoward August 23, 2008 at 5:33 pm |

    Cara:

    I watched the rally, and I can’t help but wonder if Biden has some sort of foot-in-mouth aura that affects those around him, what with Obama flubbing the introduction.

    Obama’s speech was great, as always, and Biden did well. I liked that he was willing to go on the attack against McCain already, since Obama’s “above-it-all” position was my biggest concern with him in the primaries.

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  53. What Sully Said | Comments from Left Field

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  54. Ico
    Ico August 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm |

    Obama’s VP choice just tipped the scales for me. I was on the fence about him. Really wasn’t pleased with his reversal on FISA. Then there was the sexism leaking through his campaign, his failure to address women’s issues, his pandering to the religious right with his support for funding faith-based charities and his remarks on choice… all of this pissed me off. But McCain is so much worse, I contemplated voting for Obama despite my reservations. So said the pragmatist in me (in a much less irritating fashion than Joe Max, who I must say makes me feel delighted about the prospect of voting for McKinney!)

    His VP choice is the last straw for me. Why should I support a centrist Democrat who panders to evangelicals while throwing real progressives, women, and gays under the bus? As to the argument that it’s the lesser of two evils and it’s simply pragmatic to do so — pshaw, say I! The *reason* Obama didn’t pick a more progressive, feminist running mate is that he knows that those of us that are miffed — that is to say, women, queers, whosoever else — have nowhere else to go.

    So fall in line and be a good girl, hm?

    *NOBODY* gives me that argument. I don’t care how it’s dressed up — that’s really what all these scare tactics amount to. Sadly for those who wield them, I am not scared. I am angry. I will not bow to anyone’s demands. And if the best Obama supporters can come up with is “Well, he’s the best you’ve got, deal with it” — hell no, he’s not.

    I will vote my conscience. I will vote McKinney. I urge everyone else to do the same — whether you lean towards pragmatism or idealism, whether you support Obama or someone else. Vote for what you believe in and don’t be swayed by harassment from supporters of either camp.

  55. S.H.
    S.H. August 23, 2008 at 6:41 pm |

    Sorry Cara I was feeding the troll, but he pushed my buttons. But ah yes the rally, I think denegrating his own wife in front of thousands was my absolute favorite part!

    “Ladies and Gentleman, my wife Jill who you will meet soon and who is drop dead gorgeous. (Laughter) My wife Jill, who you will meet soon. She also has her doctorate degree which is a problem. (Laughter) But all kidding aside, my Jill, my Jill, my wife Jill and I are honored to join Barack and Michelle on this journey. Because that is what it is. It’s a journey.”

    Hardy, har, har! my wife has a doctorate which is a problem!!!!! I’m surprised he didn’t follow up with “take my wife, please!” C’mon what’s not to like???!!! This guy’s such a card!

  56. matttbastard
    matttbastard August 23, 2008 at 6:53 pm |

    Cara: footage of Biden’s Henny Youngman impression here.

  57. matttbastard
    matttbastard August 23, 2008 at 6:55 pm |

    Cara: Biden’s Henny Youngman impression is here.

  58. matttbastard
    matttbastard August 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm |

    (Next time, the Scrappy Kid from Scranton should have Steve Clemons introduce Jill.)

  59. Charity
    Charity August 23, 2008 at 7:11 pm |

    Just wanted to echo Nora’s comment, in the interest of accuracy. I don’t know where Peter got his ratings, but Joe Biden did earn a 60% record on choice for 2007. Not saying that’s going to make or break him, or anything, but we should strive for accuracy.

    http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/choice-action-center/in-congress/congressional-record-on-choice/delaware.html

    I am more baffled than angry at bullying comments like Joe Max’s, which I think we have all seen plenty of, over the last year+. To me, such comments smack of a level of desperation that suggests you, Joe, should engage in some self-reflection and examination of your candidate. If he’s so obviously the “best” choice, why the panic? Won’t he still win in a landslide, if folks on blogs like this are just a few fringe lunatics ruled by emotions, being selfish and vindictive, haven’t thought things through, etc.? For these folks to matter, it’s got to be a close race. What will make it such a close race? Is the answer just “everyone else’s idiocy”, as you are currently framing it? Or is it that your candidate is flawed enough to lose what is clearly a Democratic majority in this country, if the primaries are any indication? What proportion of the electorate would have to criticize a candidate for you to deem it legitimate criticism, rather than idiocy? Or more accurately, I am guessing, what *cultural characteristics* of the electorate factor into your determination of what is “idiocy” and what is not? Let me guess.

    How about trying to actually hear and understand the reasons people are giving you, and then take informed actions to improve your candidate’s chances? You dismiss the reasons on one hand, but on the other hand reveal with your panicked comments that you haven’t dismissed the size of the “no Obama” bloc. As I said above, what do you think accounts for the size?

    Every administration in history has been responsible for deaths, corruption, and oppression, even with “liberals” at the helm. I am pro-veteran, pro-troop, and care deeply about Iraq and Afghanistan. I say that in hopes of not coming across as belittling war in my next statements. As recently discussed in depth on this very blog, our economic system is responsible for more deaths than you would imagine, as is our foreign policy, our behind-the-scenes arms sales and negotiations, even when there is *not* a war on. Saying a vote for one candidate equals a vote for death while a vote for the other does not, even if there are (*alleged*) differences in their plans for Iraq, is naive and inaccurate.

    Further, others have already spoken to the offensiveness and futility of beating women with the “Roe” stick. Really, how dare you threaten women on a feminist website with the prospect of Roe being “annulled”?

    a) Thanks – I think maybe we’ve thought about Roe. Or do you imagine women are insensate, or need to be instructed on what their interests are, or both? Pretty insulting, don’t you think? b) What are you doing to protect Roe aside from voting a certain way once every 4 years based on certain talking points, Joe? Because the women here are the ones doing grassroots organizing to keep abortion legal and accessible, are the ones doing education and advocacy, are the ones raising and donating money to Planned Parenthood, who are volunteering their time at clinics, including putting on clinic escort vests and shielding women from the harassment and intimidation of protesters on the street. Have you been to a clinic Joe? Have you seen protesters make young women cry? Have you had your photograph taken by an anti-abortion protester and put up on a web site, or your license plate number traced to allow them to harass your workplace? No? Have you ever imagined what you’d have to give up, how your life would turn upside down, if you became pregnant when you were not planning to? How it would feel to have men debate your ownership of your very body, your internal organs and your LIFE, and then turn around and say you’re doing us a favor ? I’m not buying for a second that you know, or care, more about Roe, and women’s reproductive rights, than the women you are talking to here, if you know or care at all. Even the women here whose JOBS and LIFE’S WORK, whose passions and very personally-held, heart-wrenching activism, REVOLVE around protecting Roe, manage to be respectful and thoughtful towards commenters who say they are not voting for Obama. What do you make of that, Joe? And while we’ve certainly seen far too many infringements and obstructions and too much chipping away at reproductive rights during the last administration, Roe is still standing. That’s much more a function of people like the women at this site than it is you and your polemics, though, Joe. So really, I could claim it is more the work on the ground than the highest elected official who determines women’s access to abortion. I could argue it has always been and will always be that way, women doing the work on the ground while men at the top flick a pen and get the credit for one turn or the other. But the women on the ground will always outnumber you, Joe. You take a moment and think about that one.

  60. AnonymousCoward
    AnonymousCoward August 23, 2008 at 8:30 pm |

    Charity:

    NARAL seems to think that Biden’s a reasonable guy. http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/elections/election-pr/pr08232008_bidenpick.html

  61. Charity
    Charity August 23, 2008 at 8:34 pm |

    AC, I was also citing NARAL – they rated him as 60% and referred to his record as “mixed” re: choice, on the page I referenced. Whether or not that is reasonable can be debated, certainly – I did not say it was a death knell. The point was to correct the inaccurate statement that he had a 100% rating.

  62. AnonymousCoward
    AnonymousCoward August 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm |

    Charity:

    He had a 100% rating for some years, and an abysmal 36% rating for others. I think the 60% might be a longer-term calculation. It’s certainly reasonable to talk about his lifetime record, but it’s not as though the 100% number was summoned from someone’s rectum: it was a statistic from one of his better years.

    You might look at why his rating isn’t 100%… it’s based on two differences between Biden and NARAL: his positions on D&X and federal funding for abortion procedures. I think he’s wrong on those two issues, to be certain, but even his analysis of the Supreme Court upholding the ban on D&X shows he wants to maintain reproductive freedom:

    RUSSERT: You supported the ban on partial-birth abortions or late-term abortions.

    BIDEN: I did and I do.

    RUSSERT: And the Supreme Court came and basically upheld that ban, and you criticized the Supreme Court.

    BIDEN: They upheld the ban, and then they engaged in what we lawyers call dicta that is frightening. You had an intellectually dishonest rationale for an honest justification for upholding the ban. I know this is going to sound arcane–they blurred the distinction between the government’s role in being involved in the first day and the ninth month. They became paternalistic, talking about the court could consider the impact on the mother and keeping her from making a mistake. This is all code for saying, “Here we come to undo Roe v. Wade.” What they did is not so much the decision, the actual outcome of the decision, it’s what attended the decision that portends for a real hard move on the court to undo the right of privacy. That’s what I’m criticizing about the court’s decision.

    — Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series, from http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Joe_Biden_Abortion.htm

    His votes (same link) also seem to put him against parental notification laws (which is generally where exceptions to general pro-choice principles creep in).

    Biden’s doesn’t have the best pro-choice record, and I’m not arguing that he’s perfect. But he’s not bad (nor is he a “nut,” as another poster suggested), and it’s not as if Obama just picked Bob Casey Jr. to be his VP.

  63. jessilikewhoa
    jessilikewhoa August 23, 2008 at 10:14 pm |

    *grumble grumble*joe biden*grumble grumble*

  64. Charity
    Charity August 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm |

    AC – if you look at the page I linked, the 60% rating is for 2007, and is explained on that page, on the basis of his votes for particular legislation in 2007. If it is an “average” of multiple years, it does not clearly say so – it rather clearly links the rating to his actions in 2007. I was also the second person to cite this rating. It seems you are conflating me with other commenters and their particular characterizations of Joe Biden in your continued riffing off my citing of the statistic. Did I somewhere say that this should be the end of Joe Biden? No – I gave the correct statistic specifically in response to an incorrect statistic, and the remaining 95% of my comment was not even related to the Joe Biden NARAL rating. If you read my “your candidate” references in the remaining 95% of my comment as references to Biden, they were actually references to Obama. Does that clear things up?

  65. AZ Escapee
    AZ Escapee August 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm |

    Joe Max strikes me as being worried sick, and I don’t blame him.

    I voted for Clinton in the primary. I would have been happy to see her on the ticket, despite her hawkish approach to foreign policy. I would have voted for Edwards if he’d stayed in. Thankfully, he didn’t.

    Joe Biden will be a good attack dog. He may help pull in some cafeteria Catholics. I remember watching the Anita Hill hearings and feeling sick with anger. But Biden may have learned something from that fiasco. He voted against Roberts and Alito, and he was key in passing VAWA. The Dem VP certainly could have been worse.

    I voted (blue state) for Nader in 2000 in the hope of getting the Green Party over the magical 5% threshold for federal funds. Having seen who Al Gore has become in the years since, I wish I’d pulled the lever for him.

    The Supreme Court is already 5-4 over-the-top corporatist. 6-3 or 7-2 could make this country unliveable for the great majority of us who work for a living and the less lucky folks who have no work, not to mention the thousand more cuts that reproductive justice might suffer. Joe Max is right in that even a hawkish Dem administration is likely to spill less blood that a hawkish Repub administration, especially one led by a muddled and hot-tempered man who’s aging badly, can’t keep Sunni and Shia straight, and yearns to go mano-a-mano with Russia.

    We have one center-right and one far-right party. One of them will win. Bob Barr may (fingers crossed) attract some votes that would otherwise have gone to McCain. Cynthia McKinney will probably attract even more votes that would otherwise have gone to Obama. Neither Barr nor McKinney will be our next president. If you supported Clinton in the primary, do you think that she will be voting for McKinney? If you liked Kucinich, do you think he’ll vote Green this year? Both will mark their ballots for Obama/Biden and hope with all their might for a victory celebration that night. If people here and across the world are likely to suffer less under Obama than McCain, it makes sense to vote for Obama rather than for none of the above. In 2000, lots of well-intentioned people in swing states voted for what they thought was the perfect over the good; what we got was the worst to date. I live in Hawaii and am willing to vote swap. Let’s survive the next four years together.

  66. Mary
    Mary August 24, 2008 at 9:31 am |

    The Supreme Court hangs in the balance. Do I want McCain/whoever or Obama/Biden picking the next justices?

    Iranian lives hang in the balance. Do I want a president like John McCain, who thinks it’s hilarious to joke about murdering Iranian civilians with bombs and cigarettes, or do I want Obama/Biden taking a more reasoned approach to the region?

    I ask in total sincerity – is there a realistic reason I should not do EVERYTHING I can do, including voting for an imperfect Democratic ticket, to make sure McCain does not get into the White House? I would rather vote a candidate closer to my values, BUT McCain is so contrary to my values that I’m not going to lose a wink of sleep voting for the team with the greatest chance of beating him.

  67. Peter
    Peter August 24, 2008 at 11:14 am |

    Just wanted to echo Nora’s comment, in the interest of accuracy. I don’t know where Peter got his ratings, but Joe Biden did earn a 60% record on choice for 2007. Not saying that’s going to make or break him, or anything, but we should strive for accuracy.

    I stand corrected. I just got his liberal interest group ratings from a website that just had one year of ratings. Obviously, Biden’s ratings fluctuate year to year, and NAACP and NARAL don’t give him the same rating every year.

    I agree that his rating from liberal interest groups are far from perfect, and in fact downright discouraging in some cases.

    I agree with the other sentiments expressed in the thread about not lecturing anyone on how to vote, or pulling our the scare cards about Roe, or anything else. I don’t give a crap if people want to vote for Nader or McKinney. To each, their own.

  68. urbanartiste
    urbanartiste August 24, 2008 at 12:33 pm |

    How about Biden’s opening sexist comments about his wife’s looks and education. Obama just lost my vote, big time. Obama just told women he does not care about their vote. I am Catholic and you can not tell me to trust Biden on abortion at all!

  69. Planet Janet
    Planet Janet August 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |

    urbanartiste: “How about Biden’s opening sexist comments about his wife’s looks and education. Obama just lost my vote, big time.”

    Honestly, what’s wrong with a husband calling his wife “drop-dead gorgeous”? We’re voting about the fate of the country, btw.

    “I am Catholic and you can not tell me to trust Biden on abortion at all!”
    Why would NARAL give him a 100 score then?

  70. Peter
    Peter August 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm |

    How about Biden’s opening sexist comments about his wife’s looks and education. Obama just lost my vote, big time.

    Is this concern trolling, or is this for real?

    I have my problems with Biden, but on what planet is calling your wife (or husband) gorgeous, and bragging about their education sexist? That’s what husbands and wives do. At least in my experience. It’s appropriate behaviour, for a spouse.

    Its no appropriate for cable news pundits to talk about Hillary Clinton’s dress, or the way she looks. Surely, you can see the difference.

  71. urbanartiste
    urbanartiste August 24, 2008 at 7:28 pm |

    Okay, how about his comment about the only thing he can say he liked about Kucinich during the dem. debate was his wife? Is there a pattern here?

    Let’s get real. His opening statement about his wife was a message to all sexist working class men reaffirming masculinity. Please don’t paint or defend this as anything else. I hear alot of feminists on various blogs quite disappointed about this pick, but are still defending Obama. The glass slipper cracked already. And will anyone face up to the fact that male democrats are holding women hostage with reproductive freedom? I am completely amazed as to how blind women are to this!

  72. urbanartiste
    urbanartiste August 24, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    I would have had a lot more respect for Obama if he had picked Richardson. Biden was going nowhere in the primary. Richardson would have been a great selection – governor, Latino, southwest (another part of the country that could go for McCain. Biden is Northeast liberal and aside from views, not that far off from McCain.

  73. urbanartiste
    urbanartiste August 24, 2008 at 7:43 pm |

    Okay, how about Biden as Chairman of the Judiciary Committe overseeing the Clarence Thomas hearing?

    I am not trolling, but seriously concerned with this V.P. pick.

  74. Planet Janet
    Planet Janet August 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm |

    “I hear alot of feminists on various blogs quite disappointed about this pick, but are still defending Obama. The glass slipper cracked already.”
    If you’re so worried about off-the-cuff sexist remarks, why didn’t the glass slipper crack when Obama married a woman who would describe him as “the ultimate accessory” in public? Or do you only care about sexism when it comes from men?

    “Okay, how about his comment about the only thing he can say he liked about Kucinich during the dem. debate was his wife? Is there a pattern here?”
    That’s not the “only thing” he could say. About 3 seconds after saying that, he went on to describe decades spent working with Kucinich and how he’s a dear friend and great congressmen.

    “And will anyone face up to the fact that male democrats are holding women hostage with reproductive freedom?”
    How are they holding women “hostage” ? They support abortion rights and just because they don’t always agree with every last abortion position doesn’t mean they’re holding us hostage. That’s like saying because the U.S. has the freest speech on Earth it’s holding me hostage, cause I wouldn’t be able to tolerate living anywhere else. It’s just not true. That’s the fault of other countries, not the U.S.

    “Biden is Northeast liberal and aside from views, not that far off from McCain.”
    National Journal (same source that ranked Obama as the most liberal congressman) ranked Biden as #3 most liberal congressman. So, how is he “not that far off” from McCain?

  75. MetaHara
    MetaHara August 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    Dear Politicalguineapig,

    NO.

  76. MaryC
    MaryC August 28, 2008 at 11:50 am |

    For the love of God. Don’t you think it speaks well of Biden that he married a woman strong, intelligent and independent enough to pursue two masters’ degrees and a PhD? Who celebrated her academic achievements with a sign on their lawn reading “Dr. and Senator Biden live here”? That he’s been married to her for 30 years without a whiff of a sex scandal (that I’m aware of; hope I didn’t bring down the jinx!).

    Focusing on one borderline remark out of a guy’s mouth is missing the forest for the trees. There are 300+ million Americans in this country and we’re not all going to get exactly what we want in a candidate or President – I’ve long ago made peace with the reality that I’m not going to love everything about the Democratic ticket. But I’m still going to vote for it, because I can’t personally afford to see McCain in office, who’s likely to stack the SCOTUS with pro-life judges, thinks it’s funny to joke about murdering Iranians, can’t tell the difference between Sunni and Shia and probably doesn’t care, is beholden to the oilmen and theocrats that run the GOP, voted against Martin Luther King Jr. Day, voted against the Violence Against Women’s Act that Joe Biden wrote and fought for, voted against veterans’ benefits, and called his wife the c-word in public.

    I respect a person’s decision to vote for whomever they want; but do not for a minute tell me there is no difference between the two major political parties. The Bush years should have taught us that lesson all too well. I understand the resentment of being asked to choose between “bad” and “worse,” but “worse” has been running loose for the last 8 years. We could stand to embrace a little pragmatism right now.

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