A Quick Education on Joe Biden

UPDATE: It’s Official — Biden is the CHOICE!!

OK, so the announcement hasn’t been made as I write this, but apparently, the Secret Service has been dispatched to Senator Joe Biden’s house, and Obama has a plane chartered to Biden’s home state of Delaware. After months of speculation, are we finally done?

So, who is Joe Biden and where does stand on several key issues? How does he compare to Obama, his apparent new boss?

Joe Biden has been a senator from Delaware since 1972 (sheesh – I was in kindergarten!). His first wife and his youngest of three children, a daughter, were killed the same year in a tragic car crash. In 1977, Biden married a school teacher, Jill, and their daughter was born in 1981.

As Senator, Biden has been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for much of his service, and has taken vocal stands against the genocide in the Balkans and now in Darfur. He’s been an innovative leader against the war in Iraq. Both Obama and Biden have been professors on Constitutional law.

Biden’s service has obviously been extensive and on a few key progressive issues, he has a fairly solid record.

On abortion:

In 2003, Joe Biden was given a 36% rating from NARAL, having voted against public funding for abortion and for the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban. Not so great, but he’s improved since then. Obama has a 100% rating on abortion rights.

On the Environment:

Both are innovative in different areas — Biden has had a solid record on issues like opposing coal, opposing several timber sales, and working avidly against the Bush Administration. Obama’s strength is in the area of promoting green technology and preventing environmental racism.

On Gay Rights:

Joe Biden and Barack Obama are essentially on the same page on gay rights – both oppose gay marriage, but both favor civil unions, the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and are strongly against a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

On Iraq:

This is where Biden gets interesting, at least to me. He voted for the initial Iraq war resolution, but then pulled a renegade moved and called for its repeal after Saddam Hussein was deposed. Now, like Obama, he favors a gradual withdrawal of around 16 months in order to prevent internal Iraqi chaos.

On Health Care:

Joe Biden is nearly identical to Obama on health care. They both favor, in the big picture, universal health care, but favor a gradual implementation starting with coverage for children first. He’s also strongly opposed to perks for prescription drug companies and the GOP plan for Medicare.

Civil Rights:

Total and complete slam dunk for both of them – 100% ratings from NAACP, both in favor of reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment and have both bucked the trend of weakening the Americans with Disability Act, among fabulous stands on a number of other issues. Mucho bueno.

On “Homeland Security” and Torture

Both Obama and Biden say no, never, under no circumstances should the United States participate in torture. See, because both favor a civilized society. Won’t it be nice? Unlike Obama, Biden opposed the extension of the Patriot Act’s jurisdiction to unwarranted wiretapping. Well, that’s good.

On Education:

Both are great, although Obama tends to focus on creating innovative college tuition programs while Biden looks at reforms of the primary school system, including the repeal of No Child Left Behind. They are both extremely strong on putting tremendous resources into early childhood education.

There are a few areas where Biden worries me – he’s been known to have little judgment with ill-chosen statements. And his ego could fill an entire room.

Given that, if it is Biden, is this a good choice for Obama?


9 Responses

  1. Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

  2. Can you cite that 36 percent rating from NARAL? The 2007 Congressional Record on Choice gives Biden a 60 and Project Vote Smart reports 75.

  3. If I’m wrong on it, I’m the first to say I’d be happy….

  4. mamakristin, I see the problem now. Ontheissues.org cites a NARAL rating from 2003, which Vote Smart confirms as being accurate. Here’s the updated information:


  5. Thanks, Nat — I really appreciate the info and have updated the post to reflect your data. Thanks again — quite reassuring that he’s better than I thought on abortion.

  6. great post. thanks for the info on the new vp candidate

  7. Hi everyone,

    Well, Senator Joe Biden is an interesting choice. As a 62 year old, I have seen him pop-up many times on the scene.

    The Republicans have long memories (no wonder they use an elephant as their symbol), so expect that the “plagiarism” episode which brought Joe Biden’s earlier, strong Presidential bid down, will be resurrected. somehow.

    But, I have seen Biden “mature” through the decades, and the people of Delaware stayed with him, too. That speaks in itself.

    So now we will see what the complete GOP ticket is and counter-point them with any others, if we decide to go in that direction. This is no longer a slam-dunk election. Who would have thought the Democrats would lose so much ground, until now!

    This is also the most problematical election for me, ever, but at least at the moment, Senator Biden was a decent choice.

    I just hope that this time around, any and all at the Helm will put domestic issues highest on the agenda and the repair of America’s reputation for the highest ideals and actions, as an important goal.

    The problems have become SO deep and recalcitrant, worldwide, that I despair of anyone being able to grapple with them.

    Above all, I hope that Equality, Liberty and Fraternity will be respected, in deed and not just in words. We need to build Community again, and fashion ourselves in an Honorable way, each day. All of us need to participate, or our way of Life will dissolve before our very eyes.

    We have to rally around and support our best and brightest, and encourage them to Innovate to solve massive problems.

    And, each of us need to try to be the best we can be — no more free-lunch, no more sliding-by (and I say that as an educator).

    Desperately, we have to make sure that all voices are genuinely listened to, and encourage personal Responsibility and participation. True campaign finance reform is critical, and we must insist upon it!

    Above all, we have to have Courage to halt and reverse the maiming aspects of Globalism, as well as unravel the undue and misplaced Power of globalized corporations and the military-industrial complex. What a tall order for anyone!

    Listen carefully. Vote accordingly.

    Best to all — Em
    “Everyone knows someone who needs this information!” (TM)

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