A story that sheds light on why I’m for Joe Biden

Biden stump 1

Tonight Joe Biden (and others) will be at the Galivants Ferry Stump Speaking. I had thought seriously about going, but decided I had too much to do to take the trip — almost two hours each way. (If you’re closer, I urge you to go. The Stump is always interesting, and this special-edition gathering promises to be particularly so.)

So I’ll give you a picture or two from the last time I saw and interviewed Joe at the Stump, and give you a link to my column about it. It was in 2006. (Special bonus feature: The column quotes former blog regular Paul DeMarco, who happened to be at the Stump — as I noted in a separate post at the time.)

And to add a measure of substance, here’s something else I meant to post last week. I don’t expect it to change any minds among those of you who don’t like Joe for whatever reason, but I offer it as another window into why I’m for him, and really don’t have a second choice among the others running.

It’s a story from the NYT about the way he handled the process that ended in a vote against Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee, Robert Bork. An excerpt:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was on the brink of victory, but he was unsatisfied.

Mr. Biden, the 44-year-old chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was poised to watch his colleagues reject President Ronald Reagan’s formidable nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert H. Bork. The vote was unlikely to be close. Yet Mr. Biden was hovering in the Senate chamber, plying Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, a Republican of modestly conservative politics and regal bearing, with arguments about Bork’s record.

Rejecting a Supreme Court nominee was an extraordinary act of defiance, and Mr. Biden did not want a narrow vote that could look like an act of raw partisan politics….

Mr. Biden’s entreaties prevailed: Mr. Warner became one of 58 senators to vote against Bork, and one of six Republicans.

That’s Joe. As the piece says, it was a moment when “Mr. Biden’s political ethos found its most vivid and successful expression.” At a moment when most partisans would be satisfied simply to win, Joe wanted to go the extra mile to win in a way less likely to tear the country apart. One more excerpt:

The strategy Chairman Biden deployed then is the same one he is now proposing to bring to the White House as President Biden.

In the 1980s, as today, he saw bipartisan compromise not as a version of surrender, but as a vital tool for achieving Democratic goals….

And in both defining moments — his leadership of the Bork hearings and his third presidential campaign — Mr. Biden made persuading moderates, rather than exciting liberals, his guiding objective….

Yep, that sets him part from the people in his own party and the other who tend to think it terms of getting 50 percent plus one and cramming their policy goals down the opposition’s throat.

I have little patience with such people. And that’s another reason why Joe is my guy. He’s the one candidate who is the polar opposite of what’s wrong with our national politics…

Biden stump 2

30 thoughts on “A story that sheds light on why I’m for Joe Biden

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    IQ

    Oh — apropos of nothing, I thought I’d mention the Google ad I’m currently seeing at the top of my blog. It invites me to take an IQ test. Just 20 questions.

    So, knowing I am forbidden by Google to click on these ads, I simply copied the URL it pointed to, opened it in another browser, and answered the 20 questions.

    Then it asked for my contact info. I didn’t provide it, and closed the tab.

    So I passed the test, right?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s based on what he’s done for 50 years. And this is a good example, illustrating the values he has exhibited then, and now.

      Which my post made quite clear…

      Reply
  2. Doug T

    You a shoulda went to the stump. Big crowd. Amy K, Mayor Pete and my man Joe remind me again why I’m a Democrat, especially with what’s going on now with Trump rolling back regulations on methane emissions and wetlands protection.

    Everyone focusing on a sharpie line on a hurricane map meanwhile Trump is gutting environmental protection.

    Reply
  3. Sally Huguley

    You and I agree on Joe Biden. However, I wish the national media would quit nitpicking him. I suppose it’s done in the spirit of balanced reporting since Biden’s been the front runner even before he announced. But I don’t see the same microscopic examination of any stutter coming from the other candidates. But the continuing “too old” refrain does seem biased since Joe, Bernie, Elizabeth and The Donald are of the same decade.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, Sally.

      It’s the agreed-upon narrative. Everyone has agreed that Joe must be watched for malaprops and such. And amazingly, they are found! Again and again!…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Seems similar to the Trump narrative.. focus on a word or sentence he tweets and make it into national news. The media has been exposed during the past three years.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Wow. For a guy who doesn’t like Trump, you very faithfully repeat his supporters’ talking points.

          Doug, get used to it: Any statement made by the president of the United States, in any medium whatsoever, is by definition not just national, but international news.

          It has ever been thus.

          And this is why every president of the United States before this one was very careful about what he said publicly.

          BECAUSE WORDS MATTER…

          The interesting thing here is that Joe is one of the least-careful speakers ever to mount a credible campaign for the presidency. He loves people and he loves to talk to them, and has a history of not always being as careful as he should be.

          Of course, compared to Trump, he’s a model of care and propriety…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And perhaps it would be instructive to examine the differences between Trump’s malice and deliberate lies, generally intended to elevate himself and/or tear down someone else, and the mistakes Joe has made. He said “big fucking deal” that time because he was excited about the ACA, for his friend Barack and for the country. It was a measure of his excitement about something that actually WAS a BFD — probably the biggest FD in American domestic policy in this country since the Johnson administration…

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              And the plagiarism.. And the support for the Iraq war… He was for it before he was against it. And the grabbing young women…

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And that, of course, is the deal-breaker for you and Bud, the root of your disdain for Biden — he, and every other serious politician in the Congress (barring the outsiders like Bernie who felt free to go against the grain because back then, it went without saying that THEY had no chance of being considered for president), voted for the force resolution.

                Whereas with me, anyone who did NOT vote for it, based on the information then available (which is very different from those of you who like to remake past decisions based on what was then unknown), would be suspect as a candidate for president.

                Not that a candidate couldn’t persuade me that he or she could still be a good president in spite of having voted against it. But I would need to hear that explanation, because I see it the exact opposite of the way y’all do.

                The way y’all look at it, only someone who is a broken clock on use of force — that is to say, always against it — is acceptable. To me, only someone willing to consider all options, rather than deciding on the basis of ideological prejudice, is acceptable…

                Reply
                1. Mark Stewart

                  The thing is, Biden is a flawed human, a normal, ethical, person though. Like most of us. Trump is not that; I do not see how it is so hard for people to grasp the difference.

                  I have never been a fan of Biden. I even walked out on a talk he gave around 1990. But I would have no problem voting for him if that is what is required.

                  How can people look at Trump – and his minions who will do his bidding – as any kind of leader other than a mob boss? It is a total mystery to me.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  But that’s the thing, Mark. Trump being like a mob boss is one of the things they like about him. And one of the things Trump himself admires about Putin, Duterte, and other thugs around the world…

                3. bud

                  And that, of course, is the deal-breaker for you and Bud, the root of your disdain for Biden — he, and every other serious politician in the Congress (barring the outsiders like Bernie who felt free to go against the grain because back then, it went without saying that THEY had no chance of being considered for president), voted for the force resolution.
                  -Brad

                  Not a deal breakers entirely but a real important issue. Hillary also voted for that reprehensible resolution but eventually acknowledged it as a mistake. To the best of my knowledge Biden never fully apologized for that awful vote. A truly SERIOUS politician would have studied the issued more thoroughly and seen that the administration was just flat out lying. The evidence of that WAS there. Hopefully after this round of elections we can quit talking about that disaster. But if it keeps coming up the truth has to be told. Bush lied and people died. Biden was an enabler. And that is a big f***ing deal.

                4. bud

                  As for Mark’s point, I agree. Trump is not just a flawed human being he is far worse than anything that even closely resembles a normal level of imperfection. His level of narcissism is at a stunning level of grotesque. Just yesterday he managed to make the death of Cokie Roberts about his own damn self! There is just nothing remotely normal about the stuff he says and does. It cannot be squared with fluff statements that he is merely New York boorish. Yet people defend him. I challenge anyone who defends Trump to replace Cokie Roberts name in the Trump tweet with a name of one of their loved ones who recently died and see if they still see his behavior as merely boorish.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  From Bud’s comment:

                  Trump is not just a flawed human being he is far worse than anything that even closely resembles a normal level of imperfection. His level of narcissism is at a stunning level of grotesque. Just yesterday he managed to make the death of Cokie Roberts about his own damn self! There is just nothing remotely normal about the stuff he says and does. It cannot be squared with fluff statements that he is merely New York boorish. Yet people defend him. I challenge anyone who defends Trump to replace Cokie Roberts name in the Trump tweet with a name of one of their loved ones who recently died and see if they still see his behavior as merely boorish.

                  Absolutely. And it continues to floor me that anyone could fail to see that…

              2. Harry Harris

                “And the plagiarism.. And the support for the Iraq war… He was for it before he was against it. And the grabbing young women…”
                The plagiarism was quoting a good point from a speech without giving credit – a bad thing to do for which he apologized. He admits he was wrong on the war, but was deceived as were the majority of leaders and common folks at the time. Yhe grabbing young women quip is nothing but a misleading cheap shot.

                Reply
                1. bud

                  As Meatloaf once said 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. The plagiarism thing was fairly minor. And yes the touching of the women was perhaps a bit creepy for a few of the women but Biden’s intentions were innocent enough. As for the war vote. That was just wrong. As I recall his admission of being wrong on the war vote was pretty tepid.

                2. Harry Harris

                  I vehemently disagreed with the Iraq war. I predicted a few weeks before it was started, that Bush was going to do it thanks to Cheney (a war profiteer). However, after the war started, I stated to my wife I would not speak against the war for at least 6 months – we were led to believe it would be done and won by then. I then began to speak out and advocate against it’s morality, legality, reasoning, and efficacy. I was right on all counts. Still I have never blamed those who reluctantly went along mainly on the basis of national solidarity – strongly condemning only its purveyors, Cheney et al.

          2. Doug Ross

            You mean any word. And not the statements that don’t fit the narrative. It’s all culled for the clicks and the lemmings.

            Reply
  4. bud

    Just to keep this discussion on a positive note let me explain why I support Elizabeth Warren for POTUS. Through her extensive experience in corporate law and her tenure in the Obama administration as Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she is uniquely qualified to deal with the extraordinary issues surrounding corporate malfeasance. As an example, the issues surrounding Purdue pharmaceuticals declaring bankruptcy and the Sackler family cravenly hiding money overseas to prevent a reasonable settlement with the victims of their manufactured opioid scandal. This greedy scheme is another illustration of just how widespread corporate abuse has become. Other recent examples corporate abuse include ENRON, BP, Ford, Volkswagen and Wells Fargo. Elizabeth Warren is the best person to handle these corporate abuse issues. And that to me is more important than trying to play nice with the Republicans.

    Reply
    1. Bill

      Criminals are living in the White House.Corporate abuse and Purdue pharma ceutical can wait.Warren has that shrill voice,and Aunt Bea mannerisms that drive me nuts.Can’t watch that…She’s unnerving,like fingernails on a blackboard…

      Reply
      1. Mr. Smith

        Aw, just when we were beginning to think there was some substance to ya, Bill, we find out you’re all about the tune.

        Reply
        1. Bill

          Like Lennon,Dylan later grew to hate his early sexism,homophobia and misogny,but some forms of bigotry never get old,esp in SC(Alive and Well)…

          Reply

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