BIDEN AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES

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I’M NOT TEDDY KENNEDY …

Senator Biden told the Philadelphia Inquirer in Novem­ber 1986, “Say the administration sends up Bork and after our investigation he looks a lot like another Scalia, I’d have to vote for him and if the groups tear me apart, that’s the medicine I’ll have to take, I’m not Teddy Kennedy (Bork, Robert H., The Tempting of America, New York: The Free Press, 1990, p. 284).

 

BIDEN’S PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS COME TO END FOR ALL TIME …

Joe Biden CartoonDuring the hearings, Senator Biden’s presidential aspirations came to a sudden end, probably for all time. The campaign staff of Governor Michael Dukakis gave the press videotapes demonstrating that Biden had plagiarized speeches by other politicians such as Britain’s Neal Kinnock. In addition, the press learned that Biden had misrepresented his law school record. As the damaging facts began to pile up, Biden at first tried to explain and finally had to hold a press conference at which he withdrew as a candidate for his party’s nomination. Shortly after that, during a break in the hearings, Biden came over to my table and said, with every appear­ance of sympathy, “You know, your situation and mine are a lot alike.” I didn’t think there was any comparison but managed not to tell him so (Bork, ibid., p. 307).

 

BIDEN ENABLES NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR WEAPON PROGRAM …

[Bill Clinton’s] response was not to speed up or deploy a national missile defense. It was to “aggressively pursue concerns we have… as we continue the bilateral dialogue” with the North Koreans, McCurry said. That is, a bilateral dialogue with a communist regime that still considers itself at war with the United States. Once again the secret agenda was related not to North Korea but to Russia. The president was wedded to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and missile threats would undermine the treaty’s viability. The North Korean long-range missile test notwithstanding, the Clinton adminis­tration has maintained its almost religious commitment to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. On September 9, 1998, the Senate failed by a single vote to end a Democratic filibuster blocking legislation calling for deployment of a national missile defense capable of hitting mis­siles like the Taepo Dong. Senator Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, typ­ified the inflammatory level of the debate when he took to the floor saying, “This bill will destroy the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.” Moreover, deploying a national missile defense would cause Russia and China to adopt “launch-on-warning” nuclear stances that, according to Biden, would make “nuclear war closer.” But all Biden had done was to revive the Cold War doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction, a doctrine irrelevant in dealing with rogue states like North Korea (Gertz, Bill, Betrayal: How The Clinton Administration Undermined American Security, Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc. 1999, p. 7).

 

JOE BIDEN: WAR HAWK. CALLS GEORGE BUSH “TOO TIMID” TO SEND TROOPS INTO IRAQ …

Biden2There were great pressures on the President not to intervene further than he did. For one thing, the Turks had given us loyal support during the war, and they would now feel betrayed if we intervened on behalf of the Kurds, who make up a sizable minor­ity population in Turkey as well as in Iraq. To do anything that might lead to the creation of an independent Kurdish state would risk alienating not only the government in Ankara but also the region’s Arab countries. These countries had gone along with Desert Shield and Desert Storm precisely because the limited objectives were so clearly defined. So, even while I felt there was more we could manage to do, I was sympathetic to the President’s dilemma, and in public I defended him against the “newly hatched hawks” (Sam Nunn and Joe Biden among them) who now said he was too timid in deploying the American military might they hadn’t wanted him to use against Saddam to begin with (Quayle, Dan, Standing Firm, New York: HarperCollins, 1994, p. 242).

 

BIDEN CALLED A COWARDLY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN BY ANITA HILL SUPPORTERS …

A parody of the practice burst into view in the 1991 Judiciary Com­mittee hearings on Bush Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and the testimony against him by Anita Hill. A classic of Washington gender politics, the Thomas-Hill affair had it all. Several women and men would have substantiated Hill’s account of sexual harassment. They were never called by a craven committee chairman, Democrat Joseph Biden. Yet under the lash of Thomas’s ardent backers, Republi­cans pursued a patently partisan vendetta against Hill. Just as typically, Democrats cringed at GOP attacks and Thomas’s staged outrage at his “lynching.” When it was over, a precept of Congress was reiterated (Morris, Roger, Partners In Power, New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996, p. 339).

 

BIDEN STATES BILL CLINTON SHOULD RESIGN AS PRESIDENT AMID SCANDALS …

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Delaware Democrat who ran for presi­dent himself in 1988, only to be forced out in a plagiarism scandal, expressed the sentiments of many in the room when he told the visiting aides that the caucus would be better off if Clinton resigned. If it were up to them on a secret ballot, Biden said, there was no question how it would come out. But, he acknowledged, it was not up to them, and he recognized that Clinton would not resign (Baker, Peter, The Breach, New York: Scriber, 2000, p. 96)

At a Democratic meeting on September 15, Delaware Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. told colleagues that the party might be better off if Clin­ton resigned. He didn’t recommend it, but House Democrats were starting to call for a full impeachment inquiry (Schmidt, Susan & Weisskopf, Truth At Any Cost, New York: HarperCollins, 2000, p. 21).

 

BIDEN RECRUITED BECAUSE HE WAS DEMOCRAT “MOST CRITICAL” OF PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON …

Daschle likewise steered away from Clinton defenders in tapping two of the senators most critical of the president, Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden of Delaware. For the last slot, he recruited Carl Levin of Michigan, who was more traditionally partisan but also one of the Senate’s smartest lawyers. The selection of the group seemed designed to guarantee that each party would be tough on its own side in the interest of finding a middle-ground solution (Baker, ibid., p. 276).

 

BIDEN MOCKS BILL CLINTON’S PARDON OF MARC RICH …

“I think either the president [Bill Clinton] had an incredible lapse in memory or was brain dead,” said Senator Joe Biden, a Democrat, commenting on Clinton’s White House pardons scandal (Olson, Barbara, The Final Days, Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2001, p. 195).

 

BILL CLINTON PREFERS DUKAKIS RATHER THAN BIDEN AS PRESIDENT …

Biden3In July, Hillary, Chelsea, and I went to the summer governors’ confer­ence in Traverse City, Michigan, to wrap up my year as chairman. I was succeeded by New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who promised to continue our work for welfare reform, and with whom I had a good rela­tionship. After we adjourned, the Democratic governors went to Macki­naw Island, where Governor Jim Blanchard brought us together to meet with all our presidential candidates, including Senator Al Gore, Senator Paul Simon, Senator Joe Biden, Congressman Dick Gephardt, the Rev­erend Jesse Jackson, former governor Bruce Babbitt of Arizona, and Governor Mike Dukakis. I thought we had a good field, but I favored Dukakis (Clinton, Bill, My Life, New York: Alfred A, Knopf, 2004, p. 335).

 

BIDEN SOLICITS BILL CLINTON BECAUSE HE WAS A “WHITE” SOUTHERN GOVERNOR …

Around the time of the Meet the Press interview, Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the judiciary committee, asked me to testify against Judge Robert Bork, who had been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Reagan. I knew Joe wanted me because I was a white south­ern governor … (Clinton, Bill, ibid, p. 336).

 

BIDEN SUPPORTS $2 BILLION AID PACKAGE … TO RUSSIA! …

Although a public poll said that 75 percent of the American people were opposed to giving Russia more money, and we were already in a hard fight for the economic plan, I felt we had no choice but to press ahead. America had spent trillions of dollars in defense to win the Cold War; we couldn’t risk reversal over less than $2 billion and a bad poll. To the surprise of my staff, the congressional leaders, including the Republi­cans, agreed with me. At a meeting I convened to push the plan, Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, strongly endorsed the aid package (Clinton, Bill, ibid, p. 506).

 

ENCOURAGES GEORGE W. BUSH TO REMOVE SADDAM AND HIS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION …

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Joseph Biden and the ranking Republican on the committee, Richard Lugar of Indiana, wrote the president on September 10 cautioning against a vote on any war reso­lution until after the elections. Both men made it clear that leaving Saddam with weapons of mass destruction wasn’t acceptable: “Simply put, either these weapons must be dislodged from Iraq, or Saddam Hus­sein must be dislodged from power” (Rove, Karl, Courage and Consequences, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 300).

 

AN EMBARRASSING SENATOR …

Probing for weaknesses, Democrats delayed his hearing until January 9, 2006, and then hammered him for four days, one more day than Roberts had suffered. There were moments of humor: Senator Joe Biden asked Alito a question that consisted of a twenty-four-minute monologue that made even me embarrassed for the senator (Rove, ibid., p. 423).

 

CLAIMS TROOP SURGE WON’T WORK (IT DID!) …

Democrats, emboldened by the 2006 elections, immediately pounced. Senator Ted Kennedy proclaimed the surge “an immense new mistake.” Then-senator Barack Obama declared he was “not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence. … I think it will do the reverse.” Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton both called it “a tragic mistake.” So did Senator John Kerry, who forecast, “It won’t end the violence; it won’t provide security … it won’t turn back the clock and avoid the civil war that is already under way; it won’t deter terrorists … it won’t rein in the militias.” John Kerry had been wrong on Vietnam and would be proven wrong here on every count (Rove, ibid., p. 480).

 

VOTES FOR IRAQ WAR …

On October 11, 2002, the Senate passed the resolution 77 to 23. The House passed it 296 to 133. Both margins were larger than those of the votes for the Gulf War. The resolution garnered votes from prominent Democrats, including House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Harry Reid. Some members of Congress would later claim they were not voting to authorize war but only to continue diplomacy. They must not have read the resolution. Its language was unmistakable: “The President is autho­rized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.” (Bush, George W., Decision Points, New York: Crown Publishers, 2010, p. 241).

 

 

Joe Biden is not mentioned in any of Barack Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s books.

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