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In honor of Joe Biden as the Vice Presidential pick for the Democratic ticket, I am going to offer up some posts from the archives highlighting the man who I originally supported as the top of the ticket but am more than pleased to see back on the ticket even if it is as the VP.

This is from over a year ago:

An article appeared yesterday in "The Guardian" by Niall Stanage. It is an excellent depiction of Joe Biden as a man of practicality and candor.

A question of substance

Niall Stanage

August 13, 2007 9:30 PM

"How far can candor and substance take a politician? People claim to crave these virtues. Mourning their absence from civic life has become routine on both sides of the Atlantic.

The battle for the Democratic party's presidential nomination suggests the picture is more complicated. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware has as much substance as any other candidate. He is more candid than any of them. There is nothing wild-eyed about his policy positions. Yet opinion polls typically put his level of support below 5%. There is still plenty of time for Biden to improve his standing. He certainly deserves to do so.

Biden was first elected to the Senate 35 years ago. Now, presidential campaign aside, he is best known as the chairman of the foreign relations committee. Foreign policy is Biden's lifeblood. On Iraq, a proposal he put forward in May 2006 has been slowly but consistently gaining traction. It can be read in detail on Biden's website. In essence, it involves federalizing Iraq and creating three largely devolved regions."

Check it out:

Iraq: A Way Forward

"In an interview last week, Biden also noted that his first action if elected president would be to ask the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to convene a meeting of regional powers, including Iran and Syria, to discuss Iraq's future.

There are, of course, no guarantees that any of this would work. But, at a minimum, the proposals illustrate Biden's seriousness of purpose."

Whether it would pull us back from the precipice of failure that this administration has brought upon us can never be known. However, it should be noted that the Biden plan represents the only realistic solution blending military and political aspects to come from any of the candidates (either Republican or Democrat).

"Admirably, he seems to regard the glibness that is often the norm in presidential campaigns as a personal affront.

In the CNN/YouTube debate last month, he reacted with genuine impatience to sloganeering about pulling US troops out of Iraq immediately. "Let's get something straight," he said. "It's time to tell to start to tell the truth. The truth of the matter is if we started today, it would take one year - one year - to get 160,000 troops physically out of Iraq, logistically. That's number one. Number two, you cannot pull out of Iraq ... unless you have a political solution. I'm the only one that's offered a political solution."

It was a classic Biden moment - impassioned, serious and not overly concerned with eliciting approval.

Such views are among those that have exposed the senator to his share of sniping from the liberal blogosphere. He has been by turns conciliatory and confrontational in response. His campaign took exception to a suggestion by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he had sought to avoid a recent bloggers' convention. But Walter Shapiro last month reported Biden's complaints about the oft-expressed intention of the ultra-liberal netroots to "take back" the party. "They don't own the Democratic party. What are they talking about?" he pondered.

Biden's uneasy relationship with the grassroots shouldn't be taken to mean that he is reflexively centrist on every issue. He is an emphatic supporter of US intervention to help staunch the outrages in Darfur. "Where we can [help], America must," he said in the CNN debate. "Why Darfur? Because we can. We should now."

Biden has weaknesses, of course. A presidential bid came unhinged in 1987 when he appropriated, without attribution, a famous speech by Neil Kinnock. He has a reputation for being undisciplined. And this year's campaign was almost stillborn when, in an interview with my New York Observer colleague Jason Horowitz, he described Barack Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

The words clanged horribly. Yet, as Peter Beinart pointed out in the New Republic, "stupid, insensitive remarks shouldn't sink political candidacies unless they bespeak some larger animus ... His long career in congress suggests no sympathy for racists."

The reality, unfortunately, is that Biden's many strengths will count for nothing if his ability to raise money does not improve. Asked in Iowa last month how he might break into the first tier of Democratic candidates, Biden replied, "I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do ... I thought a lot more about what I would do as president than how to get elected president. I'm trying like the devil to change that."

Still, it's far from impossible to see a scenario in which Biden could vault into serious contention. The shallow opportunism of John Edwards becomes more apparent with each passing week. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are much stronger, but not without their respective Achilles' heels.

In Clinton's case, her high unfavorability ratings remain, as does the suspicion that, if asked what she thought of today's weather, she would calculate the electoral pros and cons of every possible response before replying. Obama has the charisma to drown Biden, Clinton and everyone else, but he has made some foreign policy missteps recently and his debate performances have been more halting than many expected.
Biden says that "honest to God" he believes he will be his party's presidential nominee. Perhaps time will prove that optimism misplaced. Or perhaps the Dems will eventually turn in his direction.

At the least, the senator from Delaware is worthy of much more serious consideration than he has so far received."


2 responses to "From The Archives: A Look Back At Joe Biden Pt. 1"

  1. Ted On August 23, 2008 at 7:26 AM

    Biden — the perfect foil for Palin!

  2. TwoPutt On August 23, 2008 at 9:08 AM

    My first choice for CommanderInChief was Wes Clark; when he opted not to run I was firmly in Biden's camp. And I wanted the veep in the same order. While Biden's a great pick, it's not taking long for the RightWingAttackMachine to get busy...

    Another Example Of republiCons Behaving Poorly