Joe Biden: The Reality Behind “Good Ol’ Uncle Joe”

Biden has officially announced his presidential campaign, bringing the number of Democratic candidates to 20.

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Joe Biden: The Reality Behind “Good Ol’ Uncle Joe”

(David Lienemann/Wikimedia Commons)

(David Lienemann/Wikimedia Commons)

(David Lienemann/Wikimedia Commons)

(David Lienemann/Wikimedia Commons)

Vadim Trubetskoy, Writer

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Senator Joe Biden has been in the public eye for as long as anyone can remember. He is, perhaps, the quintessential image of a politician, and by far one of the most recognizable and well-known politicians in the country. That’s certainly given him the ability to delay, as he just officially announced his presidential run. 

But other competitors have amped up the size of their teams and gotten ahead in both media coverage and finances.

As Biden’s announcement drew nearer, the scrutiny on him has continued to intensify in the recent weeks which threatens to derail his campaign before it even kicked off.

Biden was born in 1942 in Scranton, Pa., which potentially makes him the second-oldest candidate in the 2020 presidential race.

He was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970 at age 27. Two years later, he pulled off an impressive victory to unseat former U.S. representative Caleb Boggs and was elected to the U.S. Senate. He served as a Senator for 36 years, chairing both the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee in that time-span.

Jill and Joe Biden meet with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in April 1980.
(Office of Senator Joe Biden)

In his tenure as a Senator, Biden ran for President twice, failing both times. His first candidacy in 1984 ended shamefully, after being exposed for stealing other politicians’ speeches and lying about his history and qualifications. His second attempt in 1988 was even less successful after he terminated his candidacy after receiving a meager one percent of support in the Iowa caucus. He is best known for serving as Vice President from 2008-2016 under President Obama.

However, with a new generation of voters going to the polls in 2020, Biden’s voting record and policy positions and the allegations of misconduct made against him cannot be ignored when deciding which Democratic candidate is the most qualified. 

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) speaks at the signing of the 1994 Biden Crime Bill.

Biden says he’s from a generation where politicians kissing babies and hugging people was essential if you wanted to get anywhere in politics. He’s clearly stuck in a mindset that has not aged well. Biden’s demeanor and actions after these allegations have surfaced show that he doesn’t ‘get it’ despite releasing an unapologetic video.

Biden’s inappropriate conduct towards women isn’t anything new. Perhaps the most famous instance of his demeaning conduct towards women is his role in the Anita Hill testimony, which he presided over.

This scenario perfectly highlights his borderline sexist attitudes towards women. Anita Hill testified in front of the Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation after accusing the future justice of sexual abuse. Hill, a law professor at the time, made serious allegations against the Supreme Court nominee. 

Biden takes the oath of office during at the 56th Presidential Inauguration.
(Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/U.S. Navy)

Biden, the committee’s chair, initially wouldn’t even hold a hearing to listen to her. After finally giving in to the pressure to hold the hearing, Biden didn’t take her testimony seriously and allowed her to be ridiculed and humiliated by an all-white, all-male assembly as she tried to give an honest account of what happened to her.

Biden pushed to have the confirmation vote even after the allegations were leaked to the media. He has said looking back that he wishes he “could have done something,” but as chairman presiding over the committee, he was the person best suited to do something about it.

There is also the issue of Biden’s legislative history and current policy positions within a more progressive Democratic field. Biden, unfortunately for him, is the definition of an establishment Democrat. Unfortunate, because in 2016, another seemingly qualified establishment Democrat lost the presidency to the very same anti-establishment candidate who Biden would be running against in 2020.

Biden has been backed by big donors and PACs his entire career, being dubbed the “Senator from MBNA.” He voted in favor of the war in Iraq while chairing the Foreign Relations Committee, and opposed LGBT rights when he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act.

He was also an avid proponent of being “tough on crime”, something that won’t play well in light of our crumbling criminal justice system. In the 1970s, Biden voted against racial desegregation. Of course, a rebuttal to this is that in those times, a majority of Democrats voted the same way however, being an elected official chosen to represent your constituents shouldn’t absolve you from scrutiny later on simply because you were one of the many at the time.

Biden’s 40-plus years of experience gives him an advantage over younger nominees, but the downside is that he has more to be scrutinized and held accountable for.  So, while the rest of the Democrats are vehemently opposing the Trump administration and Joe Biden is calling Pence a “decent guy,” we as a nation must ask ourselves if he is truly what the country needs in this critical moment.

Email Vadim at [email protected]

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