Biden Has Had His Day -- Time to Go, Joe

By Jamie Stiehm

April 10, 2019 5 min read

Some of my best friends support Joe Biden, the former vice president, for president. That includes a few savvy pundits who say he's an "elder statesman" and a great guy. There's a well of fondness for the old-school Irish Catholic pol who, as one put it, "belongs in this fight."

This is a common Washington fallacy, forgiving of one Biden sin after another, as they float under the cherry trees down the river. The conventional view of Biden is stressed as his unseemly conduct toward women and girls is now in the public eye.

Yes, he has taken liberties touching girls and women inappropriately, standing on his privilege platform as senator or vice president. It's hard to challenge his unwanted liberties in the moment of a ceremony or campaign. He has also called older women "Mom." Just folksy, Joe.

Biden wants to be both a man of the future and the past.

Ready for a second opinion? The big reveal here is that Biden made light of the subject twice in a speech and declared he cannot apologize for anything he ever did. He doesn't get it, contrary to his earnest video stance.

Ladies and gentlemen, that says everything about Biden's ego. He never apologized for his egregious handling of the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearing. He's had 28 years to get that done. The hearing left an indelible mark on American memory. Politics means having to say you're sorry. Donald Trump did it once.

The 76-year-old's possible run for president is folly and the greatest generational theft in American politics. (Same goes for Sen. Bernie Sanders.) There is more diverse talent teeming in the Democratic field than ever. Don't let Biden crash the party.

The untimely death of his son Beau Biden is not a reason to run. Beau would be 50 now. It is Beau's generation's turn Biden has run two times and never cleared 1 percent in a primary.

His Delaware has slavery in its past. He has had the luck of the Irish, to be elected from the smallest of states to the Senate.

In 36 years, representing a provincial small-town place, Biden never became a giant of the Senate. Colleagues felt he was a blowhard, not a workhorse. Nobody talked as much as "Joe" in the halls, on the floor, in committee. Biden's self-regard stood out.

Biden's Senate record was not stellar, despite his seniority. He supported the Iraq War. In fact, Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary for two presidents (Barack Obama and George W. Bush), noted in his memoir, "I think he has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue in the last four decades." Biden advised President Obama against the Osama bin Laden raid.

I'm glad to have Gates affirm my fears about Biden's judgment. Granted, he was a warm counterpoint to cool Obama, but you wouldn't want him to be commander in chief in the Situation Room.

As chairman of the Thomas proceeding, Biden let Anita Hill, who told a searing story of sexual harassment, be treated like dirt. He himself treated the professor like a servant. His refrain to Thomas was, "You get the benefit of the doubt," as if he was laying down a criminal standard for the Supreme Court.

Biden never summoned supporting witnesses for Hill. Thus he put the sullen conservative Thomas on the Supreme Court, a price we are still paying, a tragedy we still live with.

There's one good bill that's Biden's signature legislation, the Violence Against Women Act. It is not law now, but the House just voted to renew it. As a senator, he mentored some outstanding young men who later went to the White House.

Another Achilles heel: the elite, expensive speeches "Average Joe" Biden has given lately. Hillary Clinton's sky-high speaking fees were used against her when she ran for president.

Biden is not that statesman and great guy. Just now, the all-but-declared presidential candidate showed he's incapable of truly changing his privileged patterns of touching others too close.

It's a new day. Biden has had his.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and other columnists and cartoonists at Creators Syndicate, please visit the website, creators.com.

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