Tuesday, October 9, 2007

SAM Profile: Joe Biden

As the NY Times points out, the 2008 race for the Democratic Nomination has an unprecedentedly qualified field of "second tier" candidates. In my mind, Joe Biden leads that pack.

I can't stand that this guy doesn't get more attention.

He's the best debater and speaker of any presidential candidate (check out the YouTube clip below if you disagree), and the most experienced of any candidate in the field. His positions are nuanced and his mind is tack- sharp, it's unbelievable.

For instance, Biden questioned Barack Obama's foreign policy knowledge after Obama called for strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan if the Pakistani government failed to act, because that is already current US policy.

Biden also gave a detailed plan on what to do in Iraq (imagine that!) over a year ago. The plan, which calls for increased autonomy for Iraq's 3 separate geographic/ religious/ political factions into a loose federation of states, has passed the Senate.

He chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has a reputation as an innovative problem solver, an independent thinker and policy wonk. Listening to him talk, and understanding his stance on issues, Biden is not unlike a more jagged President Jed Bartlet.

This is a man who has overcome unbelievable obstacles: Professionally, his hot start in the 1988 campaign for president ended in embarrassment (read the Times article). He was first elected to the Senate at age 29 (Biden was the 5th youngest Senator ever), and won a reputation as a dazzling public speaker by overcoming a severe childhood stutter.

Personally, he lost his young daughter and wife in a car accident soon after his election to the Senate. His two sons were hospitalized with serious injuries. Although Biden tried to give up his Senate seat, he was convinced by his peers to stay, and was sworn into office in his sons' hospital room. He went to Washington, but decided to commute daily from Delaware in order to raise his boys.

Later, he suffered two brain aneurysms, and was hospitalized for months in 1988.

Biden isn't a perfect candidate, not by a long shot. He's long-winded and speaks too fast, often throwing out his gut reaction in ineloquent ways. For example, his campaign got off to a terrible start when he said that Obama was "the first mainstream African-American [presidential candidate] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." It was a stupid comment, not only because it was factually incorrect.

But he deserves better than to be polling in single digits without any cash on hand. I've followed him since his frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning, and the guy is flat out honest. And smart. Below is a compilation of some of Biden's answers in a debate on labor issues, sponsored by the country's largest union.

Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you say VP? This guy was far and away the best canidate in the field. Too bad being a white male demorat meant no chance in this election...Blame Rahm Emanuel for that...