Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two Strong Men

Many are criticizing Obama's VP choice. They say he should have chosen Hillary. They say that an Obama-Clinton ticket would have been unbeatable. I think they're right that Obama-Clinton would have had a better chance of winning than Obama-Biden. As it is now, I think McCain will win.

But it wasn't up to me or the so-called pundits to make the choice. It was Obama's choice, and he chose someone who was my choice for president. He chose a man with the common touch but with uncommon passion and an extraordinarily profound grasp of both domestic and foreign policy. Some say that Obama's choosing Biden is an admission of his weakness in the areas where Biden is strong.

It's interesting how the same thing can be viewed in very different ways. I happen to think that Obama's choice demonstrates great wisdom and strength. That is, he's wise enough to seek the invaluable counsel of a strong, more experienced, and very knowledgeable person, and he's strong enough not to feel intimidated by him.

And what kind of man is his VP choice? Here is what a Salon article says about him:

As the Balkan wars of the 1990s unfolded, few in Washington believed the United States should get involved in what appeared to be another round of a centuries-old, brutal conflict that seemed to promise only endless bloodshed for outsiders foolish enough to get trapped in someone else's ethnic struggles.

Biden has always been Eurocentric, defining America's interests as closely tied to the security of Europe, and convinced that the fate of southeastern Europe was inextricably linked to the well-being of the rest of the continent and, by extension, the United States. But the tipping point for Biden was the abuse-of-power issue he had absorbed from his father decades earlier, and he could not abide witnessing another genocide in Europe.

Many years earlier, when Biden's sons, Beau and Hunter, turned 13 little more than a year apart, he took them, separately, to the Dachau concentration camp outside Munich, Germany. It was critical for Joe Biden to teach his sons what his father had impressed upon him: the immorality and unacceptability of turning a blind eye to abuse of power, with Dachau representing the ultimate consequences of the unwillingness to confront evil.

Biden traveled to the Balkans virtually every year throughout the 1990s and finally succeeded in convincing an initially reluctant President Clinton -- and an even more recalcitrant Sen. John McCain -- that saving Muslim lives from a genocidal fate was a wise and just use of American military force. The iconic moment came in a face-to-face meeting between Biden and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic when the senator told the tyrant he was a "war criminal" who one day would be held accountable at the Hague, a prescient statement few others dared whisper.

Years later, accompanying Biden to Libya, I witnessed firsthand the senator's unique brand of personal diplomacy and his willingness to speak truth to power. Moammar Gadhafi had asked Biden to come to Libya to address a large convention at the time he was seeking a rapprochement with the United States. Biden agreed to go only after Gadhafi consented to a one-on-one meeting. We were ushered into Gadhafi's large tent in Sirte. There was minimal small talk before Biden asked why we were really there, why Gadhafi had embarked on his new approach. Gadhafi replied by asking, "Why not -- after all, the normal state of affairs between nations should be one of cooperation and friendship."

To which Biden responded without hesitation, "Well, you blew a passenger plane out of the sky, you've supported terrorists, and until recently you were developing nuclear weapons, that's why not." Gadhafi realized his jive had been rejected, and he resorted to honesty. "It's true we supported the PLO, the Sandinistas, the IRA and others, and they've all ended up on the White House lawn -- why not me?"

Biden succeeded in getting the despot to admit his real purpose was far from democracy building, as Gadhafi's single-minded interest was to secure Western know-how to develop Libya's natural resources quicker.

But the best moment came minutes later when Biden interrupted the maximum leader's soliloquy on the virtues of Libyan democracy by asking, "Please tell me, in your democracy can the people get rid of you?" After the translation was complete, it was hard to avoid glancing at the goons with automatic weapons lining the sides of the tent. "No, they can't," said Gadhafi, "because I am special. I started the revolution and they respect that."

"Oh, I understand," said Biden. "We had someone like that, too. George Washington. But after eight years, we got rid of him."

His commitment to passing his signature legislation, the Violence Against Women Act, similarly arose from lessons learned long ago about the moral centrality and need to uphold human rights and redress society's injustices.

Yes, Joe Biden can be glib. And he's the first to admit there are times he talks too much, even to his detriment, so that a phenomenal 15-minute speech turns into a good 25-minute speech and ends up as a maddening 40-minute speech.

But listen closely to what Biden actually says and means. Understand the values and principles that underpin his views. And try to appreciate his ability to connect the dots better than almost anyone else in public life when it comes to articulating a uniquely optimistic foreign policy and domestic agenda that are elevated by the simple but profound lessons learned in the humble home of Jean and Joe Biden Sr.


Anonymous said...

When it comes to VAWA, women want safety, not Biden's abuse of power.

Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was regularly and severely beaten by his older sister as a child and as an adolescent. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. He also claims that a woman cannot be a perpetrator of domestic violence, despite the fact that hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

As a result of Biden's Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that innocent men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said "the facts have become irrelevant... restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states "allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage". According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" and "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they're unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

There is a rapidly growing activist community dedicated to addressing this issue. One of the focal points of this community is the Glenn Sacks blog, .

Supporting Documentation

Here are some of the facts regarding Biden's abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at here:

and provides in depth analysis here:

This report from RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) provides much insight into the situation brought about, in large part, by Joe Biden.

shirley said...

Instead of your Obama good McCain bad posts, how about a new post on your buddy Bernie Ward. Seven years for child porn which included pictures and video of full sexual contact with children as young as 3 years old including bondage and sadomosichism. And you want to defend this guy?

steve said...

Please don't try and confuse me with the facts

Nagarjuna said...

I don't defend what Bernie did. But neither do I defend his sentence. I believe that it's much too harsh. I also believe that the preponderance of public hatred toward him is even worse than what's he's going to prison for. But I won't discuss or allow further discussion of this issue here. If you (Shirley or anyone else) have more to say on this matter, please take it to a more appropriate area. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mr/Mrs Link Provider:

I'm really not familiar with that bill or if it really dictates what you claim it does, however, I'm voting for Obama and Biden for COUNTLESS more policies and reasons including giving more breaks to the middle and lower classes, giving everyone health care, going after the foreign enemies who actually attacked the USA, etc.

Grateful Said

todd said...


Didn't you provide the links?

Anonymous said...


Who are you talking to this time? (G)

What links? (G)

Grateful Said