Charles Pierce speaks for me, as he so often does. This about sums up my feelings on the still-looming Biden campaign, now in its eighth week atop the breathless Politico standings:
The whole Biden shadow play is getting very, very old. The inclusion of him in current polling models is one very small step short of ratfcking Hillary Clinton’s numbers, and it does a real disservice to the other candidates as well. (Why not put Mitt Romney or Michael Bloomberg in the Republican field?) What we seem to have is a bunch of generally nervous Democrats, and some Biden loyalists who like to talk to reporters, and who still dream of that West Wing office that was denied them the other two times Joe Biden ran for president and got crushed. Oh, and there are some political reporters who find this whole thing a lot easier than working for a living.
Oh, and if you want to talk policy, all you “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” people better not pick up those “Biden 2016” banners because this:
If gender issues are Hillary Clinton’s primary progressive strength, they’re one of Biden’s major weaknesses. It’s not just the role he played in Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings, when, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his treatment of Anita Hill enraged feminists. Biden let her be grilled mercilessly while assuring Thomas that he had the “benefit of the doubt,” and even refused to let three witnesses who might have corroborated her story testify. That was almost 25 years ago, of course, and since then Biden has done several things to redeem himself, including championing the Violence Against Women Act. His decidedly lukewarm record on reproductive rights, however, is harder to dismiss as ancient history, particularly given the onslaught of anti-abortion legislation we’re seeing all over the country.
What would he do if, say, a 20-week abortion ban came across his desk?
“There have been some clutch moments where he hasn’t been with us,” says Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “I think Joe Biden is a great guy, and I think we are at a particular moment with regard to threats against abortion rights specifically, and women’s autonomy generally, that makes me a little nervous.”
It’s no secret that Biden is personally a pro-life Catholic. He takes what he believes is a “middle-of-the-road” position on abortion law, as he wrote in his 2007 campaign memoir, Promises to Keep: “I still vote against partial-birth abortion and federal funding, and I’d like to find ways to make it easier for scared young mothers to choose not to have an abortion, but I will also vote against a constitutional amendment that strips a women of her right to make her own choice.” That, at least, was an improvement from 1982, when, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he did vote for a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In 2012, the National Right to Life Committee compiled a report on Biden’s anti-abortion voting record that was intended to highlight what it called Obama’s “extreme pro-abortion positions.” The documentation in the dossier is solid. There is a scan, for example, of a 1994 letter that Biden sent to a Delaware constituent who was concerned that abortion funding would be included in health care reform. “I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them. As you may know, I have consistently – on no fewer than 50 occasions – voted against federal funding of abortions.”
He’s a funny guy, and he’s suffered more tragedy in his life than anyone should be expected to bear – I can relate – but his politics really aren’t that good. And nothing in his past says that he can actually win. Or that he even want sot run. All this “will he/won’t he” crap is just wasting time he doesn’t have to spare right now.
Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. Get with the program, bitches, and let’s go tear the crap out of whatever mangy dog with fleas the GOP puts up. Winning is what matters. That and policy. On both grounds, Joe Biden doesn’t measure up.