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Letter: So, what about Biden?
8/16/2012 1:01:00 PM
Someone criticizes Obama. Another responds: “What about Bush?” Someone criticizes Ryan. Another responds: “What about Obama?” In that spirit, I ask: “What about Biden?” How does the current VP compare with the aspiring?
In 1969, after graduating from college with a BA in history and political science and then obtaining a JD, Joe Biden worked as an attorney for a year but didn’t enjoy it. Realizing that real life experience wasn’t a job requirement for politicians, Joe ran for county council in 1970 and won. In 1972 he successfully ran for the Delaware senate seat he occupied until his election as vice president.
In 1988, Sen. Biden crafted the bill that established a ‘drug czar’ who, by law, must oppose any attempt to legalize the use (including medical) of Schedule I drugs.
In 1994, Sen. Biden authored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that drastically expanded federal authority to incarcerate and execute citizens, and abolished education grants for prisoners.
In 1995, Sen. Biden introduced the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act. The Center for National Security Studies concluded that Biden’s bill would, among other things, “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations, repeal the ancient provision barring the U.S. military from civilian law enforcement, expand a pre-trial detention scheme that puts the burden of proof on the accused, loosen the carefully-crafted rules governing federal wiretaps, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, establish special courts that would use secret evidence to order the deportation of persons convicted of no crimes, in violation of basic principles of due process, permit permanent detention by the Attorney General of aliens convicted of no crimes, with no judicial review, give the President unreviewable power to criminalize fund-raising for lawful activities associated with unpopular causes.” The bill died in committee.
With his umpteenth important vote in 1999, Sen. Biden - along with a majority of both Democrat and Republican senators and representatives - voted for the Financial Services Modernization Act which removed safety barriers between banks, security companies and insurance companies.
In 2001, Sen. Biden - along with a majority of both parties - voted for the Patriot Act, core provisions of which were taken from the bill Biden introduced in 1995.
In 2002, Sen. Biden - along with a majority of both parties - voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Biden was a strong supporter of the Iraq invasion.
In 2003, Sen. Biden voted against the creation of the Homeland Security Department and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. Even an experienced senator can sometimes do the right thing.
In 2008, Sen. Biden voted for the TARP bailout. The CBO’s March 2012 estimate is that the final cost to the taxpayers for TARP, which includes the auto bailout, will be $32 billion. GM stock prices have continued to decline, however, and the estimated auto bailout cost has risen to $25 billion.
In 2010, VP Biden successfully garnered support by Democrats to pass a two-year extension of the “Bush tax cuts.”
My disagreements with the current VP don’t make concerns about Rep. Ryan any less relevant. Biden and Ryan have both been enablers for the ‘neocon’ agenda of expanded power abroad and draconian control at home, and I don’t see much reason for libertarian independents and Tea Partiers to be enthused with Romney’s choice.
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