Color Me Unimpressed

Well, it seems every time I turn around, Obama has hit a new nadir in my opinion of him.  

Right now, the news folks are all falling all over one another talking about what a great VP pick Joe Biden is.  And maybe they are right.  Perhaps, in some way that I don’t fathom, picking a long-term Senator and repeat failed Presidential candidate from a state which is a slam-dunk for the Democratic nominee, and is worth a mighty three electoral votes, is brilliant.  Perhaps this man, who rambled on for over 40 minutes when he had his chance to grill Sam Alito before the Senate Judiciary Committee without asking a single question, will really be the brilliant political attack dog that the media says he will.

What troubles me regardless of whether they are right or wrong is that Biden has a terrible history of “leadership” in the War on Drugs, still America’s longest-running and most utterly failed war.  Biden was the author of the awful Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (also known, sadly, as the “Biden Act”).  This act included the massive expansion of capital punishment, adding sixty different crimes to the list of those for which Federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty.  It eliminated the ability for prisoners to get grants for education while incarcerated.  Biden is also the Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, and as the head, was the brilliant person who created the cabinet position of “Drug Czar”.  He has remained, throughout his career, an ardent drug warrior, sponsoring the RAVE Act in 2003, and leading the attempt to make steroids such as androstenedione, which were abused by professional baseball players, illegal under Federal law.

In other words, exactly the person who was leading the charge to put millions of black men, who experiment with marijuana and cocaine, just like Barack Obama, in prison.  Just the sort of person who has been repeatedly accused by the ACLU and other civil libertarians of drafting laws which abridge the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

So, maybe the talking heads are right, and Biden is the correct choice for Obama’s political benefit.  But, from all the available evidence, I believe that Sen. Biden is exactly the sort of person who should not be advanced any further than he has been by anyone with the interests of American citizens at heart.


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  1. “Bankruptcy Bill” Biden?

    Joe “No Fly Zone over Sudan” Biden?

    Joe “No to Impeachment” Biden?

    Joe “I voted for the f’n Iraq War” Biden?

    (BTW: Doesn’t the choice of Biden now take away the I didn’t support the war meme for the Dems?)


    My estimation of BO, which I thought was pretty low, is now approaching my estimation of foot fungus…nah…that insults foot fungus.

  2. TOO much of a compromise.

    But my Dad just won $5 off of me so I may be prejudiced!

    • robodd on August 23, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    First, if O is really concerned with winning, he would have picked Hillary.  Or at least someone from a state where the choice would have mattered.  So that’s out as a rationale.

    Second, if O was anything like a progressive he would have picked almost anyone besides Biden.

    So, there’s no excuse for this choice except that it truly exposes O as the centrist he really is.  EXPECT NO GREAT CHANGE.

  3. I don’t think Biden’s quite that bad. Yes he’s pass a lot of stupid stuff.

    But he’s also done a lot of fantastic stuff. He passed the Violence Against Women Act, he’s a champion of clean elections, he’s a champion of Amtrack and has a very solid record on climate change.

    So he’s not perfect, I’m not exited, but I’m not down on him.

    • Viet71 on August 24, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I take to be one of NL’s points.

    It’s apparent to me the only thing that counts now for Obama is winning.

    He got my vote in the CT primary but won’t get it in the general.

    But, so what?  Connecticut is solidly blue, so it doesn’t matter how I vote.

    I’d discard the electoral college in a heartbeat.  Because the electoral college is here to stay, I favor a total boycott of the  voting process (i.e., a widespread refusal to vote).  Won’t happen this year.  Maybe after a few more shitty presidencies the idea will take hold.

    • Donna Z on August 24, 2008 at 1:21 am

    that it wasn’t Bayh.

    None of the people on the short list sent thrills up my leg. I had to organize the list as bad to worst.

    Biden is not a progressive, and according to Sirota, speaking in NH, Biden just brushed the grassroots away. Personally, as much as I’d like to think otherwise, the party doesn’t take the base seriously at all. Republicans have a crazy-assed base, but every republican politician caters to their own. Democracts hear rumbles from their base and run the other way.

    Biden is not as bad as Bayh. Wow! Both of those guys get labeled as strong on foreign policy even though they get everything wrong. Go figure.  

    • TheRef on August 24, 2008 at 2:07 am

    One who continues to argue after the fight is over, the winner declared.

    Biden’s street-savvy feistiness is an very effective syncopated counterpoint to Obama’s cerebral, nuanced thinking and response to McCain’s scatter-gun campaign …better said, an intelligent leader and a kick-ass compadre as a running mate. What more could we ask for?

    Quit your bellyaching and get on board!

  4. Only thing I like about Biden is that he sort of reminds me of one of Walt Kelly’s walk-on characters (who was actually modeled on Agnew, I think).  Well, that and his occasional zingers (“Noun, verb, 911”).  I will say that he looks sort of presidential, but, then, so does Leslie Nielson.

    Obama, methinks, is going to find a way to throw this election, blows me away.  I’m beginning to think that people will vote for McCain out of sheer boredom.

    • Valtin on August 25, 2008 at 12:09 am

    With one “caveat”… almost the entire political system is implicated in the War on Drugs, so singling out Biden, who got his name attached to the bill, pushed it, etc., is not much different than the attitude of most other “liberal” politicians.

    When I wrote Lynn Woolsey, my very liberal congresswoman, about her support of anti-marijuana laws, I got back the old nostrums about pot leading to greater drug use, about its health dangers, and unproven medical status.

    As with the “war on terror”, the “war on drugs” is a major industry, really, with tentacles that reach into the farthest crannies of civil society. It will take practically a social war of some sort (and I don’t mean violent) to ferret out this cancer and restore sanity to our land.

    • Viet71 on August 25, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Americans who vote vote for various reasons:  a sense of duty, a desire and hope for change, or anger.

    Many don’t vote because they’ve given up on the system.

    Obama promised change.

    The September 2008 issue of “Mad” magazine gets it right with a cover picture of Alfred E. Obama holding this sign:  “Yes We Can’t”.

    Trust “Mad”.  It’s always right on.

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