With just under 10 months until the first primary of the 2008 presidential election, the campaign is already getting nasty. On the Republican side of the fence, Mitt Romney, Rudy Guliani, and John McCain may face a challenge from Newt Gingrich before they ever make it to the Republicans. On the Democrat side, whispers abound that former vice president Al Gore may join a field already crowded with Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Joseph Biden, Jr.
They are a diversified lot of candidates with views ranging from extreme to middle of the road on everything ranging from abortion and health care to illegal immigrants. However, with the currently announced pack of candidates, Joe Biden’s experience makes him the clear, best choice for president in 2008. Biden’s senate experience is unmatched by anyone in the crowd of candidates and perhaps more importantly his Senate service has included multiple times as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Biden has served in the Senate since 1973, a full 13 years longer than John McCain. None of the other senators come close and Romney and Guliani have never served in national office. (biden. com) As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, Biden is one of the Democratic party’s “go to experts on foreign policy” (Horowitz 1) In addition, Biden has sponsored clear and decisive legislation outlining a plan of action for the war in Iraq that demonstrates an understanding of the issues.
He points out the necessity of an American presence in the country until the Iraq’s are able to form a government capable of remaining stable. He suggests a thinking man’s solution to the war, realizing that simply withdrawing from the conflict leads the country to a civil war or another dictator. He recommends a policy that divides the county’s oil profits among all of its people, regardless of who controls the land where the oil is produced, theoretically preventing jealousy and greed from adding fuel to the religious differences of the Muslim sects. (biden. com)
Many of Biden’s opponents including Senators McCain, Clinton, Obama and Edwards have proposed either a deadline for withdrawal or in the instance of McCain, an acknowledgement that American troops need to remain in the region, but no clear answers as to how to deal with the situation. In fact, thus far, no one seems to be debating Biden’s position as the most knowledgeable about the war in Iraq. However, others point to issues that may well mean Biden does not belong in the White House. When last he ran for president, Biden had a tendency to overstate his qualifications and to quote other politicians without attribution.
Biden’s plagiarism, noted by his 1988 opponent Michael Dukakis and written about by The Washington Post, helped drive him from the race in 1988 (Sabato 1). Biden was also accused of a “serious plagiarism incident” while in law school and exaggerating his academic record (Sabato). In a campaign that is already showing its fangs, the Senator will have to weather a replay of the 1988 controversy and convince voters that he is worthy to lead the Nation despite these indiscretions. And, he will have to combat accusation of racism while he does it.
In a campaign that features the first serious female candidate for President and an African-American that appears ready to take over frontrunner status, Biden has the unfortunate issue of being a traditional American politician. He is a 64-year-old white man from the northeast with an Ivy League education and a law degree. (biden. com) His background virtually screams, “I am like all the ones who went before me. ” Furthermore, Biden has been in trouble already during this campaign season for insulting African-Americans.
In an interview with Jason Horowitz of the New York Observer, he described opponent Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” (2). The fall out was immediate. The Obama campaign took the high road, saying that Biden’s words “spoke for themselves. ” (Horowitz 3). Regardless of Biden’s intention and subsequent apology, the perceived racism, or the racism if it is real, may make him the wrong choice for the Oval Office.
On the other hand, some writers argue that Biden’s handling of the situation after making the racist remarks show a statesman-like quality that has not been seen in other politicians lately. In an opinion piece for CBS News, writer Lloyd Garver argues that Biden “did something heroic” by simply admitting that he had said the words and apologizing for them. Unlike others who have recently been caught making racist remarks, Biden did not make excuses, blame the media or head for rehabilitation (Garver 1). That alone makes him heroic. Whether heroic makes him a good candidate for president is for the voter to decide.
Ultimately though, the bottom line is that Biden is a pragmatic candidate who has considered the issues facing the nation and written specific policy statements regarding his approach to solving them. He has outlined a plan, and proposed legislation, to end the war in Iraq in a manner that secures peace and brings American soldiers home. He has a campaign platform that addresses energy concerns, health care, education, crime and even global warming. Biden is the best candidate for the presidency because he has the ability to think and consider and make compromises that will appeal to middle America.
And, perhaps most importantly of all, as a long-time member of and current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has a better understanding of American foreign policy than almost anyone else in the country. His experience in determining America’s role in the world makes him a perfect candidate for president. Works Cited Biden 2008, <www. joebiden. com>. Graver, Lloyd. “Joe Biden Does Something Heroic”, February 6, 2007. CBS News. March 18, 2007. <www. cbsnews. com/stories/2007/02/06/opinion/garver/main2438954. shtml> Horowitz, Jason.
“Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards” February 5, 2007. New York Observer. March 18, 2007. Mwww. observer. com/20070205/20070205_Jason_Horowitz_pageone_newsstory1. html> Rosenbaum, Ron. “My Defining Joe Biden Memory”, February 7, 2007. March 18, 2007. <www. ronrosenbaum. pajamasmedia. com/2007/02/07/what_i’m_reading_now_1. php>. Sabato, Larry J. “Joseph Biden’s Plagiarism; Michael Dukakis’s ‘Attack Video’ –1988”. Washington Post. March 18, 2007. <www. washingtonpost. com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/biden. html>.
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