Posted by: Allyson | August 24, 2008

Thoughts on Joe Biden

I make no secret about the fact that I intend to vote for the McKinney/Clemente ticket this year.  But that doesn’t mean that, since making my decision, I’ve stopped paying attention to the election.  For one thing, it’s not November yet.  While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll change my mind, you never know what could happen.  So it’s important for me to keep abrest of election issues in case I feel the need to revisit my presidential choices this year.  Second, the chances of McKinney and Clemente winning?  “Slim” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  So I need to be aware of what Obama and McCain are doing because it’s almost entirely certain that one of them is going to end up in the White House.  The chances of one of them not winning are pretty small.  So I need to know what the two most likely candidates are up to.  Finally, this news is impossible to ignore.  I don’t watch TV, but it’s all over the internet. Plus, my partner currently has a job with the Obama campaign.

So with Saturday’s 3 a.m. news that Obama selected Joe Biden as running mate, I’ve seen or heard a spectrum of reaction.  My partner is thrilled; Biden was his personal first choice for VP.  Many people are criticizing Obama for picking a stereotypical (white, wealthy, male) politican.  Others are concerned that Biden is simply too conservative.  So I started doing my own research.

I’m partial to using OnTheIssues.org for political research, because the site provides pretty comprehensive details of politicians and their views.  And in doing so, I’ve come across some things I like about Biden, and some things that are red flags for me.  (And there are some positions I’m neutral about just because I haven’t given enough thought about the specific issues to make a decision).  The lists get long, so I’ve put them under a jump.

Things I Like About Joe Biden:

  • Does not want to overturn Roe v. Wade
  • Voted “no” on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP
  • Voted “no” on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion
  • Voted “yes” on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines
  • Voted “no” on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions
  • Voted “yes” on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives
  • Voted “no” on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime
  • Voted “no” on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions
  • Voted “no” on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration
  • Voted “no” on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage
  • Voted “yes” on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes
  • Voted “yes” on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women
  • Voted “no” on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business
  • Voted “yes” on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation
  • Voted “yes” on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore
  • Voted “no” on limiting death penalty appeals
  • Voted “no” on restricting class-action lawsuits
  • Voted “no” on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms
  • Voted “yes” on $52M for “21st century community learning centers”
  • Voted “yes” on $5B for grants to local educational agencies
  • Voted “yes” on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education
  • Voted “yes” on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction
  • Voted “yes” on Educational Savings Accounts
  • Voted “no” on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer
  • Voted “yes” on tax incentives for energy production and conservation
  • Voted “yes” on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas
  • Voted “yes” on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025
  • Voted “yes” on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Voted “yes” on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010
  • Voted “yes” on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam
  • Voted “yes” on removing common goods from national security export rules
  • Voted “yes” on permanent normal trade relations with China
  • Voted “yes” on expanding trade to the third world
  • Voted “no” on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections
  • Voted “yes” on banning “soft money” contributions and restricting issue ads
  • Voted “no” on requiring photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration
  • Voted “yes” on funding for National Endowment for the Arts
  • Voted “yes” on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada
  • Voted “yes” on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages
  • Voted “yes” on including prescription drugs under Medicare
  • Voted “yes” on limiting soldiers’ deployment to 12 months
  • Voted “yes” on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees
  • Voted “no” on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision
  • Voted “no” on prohibiting same-sex basic training
  • Voted “yes” on increasing tax deductions for college tuition
  • Voted “no” on designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorists
  • Voted “no” on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice
  • Voted “no” on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Things that worry me about Joe Biden:

  • Is opposed to public funding for abortion, as it “imposes a view”
  • Voted “yes” on banning partial birth abortions
  • Accepts Catholic church view that life begins at conception
  • Voted “yes” on prohibiting same-sex marriage in 1996
  • Voted “no” on limiting the President’s power to impose economic sanctions
  • Voted “yes” on Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba
  • Voted “yes” on renewing ‘fast track’ presidential trade authority
  • Voted “yes” on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act in 2006
  • Voted “yes” on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping

There are some aspects of Joe Biden’s voting record that simply do not sit well with me.  Even though is voting record is largely pro-choice, his view that life begins at conception is worrisome given the current anti-choice political climate.  In addition, his opposition to public funding for abortion has the potential to restrict that choice to women who can afford to have the choice.  I’m also concerned about his mized Patriot Act voting record.  However, the good largely outweighs the bad.  I could accept Joe Biden as VP, and, should the worst happen, as President.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this post! It is amazing how little coverage we get about candidates actual voting records from the mainstream press.

  2. The thing I also always think about when Biden comes up is his commitment to fighting domestic violence. In addition to introducing VAWA, he also worked with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to get them better equipment.


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