Joe Biden may have middle-class roots, but the coiffed candidate’s Senate voting record does an excellent job disguising them. His voting record over the past 36 years places him far left of the “moderate” lawmaker portrayed by the mainstream media.
Consider the senator’s lifetime averages from several major conservative groups: The American Conservative Union, 13%; National Taxpayers Union, 4% (he has received an ‘F’ from the organization in 13 of the past 16 years); and National Right to Life Committee, 0%.
Americans have been told Biden’s strong suit is his record on defense and foreign policy issues. Having a paper-thin résumé in this area himself, Barack Obama supposedly selected Biden to bring national security experience to the Democratic ticket. But Biden has been on the wrong side of many crucial defense and foreign policy votes since entering the U.S. Senate in 1972.
Shortly after his election to the Senate, Biden opposed funding the South Vietnamese government to continue its war against the invading North Vietnamese. As the Wall Street Journal described, this position “contributed to the fall of an American ally, helped communism advance, and led to mass death throughout the region.”
In the 1980s, Biden was a leading opponent of President Reagan’s attempt to fund the Contras, an anti-Communist rebel group in Nicaragua. He introduced unsuccessful legislation to prohibit funding for the Contras and was one of only two Senators to vote against funding for operations against the Communist Sandinistas.
Biden also fiercely opposed the Reagan defense buildup, including funds for the MX missile, the B-l bomber and the Trident submarine. Of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, which many historians believe was key to ending the Cold War, Biden said, “The President’s continued adherence to [SDI] constitutes one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft.” Shortly before 9/11, Biden referred to support for Missile Defense as “unrelieved pessimism.” Biden also voted against blocking the nuclear freeze in 1984.
After Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Kuwait, Biden voted against the first Gulf War, claiming the U.S. had no “vital interests” in stopping the invasion. Virtually everything he predicted about that war -- American casualties, Saddam Hussein’s weapons capability, the reaction of the Arab states -- turned out to be dead wrong. Biden has since conceded his “No” vote was a mistake.
Biden voted for the Iraq invasion of 2003 -- which he now thinks was another of his mistakes -- but in 2007 called President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq a “tragic mistake.”
The senator was nothing if not cocky when lecturing America on what has turned out to be a winning move. Gen. David Petraeus’s policy, he brashly told the Boston Globe (June 22, 2007), “is not going to work either tactically or strategically.” On 'Meet the Press', Biden said Gen. Petraeus “believes that it is a good idea, the surge. He may be the only one who believes that. Virtually no one else believes it’s a good idea.”
Biden has been wrong on domestic and social issues as well. Early in his Senate career, he voted for price controls and windfall profit taxes that actually increased U.S. dependence on foreign oil. He has favored a devastating cap-and-trade bill to “reverse” global warming and has vigorously fought the expansion of oil production offshore and in ANWR.
Despite Biden’s support of the Reagan tax cuts, which he now laments, he has been an unyielding foe of taxpayers for decades. He voted for the massive Clinton tax hike (the largest tax increase in history at the time), against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and against repeal of the estate tax. He now wants to increase taxes on the rich -- who already pay a large percentage of the income taxes -- as a form of patriotism.
He received from the Citizens Against Government Waste in January 2002 its famous “Porker of the Month” award.
Nowhere has Biden’s partisan slant been clearer than judicial confirmations. During the confirmation hearing for Robert Bork, Biden helped fuel the myth that Bork would roll back rights for minorities, women and children. Four years later, Biden attempted to “Bork” Clarence Thomas, leading to the most divisive confirmation process on record. As if to prove he doesn’t care about credentials, he voted against three eminently qualified jurists for positions on the Supreme Court, all strict constructionists. He opposed William Rehnquist and John Roberts for the chief justice post and Samuel Alito as associate justice. Biden now says he made yet another mistake in supporting Antonin Scalia to the High Court, not because he wasn’t qualified, but because he was “too effective.”
Now That’s Entertainment
Even Hollywood can’t provide slapstick entertainment to rival Joe Biden’s gaffes (although you won’t hear it from the mainstream media). During his first presidential campaign in 1988, Biden gave a speech that closely mirrored one by British politician Neal Kinnock. Biden’s rival, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, released an ad that spliced clips of Biden’s speech with clips of Kinnock’s. The apparent plagiarism caused such a ruckus that Biden dropped out of the race.
During this election cycle’s Democratic primary, Biden infamously referred to Obama as “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Also, in a conversation with an Indian-American supporter, he said that “you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.”
On Sept. 12, Biden told Missouri state senator Chuck Graham to “[s]tand up Chuck, let ’em see ya.” Graham is confined to a wheelchair. And at the onset of the current financial crisis, Biden said, “When the stock market crashed [in 1929], Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here's what happened.” For those who didn’t pass sixth-grade U.S. history, Herbert Hoover was president during the 1929 stock market crash, and television hadn’t been invented yet.
Sorry, Joe. America can’t take four more years like your last 36.
*Cartoon by Brett Noel
[HUMAN EVENTS news producer Elisabeth Meinecke and intern Ashley Herzog contributed to this report.]