A political career that spanned more than 50 years began its slow passing yesterday in New Hampshire surrounded by grieving supporters. The public life of Joe Biden, long-time Democratic senator from Delaware, who overcame personal tragedies and near-death health scares to become Barack Obama’s Vice President, is expected to survive only a short while longer.
In addition to 2020, he also ran for president in 1988 and 2008.
As Senator, Biden argued against busing for desegregation in the 1970s, opposed Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in the 1980’s and voted for a measure aimed at outlawing gay marriage in the 1990s.
Biden’s portfolio as vice president included the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a law that kicked millions of Americans off of their insurance plans and also resulted in 43% premium increases.
Despite being the first Roman Catholic Vice President, he supported Obamacare provisions that would have forced Catholic institutions to violate their beliefs by providing coverage for contraception and abortive medications.
On foreign policy, Biden will be forever remembered for voting against the first Gulf War in the Senate, then voting for the war in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Iraq War — before flip-flopping his position.
In 2007 he declared that the Iraq "surge" would be a failure.
He was one of the principle architects of the now infamous Obama Iran deal, running point on an agreement that had bi-partisan opposition in Congress, had no credible accountability mechanism to prevent nuclear proliferation, and led to the U.S. funding terrorism to the tune of billions of dollars.
History will be kind to "Sleepy Joe" for his affable, if not crazy-uncle demeanor, but in the end, judge that he should have taken his Presidential Medal of Freedom and left the national stage in 2017.
On the 2020 campaign trail, he often seemed confused, gaffe-prone — even unintelligible.
His 2020 presidential run also exposed the sordid details of a family in turmoil and steeped in political corruption. The grief over the death of one son, Beau, combined with his other son’s infidelity - with his brother’s widow no less - messy divorces, paternity suits, drugs, debt, and failure to pay child support.
The campaign led to the exposure of a long-standing pattern of behavior in which the former vice president abused his office to enrich numerous family members and cover it up.
On the eve of critical Democratic Primary contests for 2020, Democrats in Congress actually helped shine a light on this corruption in their effort to impeach and remove President Donald Trump in late 2019.
Wall-to-wall media coverage of Biden’s efforts to use his position to make his son Hunter millions in Ukraine and China, had a further dulling effect on the campaign, ultimately resulting in a fifth place Iowa result, then an even worse New Hampshire finish.
With the slow passing of Joe Biden, Democrats mark the end of an era.
Biden was an old school Democrat who actually had friends who were Republicans. He was even the best man at Republican Senator Alphonse D’Amato’s wedding way back when. He was a backslapper and a boisterous member of the U.S. Senate’s good old boys club during those heady days when Democrats would actually vote for things like tax cuts, didn’t thumb their nose at religion, reflexively hate the Second Amendment — or think that there are dozens of genders.
He never quite fit in during the post-Obama world, where the Democratic Party has now shifted far-left.
Biden has been for some time, a man out of time - an old political warhorse out of place in this digital age defined by strict ideology and social media "Gotcha!" moments.
His career will be laid to rest alongside the likes of Walter Mondale, Spiro Agnew, and Hubert Humphrey.
When that time mercifully comes, in lieu of flowers, his consultants will likely request that they be given CNN contributorships, or high-paying positions on Mike Bloomberg’s campaign.
Tom Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics. He served in the Bush Administration from 2001-2004, as Executive Director of the NYS Republican Party and has held a range of senior-level communications roles in and out of government. Basile's critically-acclaimed book, "Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq" (Foreword by Amb. John R. Bolton), chronicles his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving fairer coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University, a local elected official and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at TomBasile.com or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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