Not your average Joe (Ryan Cormier)

Former Vice President Joe Biden has thrown his hat in the ring for a presidential run in 2020, and he’s currently leading the other Democratic candidates in the polls. Given Mr. Biden’s long association with Delaware, the News Journal will predictably be giving him a lot of ink. This report, which took up about ¾ of the front page and three pages inside, was loaded with pictures and details of the Biden story from his birth in PA (moved to DE at the age of 11) up to the present day. The thrust of the report is that “Joe” (as he is known in Delaware) will be a formidable adversary for President Trump in 2020.

Ryan Cormier received assistance from Karl Baker and Engagement Editor Matt Albright in writing the story. Also, photos and other materials from the News Journal archives were liberally used in preparing the account.

Although the overall thrust of the report is laudatory, this is a balanced account that covers mistakes/weaknesses as well as accomplishments/strengths. For example:

•There are several mentions of the supposedly botched manner (as viewed from the perspective of the “me too” movement that developed several decades later) in which Biden presided over the confirmation hearings of SCT Justice Clarence Thomas at which the nominee was ambushed by previously unvoiced claims of sexual harassment.

Striking the right balance in this situation was a challenge, and if memory serves Sen. Biden tilted in favor of Anita Hill during the proceeding (he certainly did not give the nominee a pass). Let’s not forget the importance of protecting Mr. Thomas’s rights in this situation, which he characterized as a "high tech lynching," and the obvious questions about Hill's motives in "coming forward" at this particular time. My Grandfather’s Son, Clarence Thomas, 2008.

•Senator Biden voted in favor of invading Iraq in 2003, but later opposed the surge campaign that cemented US victory in that war versus a humiliating withdrawal.

Yours truly sent several letters to Senator Biden and other members of Congress from Delaware urging support for the surge campaign, and one of Biden’s responses (2/20/27) suggested that he was paying attention. “I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your continued interest in the situation in Iraq. Your points are well taken, and I appreciated hearing from you again.”

•As vice president, Biden opposed the raid that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. He lauded President’s Obama’s leadership, however, after this effort had been undertaken successfully.

Does “Joe” really have the Democratic nomination sewed up, or did he miss his chance (for understandable personal reasons) to run in 2016? Also, what if anything can he offer from a policy standpoint that would constructively contribute to the political conversation? It will be interesting to see how this story turns out.
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