Recently, a young woman asked Joe Biden how young people can trust he’ll fight for us when he’s opened the door to Super PACs (Political Action Committees), which would allow any amount of dark fossil fuel money to support his campaign. His response was condescending, “Look at my record, child,” and at the same time tells all what we should do when investigating any candidate. So let’s look at Biden’s record and see what it tells us about him on any number of issues.
Before we do that though, remember what a Super PAC is and why the young woman’s question is relevant. Super PACs can take virtually unlimited amounts of money from a variety of different sources, and they’ve found loopholes that enable them to dodge disclosure requirements. Those donations made by undisclosed sources are called Dark Money.
As a result, we the voters might not even know who is paying for advertising promoting the candidate during the primaries. What promises does the candidate make in order to encourage a donor to provide tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Super PAC? We’ll never know and, because we don’t know who donated those funds, we don’t even know what to look out for.
Now on to Biden’s record. Do you remember the 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? You remember the controversy over Anita Hill’s testimony that Thomas sexually harassed her? Joe Biden was the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at that time and, in a deal with Republicans, he blocked four other women from testifying in support of Hill’s claims.
This is sadly illustrative of both Biden’s treatment of women and the way he works cooperatively with Republicans, which he claims is one of his strengths.
Then there’s Biden’s support for credit card companies over working Americans when he voted for the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill. The bill, championed by credit card companies and many major retailers, made it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy and get out of debt.
The bill passed the Senate with a large majority including Biden, but most Democratic senators voted no. Biden was widely considered one of the bill’s major Democratic champions.
Elizabeth Warren was a strong opponent of the Bankruptcy Bill from the outset based on research she published in 2000. She explained to journalist David Cay Johnston that: “Many people in bankruptcy were solid bill payers until something knocked their legs out from under them. For two-thirds of these people, it was loss of a job, for 40% it was a serious medical problem and for 20% it was the economic fallout of divorce.”
Lest we forget, Biden voted “Yes” to give George W. Bush the authority to start the Iraq War. On the day the war broke out, Biden stated to the press, “We voted to give him the authority to wage that war. We should step back and be supportive.” In fact, Biden didn’t just vote for the war, the record shows he was a leading Democratic voice in its favor.
Biden played an important role in persuading the public of its necessity and laid the groundwork for Bush’s invasion. At the time Biden stood as a leading Democratic voice on foreign policy since he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
While President Bush attempted to peddle the war to the American public, Biden became one of the administration’s strongest allies in this cause. Biden backed claims regarding the threat posed by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the necessity of removing him from power.
So yes Joe, let’s look at your record.