I have been skeptical of Barack Obama's promise to bring change to Washington, to transcend the divisive politics of the past two decades and end the partisan wars by building a new majority. The man who has promised "a new kind of politics" where "old labels don't apply" has voted with his own party 96 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly's Web site.
To effect change, Obama has enlisted a running mate whose tenure in Washington predates Watergate. In fact, when Sen. Joe Biden was taking his senatorial oath of office, Obama was still taking his bus to grade school.
Biden is the guy who orchestrated the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill fiasco. And before that, he "borked" Robert Bork. More recently, he voted against the confirmations of both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
Obama/Biden is the most liberal ticket ever offered by the Democrats. And that is saying a lot, considering the McGovern/Shriver ticket in 1972. The National Journal recently scored Obama as the most liberal senator and Joe Biden as the third most liberal senator in Washington (National Journal, July 18). By comparison, Hillary Clinton ranked a meager 16th. Obama and Biden don't just talk the talk when it comes to liberal issues like government-controlled health care, they actually walk the walk. They make up a frightening duo for those of us who care about family values.
Biden does not come to the ticket without controversy. He has previously apologized for plagiarizing a political speech and misrepresenting his academic record. In law school, he was caught submitting a word-for-word copy of five pages of a published law review article as his own work.
Biden also says a lot of stupid things. Last year, he described Obama to the New York Observer as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Come again? While campaigning in New Hampshire in July 2006, Biden said that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."
Biden doesn't match up with Obama on important issues like Iraq. He voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution in October 2002. Obama, of course, didn't vote on the resolution because he was busy casting "present" votes in the Illinois Legislature at the time. Also, one of Obama's most stinging criticisms of McCain has been for his support of a bankruptcy reform bill authored by Biden.
Biden and McCain happen to like each other a lot. In 2005, Biden told Jon Stewart that: "John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off" (The Daily Show, Aug. 2, 2005).Until last Saturday, Biden seemed to have more confidence in McCain than he did with his running mate: "I think (Obama) can be ready (to be president), but right now, I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training" (ABC's, "This Week," Aug. 19, 2007).
Todd Weiler is the Utah Republican Party State vice chairman and a delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention.