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Tommy_Carcetti

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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
Number of posts: 38,474

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On Joe Biden

The tragic death of Vice President Biden's son Beau has me thinking about the man, his personality and his legacy.

The public perception over the past six years has too often been to pain Joe Biden in a "goofy uncle persona", as a guy who's friendly and warm but has a reputation of thinking before he speaks at certain times. While not entirely untrue, this sells the Vice President way too short.

The fact of the matter is that he has been serving the public for over 40 years. He's remarkably well-versed on both foreign and domestic politics. He's endured multiple tragedies and setbacks, from the death of his first wife and daughter, to suffering a crippling brain aneurysm in 1988, to criticisms that he allegedly plagiarized portions of a stump speech in his 1988 campaign, and most recently the death of his elder son Beau. And yet he's managed to survive it all with remarkable grace and humility.

I've had the opportunity to meet Vice President Biden. Okay, perhaps "meet" is too glamorous a description of what took place, but we did have a brief interaction with one another. Back in 2006, then Senator Biden was the headline speaker at a political dinner function at which I was volunteering. Shortly before the dinner's speeches began, I left the main banquet hall to use the restroom. On the way to the restroom, I saw Senator Biden walking in the hallway surrounded by several handlers. As I crossed paths with his entourage, I smiled and said, "Good afternoon, Senator." He looked back at me, and with a warm smile and a cheerful voice, he replied, "Good afternoon, young man!" And that was it. Nothing more. As I said, it was barely an encounter, but it was a memorable one for me nonetheless.

Now, the cynic might poo-poo that mundane encounter as completely meaningless (and cynicism about politicians is unending, that fact brought home as I am currently in the midst of a "House of Cards" binge watch over the past couple of weeks). But call me crazy, I think Vice President Biden's greeting came off as completely genuine, that the guy genuinely likes interacting with constituents and ordinary people. I would not be surprised if people who've had the opportunity to interact with the man on a much more substantial basis than my own came out feeling the exact same way.

I'd be very surprised if Vice President Biden runs for President in 2016. I was skeptical of that possibility even before his son's death, but now even more so. However, if given the chance, I think he would have been a fine, compassionate and quite competent leader of this country.

And for those who continue to insist to perpetuate the "goofy uncle persona" about Biden, I'm not completely insulted. Given that he was preceded in office by an individual who was gave off the perception of being a cold-hearted, cruel, emotionless cyborg, having his place taken by a goofy uncle might very well have been exactly what this country needed.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Jun 2, 2015, 03:12 PM (4 replies)
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