By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C., August 27, 2008) -- Tonight, Delaware Senator Joe Biden will accept the vice presidential nomination in Denver. But most Americans have no idea who he really is or what he believes. Here, then, are a few facts worth noting.
First, by all accounts, Biden is a wonderful family man who has endured a terrible personal tragedy. In 1972, just before Christmas and just weeks after being elected to his first term in the United States Senate, Biden's wife and only daughter were killed in a horrific car crash caused by a drunk driver.
"Five years after this [trauma], no one man deserves one great love, let alone two," Biden later recalled in an interview with David Brody of CBN. "I met and married my wife of 30 years who actually put my life back together again and put my family back together again. But you know, when something like that happens to you. It's like there's a big black hole in your chest, and you feel like you're being sucked in to that black hole. You feel like there isn't anything that will ever get better again in your life. But my mom has an expression, she said God sends no cross that you cannot bear, and she said, I remember literally the week of the accident her saying 'Joey, out of everything horrible something good will come if you look hard enough.' And I thought that was the cruelest thing in the world someone could say, but it's true.
"Obviously I wished it never, ever, ever happened, but my sons and I, it's like a steel belt that runs through our chest connecting us. My family is so strong, and I really believe and my wife Jill of 30 years believes that Neilia my wife, is looking down on us. You just never, it never leaves, but there comes a time and it happens earlier than you think, there comes a time when the memory brings a smile to your lips rather than a tear to your eyes. And so many people have gone through tough stuff, but I had family.
"When I went through it I had people helping me. It has taught me that I have such intense admiration for people who are alone and these things happen to and they fight. There are so many people right outside this library, this morning got up, put one foot in front of the other, dealing with crisis that were similar to mine and they do. And they do it for their kids and they do it for their family and they do it without the kind of help I had. I was really lucky. I just had an awful lot of people to help me and they were my family. I'm not very good talking about it as you can see, but I know there is a continuum. I know that God is -- there's a giant piece of my deceased daughter, a giant piece of my deceased wife that is in me and in my children and in my wife."
Despite such immense pain, Biden emerged as a kind, funny, friendly and personally engaging leader, who has built strong personal and professional relationships with Republicans such as John McCain, among others. To his credit, he has been a good friend of Israel over the years. He has been good on expanding democracies around the world. He was also right on the Georgia crisis, having long encouraged the expansion of NATO to include fledgling democracies.
I like Joe Biden. I like his love of family and country. I like that I can disagree with him but would still enjoy a good policy discussion over dinner. But I do disagree with him profoundly on most important issues. He is, after all, the third most liberal man in the Senate, according to National Journal. And when it comes to most epicenter issues, he is just plain wrong. He reminds me in many ways of President Jimmy Carter in the mid- to late-1970s -- kind, friendly, warm, engaging, but someone who often misunderstands the nature and threat of evil, particularly in the Middle East.
Consider a few of Biden's positions:
* Voted against the Gulf war in 1991 to liberate Kuwait
* Voted against "the surge" in Iraq in 2007 to defeat the Jihadists [Told the Boston Globe in the summer of 2007: "The surge isn't going to work either tactically or strategically."]
* Opposes "regime change" in Iran. ["Instead of regime change, we need to focus on conduct change." -- speech on Iran at the Iowa City Public Library on December 3, 2007]
* Believes in direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad
* Voted against a bill to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a "terrorist" organization
* Strongly opposes taking preemptive military action to neutralize Iran's nuclear weapons threat and has threatened to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran
* Does not see Ahmadinejad's End Times theology as a serious problem. ["My concern is not that a nuclear Iran some day would be moved by messianic fervor to use a nuclear weapon as an Armageddon device and commit national suicide in order to hasten the return of the Hidden Imam. My worry is that the fear of a nuclear Iran could spark an arms race in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and others joining in." -- speech on Iran at the Iowa City Public Library on December 3, 2007]
* "In 1979, he shared Carter's starry-eyed belief that the fall of the shah in Iran and the advent of the ayatollahs represented progress for human rights," writes Amir Taheri, the former editor of one of the largest newspapers in Tehran and a respected analyst of the current regime. "Throughout the hostage crisis, as US diplomats were daily paraded blindfolded in front of television cameras and threatened with execution, he opposed strong action against the terrorist mullahs and preached dialogue….For more than a decade, Biden has adopted an ambivalent attitude towards the Islamic Republic in Tehran, now emerging as the chief challenger to US interests in the Middle East. Biden's links with pro-Tehran lobbies in the US and his support for "unconditional dialogue" with the mullahs echo Obama's own wrong-headed promise to circumvent the current multilateral efforts by seeking direct US-Iran talks, excluding the Europeans as well as Russia and China."
There is much more to learn about Joe Biden, to be sure. But hopefully this is helpful as you watch the convention tonight.
Glenn Beck Asks Joel About Politics & Prophecy: