Balko on Biden

Not good:

Biden has sponsored more damaging drug war legislation than any Democrat in Congress. Hate the way federal prosecutors use RICO laws to take aim at drug offenders? Thank Biden. How about the abomination that is federal asset forfeiture laws? Thank Biden. Think federal prosecutors have too much power in drug cases? Thank Biden. Think the title of a “Drug Czar” is sanctimonious and silly? Thank Biden, who helped create the position (and still considers it an accomplishment worth boasting about). Tired of the ridiculous steroids hearings in Congress? thank Biden, who led the effort to make steroids a Schedule 3 drug, and has been among the blowhardiest of the blowhards when it comes to sports and performance enhancing drugs. Biden voted in favor of using international development aid for drug control (think plan Columbia, plan Afghanistan, and other meddling anti-drug efforts that have only fostered loathing of America, backlash, and unintended consequences). Oh, and he was also the chief sponsor of 2004’s horrendous RAVE Act…

Biden’s record on other criminal justice and civil liberties issues is just as bad. Opponents of the federalization of crime might note that the 1994 crime bill he sponsored created several new federal capital offenses. Biden also wants to expand federal penalties for hate crimes. He supports a federal smoking ban. His position on the federal drinking age is, and I quote, “absolutely do not” lower it to 18. He believes “most violent crime is related to drugs” (if he had said “drug prohibition,” he’d be closer to the truth). Biden also has an almost perfect anti-gun voting record. He said last year he favors “universal national service,” either in the Peace Corps or the military. Sounds like conscription to me. He says he’s opposed to the PATRIOT Act, but he voted for both the original bill and its re-authorization in 2005.

Foreign policy? Biden voted for the war on Iraq. Yes, he’s opposed to it now (and I like the partition plan he pushed in the primaries). But he didn’t vote correctly when it counted most. Biden also voted to send troops into Darfur. He wants to enlarge NATO. He voted in favor of the air strikes in Kosovo. He voted to strengthen the trade embargo against Cuba. His seems to be a meddling, interventionist, Clinton-esque foreign policy. His first instinct seems to be that the U.S. military’s objective include some vague notion of “doing good in the world.” Never mind the disastrous consequences that notion has reaped over the years…

My problem with Biden is that he’s not even good on the issues the left is supposed to be good on. He’s an overly ambitious, elitist, tunnel-visioned, Potomac-fevered Beltway dinosaur, with all the trappings. He may well have been the worst possible pick among congressional Democrats when it comes to the drug war and criminal justice.

Gridlock in ’08 is sounding more appealing than ever.

Comments

  1. Mike M. says:

    Indeed, I read that too, and being unfamiliar with Biden’s drug war record, it definitely bothered me. However, none of the major-party candidates is remotely approaching being on the right side of this issue for me or you. The only one who comes close is Obama, if for no other reason than he’s (admittedly) been on both sides of the drug fence.

    Still, from a strategic perspective the choice makes sense. The Drug War and criminal justice are pretty much off the radar as far as 2008 campaign issues are concerned. And “Clinton-esque” foreign policy probably isn’t going to bother the 60 percent of people who approved of the job Slick Willy was doing when he left office. So in Obama’s mind, he’s shoring up foreign policy cred.

    I guess I’m not sure why you’d be pulling for “gridlock in ’08″ any more than you probably were before.

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