Sunday, April 29, 2007

Impressions of Joe Biden

Senator Joseph Biden appeared on Meet the Press this Sunday as a Presidential candidate. I won't go through all the areas where I agreed or disagreed with some of what he said, but here are a few highlights.

Biden's biggest fault isn't that he has a big mouth (which he does), but that he's arrogant. He had some good ideas about defense policy, some bad ideas, but generally I got the impression that he lacks the very humility he faults the Bush administration for lacking. To vote for Biden is to vote specifically for his policies and hope like heck he can pull them off, just as Bush voters like myself did in 2004.

Biden was asked to comment about some remarks made by Rudy Giuliani where he claimed the Democratic candidates were committed to playing defense rather than offense, and that a Republican President alone could prevent further 9-11 style attacks. Giuliani went too far in promising the efficacy of his potential future administration, but Biden seemed intent on proving him right by immediately listing a slew of "defensive" policies.

On abortion, Biden's specific position didn't surprise me as much as his defense of Roe-v-Wade as a "political" template that makes sense as a sliding scale of moral intensity and state interest. The problem I see is that Roe is not a political template, it was a judicial decree - almost totally removed from the "political" process. The only tentative link to the political process is the nomination of Supreme Court Justices by the President, which is the only reason a Presidential candidate might be asked about the issue.

On the economy, Biden represents nonsense on stilts. Tax increases for those making over $1M (which would hit many small business owners in the teeth if they aren't incorporated), tax increases on dividends- a topic on which I've written before. Basically, tax increases all around. Good way to wreck the economy. Biden cited a "cost" of the dividend tax cuts as $195B. Unfortunately, no tax increase ever raises as much money as it intends to, nor does any tax cut ever "cost" as much as it appears on paper due to the much-derided Laffer effect which every Democrat would deny exists despite ample evidence to the contrary.

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