New Op-ed at Fox News: Obama's Running Mate Biden Has Rare Political Trait: Decency
Decency is rare in life, but it seems even rarer in politics where so much often is at stake. As government has grown and more is at stake, the niceties that make life civil have become expendable.
I have always been struck by the decency of Senator Joe Biden, Barack Obama's Vice Presidential nominee. But there is one memory that I particularly recall when I think of him.
Back in late May 2001, when the Senate was evenly divided with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, every vote counted in trying to pass President Bush's tax bill. Senator James Jeffords hadn't yet officially become an independent. Democrats were putting up amendment after amendment to try to defeat the tax bill, and the debate was lasting late into the evening.
Senator Joseph Biden noticed that 98-year-old Republican Senator Strom Thurmond was looking quite ill. But Thurmond couldn't leave because the Republicans needed his vote. Biden, seeing the predicament, offered a solution. He offered to "pair" his votes with Thurmond. Biden promised not to vote while Thurmond left the floor so that the passage of amendments would remain unchanged. It was the decent thing to do.
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The piece goes on to discuss how Obama could learn something from Biden on how to deal with people.
UPDATE: Here is an alternative viewpoint from David Greenberg at Slate:
The sheer number and extent of Biden's fibs, distortions, and plagiarisms struck many observers at the time as worrisome, to say the least. While a media feeding frenzy (a term popularized in the 1988 campaign) always creates an unseemly air of hysteria, Biden deserved the scrutiny he received. Quitting the race was the right thing to do. . . .