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OpEd Joe Biden

Alex Constantine - April 15, 2024

By Alex Constantine

Thirty years ago, Biden was the Manchin of his day, an arrogant closet Republican hypocrite with an abysmal voting record on the Hill. He constantly boasted, and still does, about "reaching across the aisle." And that was precisely the problem. He was a segregationist. He ridiculed Anita Hill, held the door open to the country's loftiest court for Clarence Thomas. Biden was scum. That is how I viewed him.

The edge of my loathing dulled when his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash. His grief taught him something about empathy. He often talks about the ache in his chest he still carries with him since that day. But life wasn't through with him. He lost a son. Biden was left a walking wound. It's impossible to feel that much pain and not let go of arrogance.

Yep, he voted for authorization to invade Iraq. Many Democrats at the time felt that, if nothing else, some good would come of it if Saddam Hussein was deposed and held accountable for his murders and human rights violations. So they went with the program. Biden voted for the resolution. But he quickly realized it was a mistake, and clamored for restraint from the Bush administration. He spoke out against civilian casualties. That wasn't reaching across the aisle. He rejected the GOP's cavalier disregard for human life.

I accept him at his word when he says that he has changed. Death rattled him to the bone. Sometimes the ghosts of his past are palpable. He took his time deciding on a presidential run because his spirit was so emaciated that he didn't know if he was up to it. Anyone who has lost a child understands.

He isn't perfect. Who isn't fundamentally flawed?

He should have slapped Netanyahu around much earlier than he did.

But I understand his reluctance to disarm Israel. It is a small country surrounded by hostile states. Netanyahu doesn't represent his constituents. They are disgusted with him. If arms shipments to Israel ceased because if his actions, it would be vulnerable to assaults from all sides. Imagine the destruction. Biden couldn't allow that. He couldn't allow the decimation of Gaza to continue either, and he attempted to put a stop to it with diplomacy. His own party demanded a stop to the killing, but the arms shipments continued because he had a vision of massive retaliation that would ensue.

So he maintained the policy of arming Israel for one simple reason: Hamas had to be broken or Israel would eventually come to resemble the Gaza Strip. Either way, blood flows.

Biden eventually made the right decision. He leaned on Netanyahu the Insane and concessions followed.

Every president is forced to make agonizing decisions. Biden made senseless mistakes handling Netanyahu.

But it's possible to condemn him for this and credit him for policies that have upgraded the United States. There is no such thing as a chief executive with a perfect score card, but his record since 2020 has been exemplary, and he made it look easy. All you can say is that Biden, since the Iraq war, is trying to redeem his past. He has accomplished great things against the wall of Republican opposition because he learned the ropes when he was a bastard senator who reached across the aisle, and plied them after deep trauma shook him to the bone. And he has made a course correction on Israel.

The education of Joe Biden isn't finished. Who doesn't reach a ripe old age and look back on his past with regrets? He's a rough oak tree with many black rings. At least he acknowledges his mistakes and attempts to make amends. That's more than the toilet scum across the aisle can say, so critics need to get over Biden's past.

Or throw the first stone.

- AC

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