Promises to Keep by Joe Biden (2007)

BidenPromises2KeepI really like Joe Biden. Heck, I think most everybody likes Joe Biden. He’s a sensible, straightforward, likeable guy. But this was written in 2007, and not one word in it about Barack Obama. The cover refers to him as “the Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate,” but this is the paperback. It refers to the book as “New York Times Bestseller,” so clearly this was written as his presidential campaign was getting underway. This year he has said he won’t run unless Hillary Clinton does not run, so my dream of a President Biden once more goes on the back burner.

But like Teddy Kennedy, Biden was born to be a Senator. He entered the Senate only just old enough to take the

oath of office: his 30th birthday was after he was elected but before he actually took office. Delaware knew a good man when it saw one, and has re-elected him ever since.

Biden was placed on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee early in his career, and eventually became its chairman. It was in that capacity that he made much of the history for which he will be remembered, including scathing criticism of the Bush/Cheney policies in the Middle East. I was surprised by how much I did not know about all that, forgetting that there was a policy of disinformation during their 8 years in office. You tend to forget facts you don’t have.

He was also in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was largely responsible for the Violence Against Women Act. The fight to pass that without the right-wingnuts gutting it was heroic, and mostly because he could work behind the scenes, talk to other Senators, and not say anything he would not have said in front of a camera. With Biden, what you see is what you get.

At the end of the book is an entire page of paragraphs that begin “I see a future in which . . .” that summarizes the tasks ahead that are important to him, as is appropriate in a campaign biography. and they are all very noble progressive values. like renewable energy, universal health care, securing Social Security, and generally the goodness of the American people.

Hey, Joe; what about four or eight more years as VP?

Statements in this review do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.