Top 5 Reasons Joe Biden Is Not Your Embarrassing Uncle

Vice President Joe Biden’s gaffes have been not infrequently noted. In fact, one occurred just last week, when he said that the “middle class” has been nothing less than “buried” during the Obama administration.

“Which Joe Biden will show up for tonight’s debate?” the Daily Beast quips, the “cloying, cheesy” uncle who you try so hard to avoid sitting next to at Thanksgiving especially when, a highball in one hand, he’s yukking it up with your dad who’s sending clear “get me away from these in-law” signals to your mom? The man who, in 2008, told the New York Observer of then-Senator Barack Obama, “I mean you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy: I mean, that’s storybook, man”?

But this post is not about best-of-Biden-blunders. This post is about why, even if he did say that “jobs” was a three-letter word, even if he did once introduce Obama to a rally as “Barack America,” Biden is actually not that embarrassing uncle.

1. He used to have a stutter

Yes, Biden is known for putting his foot in his mouth on a regular basis. But the veteran politician with his old-style oratory actually had a severe stutter as a child for which he was mocked by his classmates (keep in mind, this was in the 1940s when nobody cared who bullied who). He recited poetry in front of a mirror to overcome his study and, in law school, helped another stutterer improve his speech.

2. He stands up for women

Biden has worked to end violence against women, indeed saying that “the single, most important legislative accomplishment in my 32-year-old career in the Senate is passing the Violence Against Women Act” in 1994. The VAWA was renewed in 2000 and expanded in 2005, to include new provisions to help ”treat children who witness violence, to increase housing opportunities and to create dedicated resources for rape crisis centers.”

Biden also supports abortion rights.

3. He loves public transit

For years, so his young children could live at their family home in Delaware and so he could see them every day, Biden rode Amtrak from Washington to Wilmington, a trip of some 90 minutes. No surprise that he’s a staunch supporter of public transportation.

4. He just wants us all to get along

Aware of the “vicious rift” dividing the U.S. in 2004 and seeking to close the partisanship gap, Biden enjoined Republican Senator John McCain to run for vice president with then-Democratic hopeful Senator John Kerry. While saying on “Meet the Press” that he was sure McCain would not do so, Biden — wanting to mend fences instead of erect more — explained that “I think it is a reflection of the desire of this country and the desire of people in both parties to want to see this God-awful, vicious rift that exists in the nation healed, and John and John could go a long way to heal in that rift.”

5. He is generally just an awesome person who has faced a lot of hardships

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to a working-class family (his father worked in car dealerships), Biden, who has spent more than half his life in the Senate, remains in touch with his blue-collar roots. He is a Washington insider but he’s more than earned his stripes. Richard Nixon was in office when Biden entered the Senate. He’s chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee and led the opposition against the Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. After voting for the Iraq War, he became a fierce critic of President George Bush’s policies and urged Obama against a big troop “surge” in Afghanistan.

Biden has lived through deep personal tragedy. Elected at the age of 29 to the Senate in 1972, he lost his first wife and young daughter in a car accident a few weeks afterwards. Both of his young sons were also injured and he considered resigning from his seat to care for them but was persuaded not to. Biden was a single father for five years and has said that he is “not devoid of an understanding of the problems ordinary people face.”

Yes, Biden’s long career in public life has been full of highs and lows and lows and highs. He’s done a lot, he’s seen a lot and he has said some really dumb things; that’s what happens when you’re an ordinary Joe. He’s debating tonight with a vice-presidential hopeful who’s younger than some of his own children. I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden said something to make us all wince, just like that old geezer uncle to whom you’d rather not have to say more than hi.

But also like that seasoned uncle, Biden’s not afraid to say what is, as he did during the 2008 campaign of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “There’s only three things [Rudy] mentions in a sentence. A noun, a verb, and 9/11,” said Biden of Giuliani’s seeming to build his campaign around the attacks of September 11. He messes up.

As his career shows, you can be down. But you most certainly are not out.


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Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago


Richard P.
Richard P.4 years ago

Sheri, in my prison ministry, I have often like the inmate involved, but I still didn't like some of the things they had done. Rudeness and courtesy may not be sins or crimes, but they neither are a display of good character or behavior. Politics has a way of bringing these traits out.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.4 years ago

I have always liked Joe Biden.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Richard you egotism and lack of intelligence shine through in every one of your inane posts. So laugh all you want with your imaginary friends, surrounded by all of your "composition" and "diplomas" from "well known" universities.

Richard P.
Richard P.4 years ago

You are right, Kevin. I do not have the high IQ and intelligence or forml education you think you have. I had to quit after 7 years of graduate work because I didn't have the time to go for the highest academic degree, which I am sure you are aware of (Ph.D., in case you have forgotten), I would have had to also research and write another "Theses" and, after one of them, I needed a break. If Biden cleaned Ryan's clock, I certainly know where I will not send my very valuable and expensive Grandfather's Clock to be cleaned. When I have finished my third book and my 42nd. Musical Composition and CD's, I will make a special point of not sending you one; also the publishers. It would be a waste of time since you are convinced you already know it all. My District Officer read your comments and we both agreed. You are obviously "a legend in your own mind." Sincerely, Dr. Richard D. Pifer, A.B., Th.M., and also
Th.D. I guess I was a bit slow because I had to go to 2 well known Universities and Seminary to get them. Don't send me your records. I just don't have the space left on my computer.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Richard P said "If you're so smart, why aren't youi rich?"

Maybe because some of us to not worship at the alter of material possessions and being "rich" really does not matter to people who put other things as a higher priority in their lives. I am sure you would not understand that since you are obviously a very nasty man of very limited intelligence.

Richard P.
Richard P.4 years ago

Kevin and Joyce: Which is worse, to call someone a buffoon or to call them a liar? I my note was worthy of being flagged, what about all the nasty comments made about Romney when none of you even know the man? If you're so smart, why aren't youi rich? I'll withdraw with grace and quote my father in the Word (a noted professor), "If a man (or woman) wills to be ignorant, let them be ignorant."

Joyce Meier
Joyce Meier4 years ago

My hat off to Joe Biden for speaking out, defending and also taking Ryan/Romney to task.

Can people truly believe that Romney is going to solve all the issues he claims he will solve. How, with whose money; is he going to provide jobs for the unemployed, will he use is large fortune to reduce the US debt? Will he use is money to help the people that can't afford Health Care.....I DON'T THINK SO. Well he start yet another war with foreign countries, very likely, as he has no idea what it all entails, and has no diplomacy whatsoever. He comes across as a typical know-it-all; he boasts about his tenure as Governor and how successful he was in solving the issues of the time. Well Mr. Romney, wake up, the situation is dramatically different, the whole world is in financial straits, so pray tell how you intend to fix the US economy. Grow up and instead of fighting against the Democrats, show some loyalty to your country, and support their efforts to make the US a better place for all, not just your rich buddies/pals.....

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

Richard P, Biden was laughing at Ryan because he was lying his ass off. He is VERY serious about thats going on in this country. I dodnt give a flip about pundits on newspapers and or TV. I watch stuff on CSPAN so I don't have to see or hear their spin. Thats part of the problem, too many people let others do their abasing for them. Biden schooled your young punk with a RADICAL mindset. I have studied Ryan even more that Romney.Romney is simply a chameleon….Ryan is much more dangerous. he is a true believer a zealot. Biden exposed Romney/Ryans distortions. You can believe the distortions of you want. Just don't come inn here trying to convince me they safe good for America.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown4 years ago

Yes, Richard, you showed your intellectual ability (name calling and insults are certainly very intellectual).. So just to let you know, I flagged you for your insulting and nasty comments and hope others will too.

You are obviously one of the nutjobs from inside the right wing bubble and of course the insane echo chamber that is the right wing keeps saying it was a wasn't. It was a good old fashioned ass-whuppin that Joe Biden put on Ryan. I am sorry you do not like that fact, but all of your crying will not change it.

Yeah, sorry that a black man is president, I am sure that in all of your "78 years" you probably dreaded that possibility and the "worst president" (as you so ignorantly called him( has keep this nation out of a depression, accomplished amazing things and, oh wait, he killed Osama Bin Laden. Yeah, if that is what you call a "failure" we could sure use some more of it in this country.