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Joe Biden vs. Working Men and Women

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Senator Joe Biden, Democrat of Delaware, announced this week on Meet The Press that he's officially running for president.

Obviously, foreign affairs and the war in Iraq will be a central calling card, and he voted for the war before he turned against it. In a prior appearance on MTP, June 4, 2006, host Tim Russert quoted Ted Kennedy as saying that his own vote against the use-of-force resolution was the best vote he'd cast in 40 years. Russert then asked if Joe's vote in favor of the resolution was his worst. Joe answered, "I don't think so. I think misunderstanding this administration is the worst miscalculation I've ever made in my career."

Fair enough. A number of Democrats - and Republicans - have expressed buyer's remorse over that vote, but there are also domestic concerns that will matter in 2008, which brings us to a March '05 vote Joe has not yet addressed: He voted for the bankruptcy bill that Bill Clinton vetoed in the 90's and George W. Bush finally signed. Arianna Huffington, among others, has described the measure as reading "like a credit industry wish list [that] does nothing to prevent bankruptcy abuse or protect consumers."

You see, it turns out the average income of folks who file bankruptcy in this country is less than $30K; not the Burt Reynolds' type millionaires gigging the system that we all heard about when this bill was debated. Also, the vast majority of bankruptcy filers do so because of massive medical bills, a job layoff, or both.

I've never filed bankruptcy, but like the man from Hope, Arkansas I am moved by those demographics. Not so our Joe, apparently, although another Democratic Joe, by the name of Lieberman, joined his Connecticut colleague Chris Dodd in voting against the bill on final passage. Honors for them.

Some have pointed out that Biden's state, Delaware, is home to the incorporation papers of large credit card companies. Perhaps a profile in courage was thus out of the question, but the man is running for president under the banner of the political party that purports to represent hard working men and women. A few Democrats tried to water down the bill with amendments on behalf of our military personnel and others, but Joe joined the majority in knocking down all of them.

Speaking of profiles in courage, the bankruptcy bill passed the senate by a vote of 74-25. You'll notice that adds up to 99 senators. So who happened to be the one senator absent that day? Why, Hillary Clinton, the wife of the man who twice vetoed that turkey.