If the Democratic Party is known for anything, its for being predictably unpredictable. The 1976 Democratic candidate for president, Jimmy Carter, was a dark horse candidate that used his strong morality and a nation distrustful of politicians to rise to the White House. In 1992, the Democrats decided to forego party veterans and experienced national politicians for dark horse governor of Arkansas William Jefferson Clinton. The last two elections, the Democrats have gone with party veterans Al Gore and John Kerry to try and keep the White House Democratic, but have failed. This logic might dictate that someone like Russ Feingold, a political maverick, to try and win back the executive office. However, if the Democrats choose to go the veteran route, one option will be Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, a senator for the last three decades and a leader in foreign policy in Congress.
Joe Biden was born on November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His education included undergraduate work at the University of Delaware, where he graduated in 1965, and a law degree from the University of Syracuse in 1968. Biden began practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware after passing the Delaware bar in 1969 and ran for U.S. senator in 1972. At age 30, he was the fifth youngest senator in American history and has kept his seat ever since. While senator for the state of Delaware, Biden has represented the small state’s interests (including Dover Air Force Base and watershed management) while becoming an expert in foreign policy. Biden has been at the forefront of foreign policy in the 1990s and 2000s, including supporting international intervention in the Balkans, military action in Afghanistan, and support for the war in Iraq. As a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden has been part of some of the more contentious Supreme Court nomination processes in recent memory, including Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Harriet Myers (removed before the formal process), and Samuel Alito.
The moderates in the Democratic Party will more than likely be involved in trumpeting veterans like Biden and Hillary Clinton. Biden has already announced his intention to run for the presidency in 2008 and has been involved several times in the nominating process. In 1988, in a diluted Democratic field, Biden stood a significant chance of winning the nomination. However, accusations circulated by Michael Dukakis and others in the field that Biden cribbed his foreign policy speeches from British parliamentarian Neil Kinnock. In 2004, Biden considered joining the race for president but realized that the front loaded primary process would favor a candidate with a stronger financial base. These experiences have not helped serial campaigners like Dick Gephardt, who has been similarly rebuffed several times over by Democratic voters, and may hurt Biden’s opportunity to win the nomination. However, if the Democrats do win in 2008, he would have to be at the forefront of candidate lists for the State and Defense Department. Biden probably won’t win the nomination due to a tendency to look at three decades of senatorial work as too much “insider” politics to make a good presidential candidate.