Joe Biden, Character Assassin, or Typical Politician?

In recently reading about Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearing, it was interesting that Senator Joe Biden was part of the smear machine. Sometimes I forget how long some of these people have been around.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Robert Bork, although Teddy Kennedy was his most famous character assassin, Sen. Biden was there, too. This makes me want to read Bork's The Tempting of America to see what role Biden played.

Update: Mr. Hines defends Biden's conduct in the Thomas hearings, and I have to say after reading Thomas's account of the hearing I tended to blame anyone involved on the left for the summer of smears that culminated in Anita Hill's accusations. Maybe my original title for this post, "Joe Biden, Character Assassin," was unfair. I would have to go back and re-read Thomas's account, which I don't really have time for right now, so I'll leave it a question.


E Hines said...

I watched all of the Thomas confirmation hearings. The character assassin there was Anita Hill. Biden? When a younger pro-Thomas witness was testifying, he said something that not only was wholly political, as heated as the hearings had gotten, and as devoid of fact, it would have been actionable, even coming in that sort of environment.

Biden, who opposed Thomas' confirmation, interrupted the witness and asked him whether he meant what he had just said. The witness, given the opportunity to think, thanked Biden for the opportunity to correct himself. The witness then rephrased his statement, not changing by an iota the thrust of his remarks, but he did rephrase them so they wouldn't have been actionable.

Biden could have let the statement stand, and used it against both Thomas and the witness.

Eric Hines

Tom said...

According to Thomas, Biden would promise one thing in private conversations and then do the opposite in the hearings. He does say at least one positive thing about Biden, though I can't remember what it was at the moment.

You're right that the big one was from Hill, but there was quite a smear campaign before then, and my impression is that Biden was happy to go along with it.

Of course, this is in Thomas's telling, and he was hardly a disinterested observer, and by the time I read the part about Hill I was angry about it, so I'm not impartial either. Maybe I accused him intemperately.

Ymar Sakar said...

Trum getting to DC alive isn't exactly guaranteed. So perhaps we will come to witness an actual assassination.