From the Senate in the 1970s to the presidential campaign trail in 2020, Joe Biden has a long record of going where political pressures push him—and right now they’re pushing him aggressively leftward
Dispatches Quick Takes
In his first State of the Union speech, President Clinton expanded on his campaign promise to "end welfare as we know it." ... The Clinton quote most often repeated since it was uttered on the campaign trail is, "I feel your pain." But experts note that the current welfare bureaucracy places cash above true compassion (the literal meaning of the word is "suffering with")-and that, they say, is precisely what's wrong with welfare as we still know it.
-Jan. 29, 1994
For one thing, repeal the foolish policy of the Housing and Urban Development Department which refuses federal funds to rescue missions. The missions, with the help of churches, have done as much as any other group to help the homeless for many years now, and should not be discriminated against merely because they offer a clear proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as part of their effort.
-Feb. 11, 1989
Christian members of Congress should accept neither liberal stinginess nor conservative stinginess. The critical task in welfare reform over the next few years is to eliminate government's failed programs and to have something to put in their place: a Bible-based system of charity and challenge that can activate groups within churches to work intensively with welfare recipients who need more than a check.
-Oct. 22, 1994
"We should seriously look at systematically replacing the secular bureaucracies of the welfare state with a tax credit for giving money to ... religious or nonreligious groups."
-Newt Gingrich, Jan. 14, 1995
Some journalists and political figures are attempting to shift the burden on the adultery issue from those who have committed it to those who write and talk about it. According to this view, it is a greater moral evil to reveal that a person has broken the marriage vow than to break the vow itself. This line of thinking emerged in a recent Life magazine interview with Jackie Jackson, whose husband Jesse is a probable Democratic presidential candidate in 1988. Jackie Jackson warned reporters covering her husband: "I don't believe in examining sheets. That's a violation of privacy." Then, in what might be called the ostrich (head buried in the sand) approach, Jackie Jackson said, "If my husband has committed adultery, he better not tell me. And you better not go digging into it, because I'm trying to raise a family and won't let you be the one to destroy my family."
-June 22, 1987
As despicable an act as the Oklahoma City bombing was, there should be little surprise if our society produces more and more morally confused monsters of the ilk of Timothy McVeigh. Often under the very auspices of the government that Mr. McVeigh reportedly has come to hate, we have regularly stripped away basic building blocks of common morality that a nation needs to hang together. So the society we've produced looks a lot like the federal building in Oklahoma City.
-April 29, 1995
The cast and crew of Murphy Brown should be sorry for putting a laugh-track to the real issues of single motherhood. Children growing up in such homes are almost six times more likely to live in poverty than those with a dad on the premises. It is a fact that children do better in school and stay out of trouble more with mom and dad at home. Obviously the best home setting is not always possible; yet Murphy Brown, in last week's season opener, wants us to sympathize with her "agonizing decision" to have a baby out of wedlock and to applaud the show's stale attempt to blast Vice President Dan Quayle.
-October 3, 1992
You read it first here, but The Atlantic's April cover story is "Dan Quayle Was Right." It is a lengthy essay claiming that "the social science evidence is in" and the increase in nontraditional families "does not strengthen the social fabric but, rather, dramatically weakens and undermines society." What did they know and when did they know it?
-March 20/27, 1993 Politics
If there's anything more dangerous than a bad liar, it's a good one. And Bill Clinton is an exceptionally artful liar.
That's strong language, I know, to use about our president. And I'm mindful that the Bible enjoins us to honor those who rule over us. But the Bible also has scary warnings for leaders who pervert justice. Mr. Clinton, in office for fewer than six weeks now, is doing that regularly.
-March 6, 1993
Newspapers last week carried the outrageous story about members of Congress bouncing some 4,300 checks-without penalty or loss of credit rating-drawn on the bank created for the personal use of congressmen and their staffers. All that in just the first six months of last year. But it should come as no surprise. For years, Congress has been writing bad checks-drawn on the vast reserves of the American taxpayers. One House staffer put the scandal into its proper perspective, saying that at least the accounts weren't federally insured and there was no taxpayer liability. Indeed, the staffer explained, "I guess you could say they were stealing from each other. This is an improvement."
-Sept. 28, 1991
Nine women members of Congress marched last week in an attempt to swing the vote on demoting Adm. Frank Kelso upon his retirement-just as some women marched during the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. The press covered last week's march with the same ear for righteous indignation given to Miss Hill and her supporters among the nation's feminist leaders. But so far, no one has marched for Paula Jones.
-April 30, 1994 Technology
The grueling Baby M custody trial finally ended last week when a New Jersey superior court judge here awarded full custody of the 1-year-old child to her father, William Stern, and ruled that the surrogate mother agreement signed by Mary Beth Whitehead, the baby's mother, could be enforced.... Any technological age is one in which the technicians are terribly eager to proceed with whatever they can do without adequate concern for what ought to be done. The question too easily becomes, "What can we do tomorrow?" and not, "What will be the effects of what is already being done on human life in the many tomorrows that are still to come?"
-April 13, 1987
The secret life of that little person in the womb has come into sharper focus recently with a new technology sonograph, which shows high-quality images of unborn babies two weeks earlier than conventional sonograms. Called trans-vaginal sonography, this new technique shows the baby's heartbeat as early as four weeks from conception, and reveals a moving, completely formed baby from eight weeks. This is dangerous information for abortion supporters, who have invested everything in the fiction that abortion is merely a woman's right to control her own body. That's why the pro-abortion chairman of a U.S. House subcommittee recently refused to allow a sonograph expert to show videotapes of a living fetus in the womb.
-June 2, 1990 Abortion
March 10, 1993, will be recorded in history as the day the pro-life movement lost its innocence. No amount of distancing, rationalizing, or counter-charges will change the brutal fact that on this day a pro-life activist gunned down an abortion doctor-shooting him three times in the back. It was a devastating setback for those who care deeply about human life and democratic civility.
-March 20/27, 1993
Pope John Paul II did not shrink from his moral responsibilities when he met President Clinton last week. The pro-life pope spoke forthrightly about the sanctity of human life in the presence of the pro-abortion president. "All the great causes that are yours today," John Paul II said, "will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person." Dee Dee Myers, Clinton spokeswoman, emphasized to Washington Post reporters that at least the pope didn't actually mention the A-word. Some consolation. Mr. Clinton made the same point after he and the pope completed a 45-minute meeting with aides and a 35-minute session in private; Mr. Clinton told reporters the subject of abortion had not come up. Of course, that could be another of Mr. Clinton's famous semantic fudges: In public, the pope did not bring up the subject of abortion; he brought up the subject of human life. That also could have been the case in private, and Mr. Clinton's characterization would remain technically true.
-Aug. 28, 1993 Education
The whole idea that someone other than the government should bear primary responsibility for the education of the nation's young people remains alien to many. That's why the whole concept of "choice" is so refreshing. It might help people think in some non-traditional ways.... It was no narrow-minded critic of the public schools who asked last week: "Why should parents and their children not be free to choose their schools just as they choose other services-on the basis of overall quality or particular strength?" No-that was Arkansas' governor, Bill Clinton, the Democrat who helped chair President Bush's educational summit at Charlottesville, Va.
-Oct. 14, 1989 International
China's Public Security Bureau issued this order prior to Roman Catholic priest Chi Huitian's celebration of Easter Mass last year: "Holy Mass as scheduled by Rev. Chi must be canceled.
"The congregation must attend the Easter Mass held in the Communist Government sanctioned Patriotic Association Church.
"Rev. Chi is to abide by the instruction of the Patriotic Association's Bishop of the Diocese of Zhao Xian.
"Rev. Chi is to transfer his congregation to the Patriotic Association." Mr. Chi was arrested the day after Easter for celebrating Easter Mass with a congregation of 600 in an open field near his home. He was released last October, but continues to suffer from head injuries sustained in beatings during his detention.
-Feb. 17, 1996
Such protests (like marching at the South African Embassy in Washington) are frustrated expressions of indignation against a government which has used force to suppress its civilian population and to maintain apartheid. The deepest ethical roots of our American experience compel infuriation at such arbitrary brutality and oppression. Our own civil rights struggles of the 1960s compel us to protest the blatant wrong of a white minority's total political disenfranchisement of a black majority. Apartheid must go.
-June 9, 1986
We saw in the Patriot almost perfect performance. They've been able to get nearly every missile fired. The American public, and I hope Congress, will see that all of this anti-SDI talk about lack of feasibility in shooting down missiles is wrong. I hope we get SDI back on track.
-Feb. 2, 1991 Church News
World asked Brent Clark to respond to the evangelical community's concern that to put present and future Zondervan executives in a position to answer to Harper & Row might endanger Zondervan's evangelical integrity. Harper "has made it clear [that] they will give us the resources to enhance our position" in evangelical book marketing, said Mr. Clark. Yet they will "give us the latitude to remain evangelical," he said, echoing Mr. Kladder's comments several years earlier that the "majority of our stock will be in the hands of people who can relate to us personally."
-August 1, 1988
As Larry Walker, one of 15 members of the Committee on Bible Translation, who has been involved with the NIV for 25 years, remembers, "Way back yonder when it first came up, no one was for [unisex language]. Now at the present time, almost everyone is for it," he says a little wistfully. "The language is shifting underneath our feet." Whether the language has actually shifted that much is questionable, but it is true that feminists have agitated for such a shift. And that agitation has apparently paid off. Pressure for unisex language came from women who, in the words of Mr. Walker, "felt left out" by the traditional language.
-March 29, 1997
Personal relationship over confessional doctrine? Mushy ecumenism over studied theology? As the Promise Keepers men's movement continues its explosive growth, some are questioning its methods and asking whether its development conforms to biblical patterns. Is PK eclipsing the local church? Or just filling a vacuum created by the church's own neglect? ... Its continued success, however, may depend upon how well the movement answers the serious theological questions that may be the cloud in PK's silver lining.
-March 2, 1996
More and more, an otherwise admirable trait is evident in the approach of Hillary Clinton to her role as First Lady. Obviously, she takes seriously the task of applying her faith to all of life. Other things being equal, that should excite evangelical Christians. But sadly, the evidence also grows that Mrs. Clinton puts her faith in the wrong god. No, this is not just another beat-up-on-Hillary piece. Yet, given the prominence she has had in recent weeks in the media-along with the intensity with which she has set out to reshape American life-it is vital to explore what drives her. Few sources are more revealing in that respect than The New York Times Magazine of Sunday, May 23, whose front cover adoringly framed the First Lady in garments of white overprinted with the headline: "The Politics of Virtue." Inside, the article's title "Saint Hillary" is no mocking put-down. Instead, it's hard to imagine a piece on Mother Teresa cramming more religious imagery into a few lines. The subhead teases: "More preacher than politician, the First Lady seeks a new Reformation, concerned less with how government should behave than how people should." Writer Michael Kelly continues: "She would like to do good, on a grand scale, and she would like others to do good as well. She would like to make the world a better place-as she defines better.... Her sense of purpose stems from a worldview rooted in the activist religion of her youth and watered by the conviction of her generation that it was destined (and equipped) to teach the world the error of its ways. Together, both faiths form the true politics of her heart, the politics of virtue."
-June 5, 1993 Economy
The anti-nuclear power forces in America, capitalizing on the media's penchant for passing on horror stories, has sold us a bill of goods. Nuclear power not only isn't more dangerous than conventional power, it's over a thousand times safer, and less expensive to boot.
-Oct. 24, 1988
From 1980 to 1990, federal tax revenues grew by more than 100 percent. They more than doubled. Even if you adjust those figures for inflation, federal tax revenues have gone up by more than one-third. Federal tax revenues are at all-time record levels no matter how you measure them.
The reason we still have a deficit is because spending has mushroomed so drastically.
-Sept. 22, 1990 Supreme Court
It is the abortion issue, pure and simple, and not much else so far, which is driving the opposition to the appointment of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.... There is a narrow political issue that is primary about this appointment that will overshadow any other considerations, no matter how important they are-and that is the pro-life issue. When Senator Packwood, even before confirmation hearings have begun, before one word of testimony that elicits the opinions and views of Judge Bork has begun, when you have a United States senator saying that basically his vote is tied to one issue and if the nominee doesn't agree with his views on that one issue then he'll filibuster, then you have a feeling for the depth of the fault line that runs through the political process of this whole issue.
-July 20, 1987
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas's demonstrated ability to survive adversity and beat the odds will help him when he's grilled before the Senate Judiciary Committee in confirmation hearings that should begin sometime in September.
-July 13, 1991 Foreign Policy
In Bosnia, mass graves of Muslims were discovered, along with the estimated 200,000 killed during the Balkan War; such acts of atrocity have won Bosnian Serbian leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic indictments for war crimes (such charges were not ruled out against Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, given revelations of Serb brutalities to Croat refugees). The Balkan War earned a display in the United States Holocaust Museum. "Thank God we had no UN in 1939," one resident of Sarajevo lamented. "If they were here then we'd all be speaking German."
-Dec. 23/30, 1995
The riot by Palestinians outside the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem two weeks ago should have come as no surprise. No doubt this planned insurrection was born of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's need to shift the focus of attention away from his occupation of Kuwait. By playing the "Palestinian card," Mr. Hussein and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who has moved to Baghdad, hope to regain the political momentum they have lost since Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.
-Oct. 27, 1990
Sudan, Africa's largest country, is not getting the media coverage that Somalia, Egypt, or South Africa get, but its international connections are no less deserving of attention. The nation's government changed in 1989 without much notice by outsiders while the world was fascinated by the disintegration of the old Soviet empire. Four years later, Sudan has found new patrons that guarantee the potential of Khartoum-directed mischief in the horn of Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.... Southern Sudan, with its substantial number of Christians, is about twice the size of Texas. Even though many have been persecuted, driven into exile, or starved to death, a strong resistance movement remains. They do not intend to accept a repeat of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement that provided regional autonomy-but which was nullified later by Khartoum.
-Nov. 27, 1993