Meet Joe Biden: America's imperfect leader
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Later, when asked about the matter, Biden apologized and said his "arrogance" was to blame."He was a man in a hurry," Osnos said. "And I think if you'd encountered him in that period, you would have come away with the impression that he was a little callow, that he was more interested in the office perhaps than in the content of the policy."
All that changed in February 1988, when he collapsed on the floor of a hotel room in Rochester, New York. He'd experienced a brain aneurysm and nearly died. He was flown to Walter Reed hospital, where he stayed, out of commission, for several months.
Biden said that the experience forced him to slow down and shaped him into the kind of man he wanted to be."I was no less committed or passionate," he wrote in his 2008 autobiography, "but I no longer felt I had to win every moment to succeed." headtopics.com
Becoming a man known for compromiseIn the Senate, Biden developed a reputation for connecting with a variety of politicians, regardless of their political party.Given the political climate today, his ability to push for compromise from all ends of the spectrum is a major strength, said Rosabeth Kanter, a leadership expert and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
"Collaboration with multiple stakeholders is essential to lead change, even radical change," Kanter told Insider. "Change starts with allies who might not agree among themselves."Orrin Hatch, the former senator, onceremarked,"Joe's innate ability to befriend anyone — and I mean anyone, including his fiercest political opponents — was critical to his success as a legislator."
Former Sen. Harry Reid said that when he would butt heads with Republicans, he'd turn to Biden for help."Sen. Mitch McConnell and I worked together for decades," Reid said. "He was the whip when I was the whip, we were both leaders, but sometimes we would talk past each other." He said he knew Biden could be counted on to be one of the best shots of coming to some sort of agreement.
McConnell and Biden have worked together for decades, and have formed an unlikely bond.AP Photo/Zach Gibson"Here's the one thing about Joe Biden: Joe Biden is a person who understands the word 'compromise.' And compromise is how you get legislation done," Reid added. headtopics.com
McConnell oncesaidthat in his office "Get Joe on the line!" was code for it's time to "get serious" about passing legislation.Biden would become the chairman of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and a driving force behind a series of important legislation, most notably the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
It provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice, and created a hotline that's helped millions of women.But that period of progress also marked the onset of some of Biden's greatest controversies.
There was Biden's overseeing of the Supreme Court nomination hearing of Clarence Thomas. In 1991, a law professor named Anita Hill spoke before an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee about sexual harassment she said she endured from Thomas.
Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when Anita Hill testified against the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.The senators asked Hill questions that many now say were invasive, uncomfortable, and unfair. Biden did not allow testimony from three other women who offered their own stories about Thomas. headtopics.com
InApril 2019, The New York Times reported that Biden had called Hill to apologize. According to Hill, what he said to her did not constitute an apology."I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, 'I'm sorry for what happened to you,'" Hill, now a professor at Brandeis University, said.
Osnos commented on the infamous hearing, saying that Biden thought his motives were misdirected in the interest of trying to ensure the first African American nominated to the Supreme Court was given a fair hearing. "But in the process, of course, he made a terrible mistake," the biographer said.
Then there were also policy decisions that, some argue, taint Biden's legislative record.In 1973 Biden was heckled by white suburbanite supporters from Delaware after he indicated he supported court-ordered busing, whereby students would be transported to schools within or outside their local school districts in an effort to diversify the racial make-up of schools. He reversed course and became an outspoken activist against it.
Sen. Kamala Harris, who also ran for president in 2020, took Biden to task about his stance on court-ordered busing during a Democratic Party. Nevertheless, Biden chose Harris as his running mate, a decision that demonstrated his ability to turn conflict into cooperation, said Brene Brown, a social psychologist.
"No one was more dogged in their criticism of him than Kamala during the primaries," Browntold Insider. "I mean, she was rough on him, and he chose her, and that didn't surprise me at all."In 1986 Biden cowrote the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which resulted in much heavier sentencing for crack-cocaine possession than it did for powder cocaine. Black drug users were more likely to use crack than white users, which resulted in higher rates of incarceration of Black people.
Biden later acknowledged the problems with the law, and in 2010 he supported a bill aimed at softening sentencing for first-time possession of crack and reducing the disparity in sentencing between crack- and powder-cocaine crimes.He also spearheaded the 1994 crime bill, which, critics argue, drove mass incarceration, especially of Black people. Biden later said the bill "worked in some areas, but it failed in others."
He also voted in support of the Iraq War, in 2002, which he said was "a mistake."While Biden didn't have a perfect record in the Senate, several people said he has shown a willingness to reflect and to change. That's rooted in his ability to listen to others, former advisors said.
"Biden's management style is that of 'an inclusive listener,'" said Moe Vela, a former director of administration and a senior advisor for then-Vice President Biden during the Obama administration. "He seeks diverse ideological opinions and perspectives and philosophies."
Former advisors to Biden said he's an inclusive leader who takes time to listen to everyone's perspective.Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty ImagesAccording to Vela, Biden often let everyone sitting at his meeting table share their perspective on everything from high-profile policy issues to administrative decisions.
"I never left a meeting one time where I didn't feel like he gave me a fair and judicious hearing," Vela said. "The way he does it is he goes around the room and you feel heard, you feel seen, you feel contributory."Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, a former senior advisor and White House advisor on violence against women, agreed, adding: "He isn't stuck in the old school. He's always open to new perspectives."Read more: Business Insider »
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You are a Trump supporter. I like Joe Biden but he us not prefect, there are so many better people then him But the succession of presidents is a beautiful process, priorities change, new hopes appear, life becomes more interesting