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The single-issue voter: A birder’s look at Joe Biden – D – OUT

September 4, 2007

It’s that time again. As civic-minded individuals do, I’m oft interested in how the platforms of those running for president affect my life, that’s as a birder naturally. With so many candidates and elections still more than a year off I decided to do the work so you, dear reader(s), don’t have to. So here’s what I hope will be a regular look as those who would be birder-in-chief. Starting with the long-shots and working my way up so that you all will be prepared when the time comes to cast your ballot. The seventh part of The Drinking Bird’s however-many-part series.

This godfather lookin’ guy to the left is Delaware Senator Joe Biden, polling around 3%. A word first about the picture, Biden was the first guy who did not seem to have a typical ID type photo, this was the best the internets gave me and I think from here on out I’m going to use the most interesting photo of the candidate in question I can find. Sorry to Gravel, Tancredo, Dodd, Brownback, Kucinich and Paul. Had you guys been polling better you might have gotten into the fun too. See you in 4 years fellas. Another quick comment; I typically find out about a candidate’s public stance on the issues on their campaign websites. On Biden’s, there are platforms for both “Energy” and “Protecting the Environment” that cover the same thing. That ticks me off, you expect oil stuff in the energy section but the environment section is mostly about oil too. I’m not sure that energy independence affects birds in any positive way, and many means to achieve energy independence are actually really bad for birds. Habitat conservation is the big thing, here and overseas. Whatever, we’ll plow ahead anyway.

In the Senate, Biden has acheived an impressive environmental record, rated at 95% from the League of Conservation Voters. He has fought to permanently ban drilling in ANWR, reduce road contruction in national forests, and increase regulation of industrial pollutants. He’s done much for the environment in his home state of Delaware, transferring beachfront that formerly belonged to the military to Cape Henlopen State Park, where it now provides safe nesting grounds for the endangered Piping Plover, as well as Oystercatchers and Black Skimmers among others. His Senate environmental platform also cites protecting some areas from coastal erosion as an example of Biden’s dedication to conservation though, something of a red herring in my opinion. The coast is constantly eroding in some places and building in others. The shifting caused by wind and wave is a natural part of any beach and beach birds are able to deal with that, all erosion prevention protects is the human-built infrastructure on the beach, less an environmental issue than a human comfort one.

Nonetheless, Biden has shown some awareness of habitat conservation issues, something lacking in some other candidates. He co-authored a forward thinking plan in the Senate that promised debt relief to countries who make efforts to preserve tropical rainforest, though he apparently considers rainforest to be the only habitat worth preserving; the plan doesn’t elaborate on plans to encourage such endebted countries to conserve other endangered ecosystems. Baby steps I suppose.

While in the end Biden does little to separate himself from a crowded field (the biofuel and ethanol pablum continues here, but he at least gives lip service to efficiency and conservation as important contributers as well), but he is certainly better then most of his prez running peers when it comes to simple awareness of birdy issues rather then shallow talking points.

Next: You can’t spell Bonaparte’s Gull without GOP

Update 1/4/08 – Biden has dropped out of the race

One Comment
  1. matthewclemmon permalink
    September 5, 2007 11:47 am

    This man wants to sell me a coffin. I just know it.

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