I believe all Americans are born with certain inalienable rights. As a child of God, I believe my rights are not derived from the constitution. My rights are not derived from any government. My rights are not denied by any majority. My rights are because I exist. They were given to me and each of my fellow citizens by our creator, and they represent the essence of human dignity...
The senate is a place filled with goodwill and good intentions, and if the road to hell is paved with them, then it's a pretty good detour. Hubert Humphrey, as quoted by Biden, p. 134
My own father had always said the measure of a man wasn't how many times or how hard he got knocked down, but how fast he got back up. I made a pledge to myself that I would get up and emerge from this debacle better for having gone through it. I would live up to the expectation I had for myself. I would be the kind of man I wanted to be.
If you do politics the right way, I believe, you can actually make people's lives better. And integrity is the minimum ante to get into the game.
To me this is the first principle of life, the foundational principle, and a lesson you can't learn at the foot of any wise man: Get up! The art of living is simply getting up after you've been knocked down.
We must have public officials who will stand up and tell the people exactly what they think... Our failure in recent years has not been the failure of the people to meet the challenges placed before them, but rather the failure of both our great political parties to place those challenges honestly and courageously before the people, and to trust the willingness of the people to do the things that really need to be done.
you should not run for president because tactically you can win. The questions you have to ask are why you're running for president and what will you do when you are president. You shouldn't run until you know the answers to those questions.
the Democratic Party had failed (in 1983) 'to remember waht got us this far and how we got here -- moral indignation, decent instincts, a sense of shared sacrifice and mutual responsibility, and a set of national priorities that emphasized what we had in common.. The Party that was the engine of the national interest -- molding our pluralistic interest into a compelling new social contract that served the nation well for fifty years -- became perceived as little more than the broker of narrow special interests. Instead of thinking of ourselves as Americans first, Democrats second, and members of interest groups third, we have begun to think in terms of special interests first and the greater interest second.. We have let our opponents set the agenda and define what is at stake.p. 140
614246... in an airport in '64, Goldwater said, 'Well, keep punching, Hubert' during a chance meeting there.By the end of 1977, it became increasingly clear that the Boss (Hubert Humphrey) would not be around much longer. And on the Senate floor one day, Barry Goldwater walked across the aisle and enveloped Hubert Humphrey. Goldwater was so big and Humphrey so frail that Humphrey almost disappeared. The two men stood for a long moment, locked in a hug, and I could see that both men were crying. They made no effort to hide it.— Joe Biden (Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics)
We all know - or at least we are told continuously - that we are a divided people. And we know there's a degree of truth in it. We have too often allowed our differences to prevail among us. We have too often allowed ambitious men to play off those differences for political gain. We have too often retreated behind our differences when no one really tried to lead us beyond them.
Senator John Stennis:The civil rights movement did more to free the white man that the black man. ... It freed my soul.
America is the promised land, because each generation bequeathed to its children a promise, a promise that they might not come to enjoy but which they fully expected their offspring to fulfill. So the words 'all men are created equal' took a life of its own, ultimately destined to end slavery and enfranchise women. And the words 'equal protection' and 'due process' inevitably led to the end of the words 'separate but equal,' ensuring that the walls of segregation would crumble, whether at the lunch counter or at the voting booth.
quoting from Neil Kinnock, running against Thatcher in 1987:Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Is it because all our predecessors were thick? Did they lack talent? Those people who could sing, and play, and recite, and write poetry, those people who could make wonderful things with their hands? Those people who could dream dreams, see visions? Why didn't they get it? Was it because they were weak? Those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football? Weak? Those women who could survive eleven childbearings? Were they weak? Anybody really think that they didn't get what we have because they didn't have the talent, or the strength, or the endurance, or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform on which they could stand.
1983:To my generation has now come the challenge. In the days to come we will be tested on whether we have the moral courage, the realism, the idealism, the tenacity, and the ability to sacrifice some of the current comfort to invest in the future... I believe that this generation will rise to the challenge... The experts believe that, like the Democratic Party itself, the less than forty-year-old voters are prepared to sell their souls for some security, real or illusory. They have misjudged us. Just because our political heroes were murdered does not mean that the dream does not still live, buried deep in our broken hearts.
The conservatives could sneer about social engineering if they wanted, but I thought that most people believed as I did that government should embody our best hopes and lend a hand to people who were struggling.
Robert Bork, at opening of Judiciary hearings:How should a judge go about finding the law? The only legitimate way, in my opinion, is by attempting to discern what those who made the law intended...As I wrote in an opinion for our court, the judge's responsibility is to discern how the framers' values, defined in the context of the world they knew, apply in the world we know.If a judge abandons intentions as his guide, there is no law available to him, and he begins to legislate a social agenda for the American people. That goes well beyond his powers..
I kept trying to tell people that just because I was young didn't mean I could speak for all young people.
My own father had always said the measure of a man wasn't how many times or how hard he got knocked down, but how fast he got back up.
Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that. And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress.
Every Republican's voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they're proposing. Romney wants to let the - he said in the first 100 days he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules - unchain Wall Street. They're gonna put y'all back in chains.
I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don't see much of a distinction beyond that.
My rights are not derived from any government. My rights are not denied by any majority. My rights are because I exist.
Our future cannot depend on the government alone. The ultimate solutions lie in the attitudes and the actions of the American people.
My father used to have an expression. He'd say, 'Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about your place in your community.'
My dad used to have an expression - 'It is the lucky person who gets up in the morning, puts both feet on the floor, knows what they are about to do, and thinks it still matters.'
Given a fair shot, given a fair chance, Americans have never, ever, ever, ever let their country down. Never. Never. Ordinary people like us. Who do extraordinary things.
A diplomatic solution that puts significant and verifiable constraints on Iran's nuclear program represents the best and most sustainable chance to ensure that America, Israel, the entire Middle East will never be menaced by a nuclear-armed Iran.
Look folks, we know who built this country and we know who is going to rebuild it. It's you. Instead of vilifying you, we should be thanking you. We owe you.
We're going to be OK because of the American people. They have more grit, determination and courage than you can imagine.
Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that eats away at a citizen's faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity; already-tight national budgets, crowding out important national investments. It wastes the talent of entire generations. It scares away investments and jobs.