What Beau Biden’s Death Shows About Joe Biden And The American People

The tragic and tormenting death of Beau Biden, the older son of Vice President Joe Biden, of a brain tumor at age 46, was not the first time that a President or Vice President has experienced the death of a family member while in office.

Presidents, including Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy had also had the death of children while in office.

Presidents, including John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Woodrow Wilson had wives die while in office.

But Beau Biden, while not a child, had come to be highly respected as Delaware Attorney General, and serving in the Army National Guard during the Iraq War.

Beau Biden resembled his dad in appearance, and in many ways, in his zeal to serve in public life.

Beau Biden gained the emotional support of many Delaware citizens and anyone else he touched in his public life, as well as people he knew in his private life.

The public response to his death, with the potential for his future lost forever, hit many Americans very hard, including this author, who thought of the tragic death of others in public service in their 40s, all of whom were much more consequential than Biden was. The names of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Alexander Hamilton crossed his mind.

The question that arose is why this shock and deep mourning occurred, and the author came to the conclusion that a lot of the reaction was due not only to the good nature and great public service of Beau Biden, but the widespread love and emotional attachment of millions of Americans to Vice President Joe Biden himself.

Joe Biden is in his 43rd year of public service, and it is not only this author, but millions of others who love him, who respect him, who admire his sincerity, genuine nature, true concern and desire to do good deeds for his fellow Americans.

Joe Biden is a very rare public servant, and that is why there are still millions who hope he runs for President, knowing the odds are against him to win the nomination, were he to challenge his close friend and fellow member of the Obama Administration, former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Those of us who love and admire Joe Biden know he would make a great President, but that he is one of many good people, past and present, who cannot, likely, be elected President of the United States, a distinguished list.

Instead, it now seems likely that Joe Biden will end his 44 years of public service in January 2017, with the total admiration and respect of millions. The loss of his beloved son, Beau, and his own sense that it might be wise to give his family time to share the rest of his time on earth at age 74, have certainly sobered any desire to fight for the White House.

In a sense, Joe Biden saw the eulogies and deep mourning that he will gain when, at some day in the future, he leaves us. The death of Beau Biden gave us that dress rehearsal!

37 comments on “What Beau Biden’s Death Shows About Joe Biden And The American People

  1. Max June 9, 2015 10:28 pm

    I despise Biden’s policies, and I really think he is not at all bright. That said, no man deserves to go through what he has gone through. The death of his first wife and daughter in a car accident and now the death of his son. May he find his peace.

  2. Ronald June 9, 2015 10:43 pm

    Max, you can “despise” Joe Biden’s policies,but to say he is not bright says a lot about your lack of understanding what being “smart” is.

    I assume you think that most of the Republican candidates are “bright”, that George W. Bush was “bright”, and even that Ronald Reagan was “bright”, when he was far from that.

    In general, the Democratic Presidential nominees and winners have been far brighter in their intelligence and in their records in office than Republican nominees and winners in the past half century.

    Carter and Bill Clinton were brighter, whether you liked their policies in office.

    The last “bright” GOP President was Richard Nixon, while all Democrats who ran for President, from Humphrey to McGovern to Mondale to Dukakis to Gore to Kerry to Obama were smarter than Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain and Romney.

  3. Max June 9, 2015 11:19 pm

    I was talking about Biden and he just doesn’t seem bright. He has been wrong on foreign policy on almost every issue. As a matter of fact I don’t think a lot of our political class is bright at all. Lindsey Graham, John McCain, McConnell, Boehner and the rest of these establishment Republicans aren’t that bright either, and Obama I may add is not only grateful about that fact but very lucky (and unfortunate for the nation) to have governed practically without a serious established opposition party. In general our establishment class isn’t bright. After all they are destroying the Golden Goose. In general America have become less bright. But I digress. The fall of Rome did not occur August 24, 410 but generations before that, when the Romans forgot what it meant to be Roman. Some if not too many Americans seem to have forgotten what it means to be an American.

  4. Ronald June 10, 2015 6:33 am

    I was not aware of this “letter”.

    I would not sign such a letter, as I would put myself neither in this “camp” nor in the “camp” of the Advanced Placement changes, as I believe in an individual approach to American history, which promotes nationalism and patriotism, but also is willing to accept the reality of conflict and negative issues as part of the American past. I do not believe in covering up the faults of the American experience.

    I am not a “flag waver”, but also not a promoter of any ideology that is looking to criticize the American experience for the sake of attacking it. I believe in promotion of the truth, as I best see it!

  5. Pragmatic Progressive June 10, 2015 8:21 am

    I very highly disagree with Max/Juan’s generalization that Americans are dumb.

  6. Ronald June 10, 2015 8:53 am

    Pragmatic Progressive, I will say that when struggling working class whites vote Republican, one has to wonder about their intelligence level, as they vote for people who pander to them on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation. And yet these Republicans do not give a damn about those they represent.

    To say Joe Biden is not bright is ridiculous, as, for instance, he said years ago that Iraq should be three separate countries, and even now, many are saying he was right.

    Joe Biden was correct on so many issues over the years, but right wingers attack him because he has more brains than many Republican candidates for President, who not only are lacking in intelligence, but also do not give a damn about average Americans, while Joe always has been committed to ordinary people who need someone who works in their interests!

  7. Pragmatic Progressive June 10, 2015 9:10 am


    Max/Juan is hinting that Democratic voters are dumb too.

  8. Max June 10, 2015 9:21 am

    I was not talking about Americans in general but of the political, economic, cultural establishment. Not your everyday American voter whether they be Democrat or Republican.

  9. Max June 10, 2015 9:23 am

    Professor I am glad to hear you believe in an individual approach to teaching American history. Standardization usual ends up in a race towards the bottom.

  10. Pragmatic Progressive June 10, 2015 10:22 am


    Americans in general are the ones who choose political leaders. Instead of complaining about it, be more politically active and vote.

  11. Max June 10, 2015 10:36 am

    Why would I give my vote to incompetent fools who will not do anything to turn around from this disastrous path both parties have taken us to? Just look at all of them, spending like drunken sailors, destroying the future of our kids with debt and more debt. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

  12. Princess Leia June 10, 2015 11:15 am

    There is absolutely NO SIMILARITY between the two political parties. To claim there is demonstrates an enormous political ignorance.

  13. Rustbelt Democrat June 10, 2015 5:18 pm

    Democrats are not perfect. I’ve not agreed 100% with everything the Obama Administration has done and at times have felt a certain level of frustration with the Administration. On some occasions I’ve disagreed with my Democratic Representative and my state’s Democratic Senator.

    That said, I’d vote for every single one of them again.

    When I look at the philosophy and overall policy positions of the Democratic Party, I find more I am in agreement with than I am in disagreement. I do not see compassion or empathy in the Republican Party’s overall policies and I think the one thing we seem very short of lately is compassion and empathy. I see a Party that would tear apart the social safety net the first chance they got. I see a Party that would attempt to flex its military muscle whenever it could and to H-E-double hockey sticks with the consequences. I see a Party that would rather keep people down than lift them up.

    Democrats might not be perfect, but at least they’re not Republicans.

  14. Ronald June 10, 2015 5:21 pm

    Rustbelt Democrat, I agree completely with what you have said here, and I have made this clear in the nearly seven years that I have been writing this blog–The Democrats, historically and now, are the party of the people, and have done so much good since the time of FDR to now!

    They could do better, of course, but the Republicans represent regression and destruction of the safety net of the New Deal and Great Society!

  15. Pragmatic Progressive June 10, 2015 5:31 pm

    Totally agree with what that article says, Southern Liberal. These people who trot out that ridiculous excuse are just looking for a ridiculous reason to justify their lack of participation in the voting process.

  16. Max June 11, 2015 6:52 pm

    In the Washington establishment politicians race in promoting the never ending and unconstitutional expansion of the power of the Federal government, the Republican establishment (RINO’s) run with a scooter while the Democrats use a Maserati. That’s the only difference. I would like to ask if anyone can show that any of the Bush administrations ,father and son, shrunk the size of the federal government in relation to the US GPD?

  17. Ronald June 11, 2015 8:34 pm

    Max, the federal government expanded under Reagan too, including the near doubling of his White House staff.

    We are NOT going to have a smaller federal government in the complex world of the 21st century, and with a rapidly growing population, so forget it!

    The state governments have, in so many cases, proved their incompetence and violation of the Constitution, and the federal government is the only level that can insure civil rights are enforced, and major issues are confronted!

  18. Max June 12, 2015 9:49 am

    Actually the the true size of government and its impact on the economy, the private sector and civil society is measured by the ratio spending to GDP. So, even with the Reagan defense buildup, which, remember, won the Cold War without firing a shot, total federal spending as a percent of GDP declined from a high of 23.5% of GDP in 1983 to 21.3% in 1988 and 21.2% in 1989. That’s a real reduction in the size of government relative to the economy of 10%, a huge achievement, specially when you consider that he had to deal with a wild spending Democrat controlled Congress and even had to fight the wild spending Republican establishment. You do remember that Congress used to have the power of the purse before Boehner gave it up a few years ago.

  19. Rustbelt Democrat June 12, 2015 3:24 pm

    LOL! Thanks for the humorous nonsense you post Max/Juan. It’s very entertaining.

  20. Max June 12, 2015 3:26 pm

    Facts seem to be humorous to some apparently…

  21. Princess Leia June 12, 2015 3:40 pm

    Nope. You’re not posting facts. You’re posting conservative lies you hear on Fox News and right-wing talk radio.

  22. Max June 12, 2015 3:46 pm

    Why are you so aggressive and insulting me by calling me a liar? I have never been aggressive to you. I don’t even watch FOX News. If you are so sure these are not facts then prove it. Make a serious argument. Please try to be serious otherwise please don’t direct your comments towards me. I really don’t have time to waste with childish arguments. Thank you.

  23. Pragmatic Progressive June 12, 2015 3:49 pm

    We progressives are the ones here making the serious arguments.

  24. Max June 12, 2015 3:57 pm


  25. Southern Liberal June 12, 2015 4:04 pm

    Bill Clinton gave us a balanced budget. Bush the 2nd ruined it.

  26. Max June 12, 2015 4:50 pm

    So? Am I defending Bush on this? As I have said before Republican establishment politicians did nothing, I repeat nothing to control the size of the Federal government. Only when we had conservative led Congress with Newt and a Democrat President with Clinton was that possible. Even with a conservative President Reagan it wasn’t possible because of the Democrat controlled Congress and the Republican establishment. In other words when the power of the purse is on conservative control history shows balancing the budget is possible, but you have to have a reasonable President , either Democrat or Republican.

  27. Southern Liberal June 12, 2015 5:40 pm

    Totally agree with the Professor. We are NOT going to have a smaller federal government. That will not work in this modern era.

  28. Princess Leia June 12, 2015 5:49 pm

    FYI: Before the Tea Party came along, Republicans compromised. With the Tea Party in control, compromise has now become a dirty word.

  29. Max June 13, 2015 8:32 am

    Leia: Actually there has been practically no compromise on behalf of the Republican establishment leadership in Washington but surrender on almost every issue to Obama’s agenda. Obamacare? First Boehner and McConnell told the people that they had no control of Congress, they had neither the House or Senate to at least pressure Obama. Ok, so conservatives gave them the House so they could actually exercise the power of the purse. And what did they tell the people then? Then when the had the chance to use the power of the purse they caved because the media was blaming them for the government shutdown, as if 100% of the government ever actually shuts down! We have a more complete shutdown of the Federal government every day after 5 pm, and weekends that we do with a government shutdown! But I digress. They told the people who put them in charge of the House,”Well we only have one half of one branch of government.” So they cowarded, acted nice and supported desperately a so called “moderate” , Romney, “because he was the only one that could win”. And of course just like with, Ford, Bush senior after raising taxes, Dole, and McCain ( and Bush W lost the popular vote I may add) Romney, lost because the conservative base stayed home. Romney won the independent vote, but he lost the base and the election. So in 2012, the conservatives gave the Republican establishment leadership the Senate. Now we are talking. They promised they would not fund Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Order. But they did. Even before the newly elected Congress was sworn in Boehner and McConnell conspired behind the people’s back and together with Reid and Pelosi approved the Cromnibus Spending Bill, effectively funding not only Obamacare, but Amnesty, thus tying the hands of the newly elected Congress for a year. So this Republican leadership did not compromised but gave Obama practically everything he wanted. More spending, raising the debt ceiling and thus the debt. Oh yes , I not only blame Obama and Democrats for the 16 trillion dollar debt, the Republican leadership is just as irresponsible as the Democrats. They also raised taxes, caved on Executive Amnesty and now with the Iranian deal surrendered effectively the Treaty powers. No longer must the President seek 2/3 of the Senator for consent, but the Senators must seek 2/3 to NOT give consent! So you are right, there is no compromise, all there is is complete surrender. Reagan would at least get 50% if not more of what he wanted from Democrats who opposed everything he sent to Congress, including his budget.

  30. Ronald June 13, 2015 12:49 pm

    Max, do you work for the Koch Brothers or Fox News Channel or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Michael Savage?

    If not, you certainly should, as you have just given the biggest load of BS imaginable–a totally distorted view of reality as per the Tea Party whackos, who want to take us back to the GIlded Age, before the Progressive Era and TR and all of the great changes in the past century since, with detours in the 1920s, the Reagan years and the Bush II era!

    I do not understand how people like you think, how your brain is wired, as it is amazing to me the propaganda that you spew forth!

    God forbid what you wish ever returns, as that is the downfall of America and the whole 20th century series of reforms, which now we must fight for all over again, because of reactionary views such as yours!

  31. Max June 13, 2015 1:04 pm

    Have I mentioned the Gilded Age???? And the 20’s and 80’s detour from what????? Your analysis is very odd. You make general accusations yet I see no data contradicting what I have written. Did or did not Boehner and McConnell pass the Cromnibus Bill which added spending and did or did not the Republican leadership raise our debt? Have they not agreed to raise taxes? Have they not funded Obamacare? Have they not funded Obama’s Executive Order granting Amnesty? Do we or do we not have over $16 trillion in debt? And has not $6 trillion of that debt been acquired since Obama took office? And have not the Republicans leadership collaborated with those increases? I just don’s see how this can in any way shape or form be considered propaganda. And what’s with the FOX News, Rush etc thing? I am none of them. Have you ever seen me , when I disagree with some of your post , say you spew MSNBC propaganda?? Of course not. That would be a childish argument and only demonstrate I would have no data to refute some of your positions. I believe this is not how a civilized discourse is supposed to be carried out if you don’t mind me saying so.

  32. Ronald June 13, 2015 1:43 pm

    The point is, Max, any responsible government must deal with the deficit, with funding, with the issues that exist. The Republican leadership has put bottle necks in the way of EVERYTHING Obama has wished to do, and they have continued to show their goal is to give more tax cuts to the rich; cut the safety net; prevent any effective regulation of corporations in the public interest; undermine working people; ignore the racial problems in this nation; block any appointments possible of our President, etc

    The GOP is a reactionary force which has managed to bamboozle voters in many backward states who understand the race issue they invoke, so vote for them despite the fact that the working white class is being victimized by the people who say they are out for their interests, when they are not!

    And the House of Representatives is so gerrymandered that despite the greater number of votes for Democrats, they cannot control the House.

    Meanwhile, the reactionary billionaires and Wall Street benefit at the expense of all of us!

  33. Max June 13, 2015 2:52 pm

    Of course government has to deal with funding, but it has to be responsible. And there is no way that our federal government, our politicians were in any way responsible. Tell in what way has the power and size of government in the economy, its overwhelming shadow and dictates over the civil society, not shrunk but even stayed the same? It never has! Its power and spending just keep growing and growing. Today our federal government as a percentage of GDP is around 22% of GDP and rising. Total government , federal, state and local is around 35% of GDP and rising. And I know the left will not stop until it reaches European socialist levels of around 45-50% of GDP. That is where the politicians are taking us, Democrats faster that Republicans. And that is irresponsible. You want to know why? Because historically our revenues , whether the top rate was 70% , 28% or 39% , was around 18% of GDP +- 2%, and our federal spending around 19%-20% of GDP , meaning that to fund a government that is 45% of GDP the federal government would have to collect revenues from the private sector equivalent to at least 43% of GDP! That is insane. And that is where these politicians in Washington want to take us.

  34. Ronald June 13, 2015 3:48 pm

    So you prefer our state governments to do the job that you wish to take away from the federal government, correct, Max?

    Do you have any idea how horrible state governments have been over the long haul, failing to deal with the problems and issues of the nation, and much more corrupt than the national government has ever been?

    Do you like the performance of state governments, particularly those run by Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, et al, while in Minnesota under Mark Dayton, as an example, we have a state government which should be a model for others? But even so, state governments are mostly incompetent and inadequate to the extreme, and we need the federal government to keep control over the abuses in the states.

    We need government in modern society to deal with a host of issues, and ONLY the federal government historically has dealt with those issues well, even if there are faults. I do not trust state governments as an historian who knows the miserable record they have had, and even more so, in the South and Great Plains and Mountain West, the GOP strongholds!

  35. Princess Leia June 13, 2015 6:51 pm

    No, Max/Juan. That is total BS. The Republicans haven’t surrendered. They’ve said “No” to everything.

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