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A Look At Joe Biden's Tech Voting Record 603

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-did-he-invent-the-internet? dept.
Aviran brings us an analysis of Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden's voting record on technology issues. CNet breaks down the issues by category and provides details on the tech-related legislation he's introduced in the past several years. Biden received a score of 37.5% on CNet's 2006 technology voter guide. We've discussed the technology stances of McCain and Obama in the past.
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A Look At Joe Biden's Tech Voting Record

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  • Why... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:59AM (#24726221)

    Why did Biden vote against the FISA bill, the one where Obama voted for? You know, the one that granted telecoms immunity against criminal prosecution.

  • Change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:01AM (#24726239) Homepage

    How can a candidate running on a base of "change" justify picking a VP who has been in DC for 30+ years?

    The only thing "changing" in January is the position DC is fucking me in...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Delwin (599872) *
      VP doesn't set policy - they're the left hand of the President. Obama needed a strong 'experience' and 'foreign policy' answer to make it through the campaign, so he picked one.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        The Dan Quayles and Al Gores don't do shit except go to state funerals. The Dick Cheneys and Joe Bidens are the man behind the curtain.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by wisty (1335733)
          He does seem a bit of an activist - trying to make the government solve peoples problems. A billion dollars to snoop on p2p sounds like big government to me. On the other hand, he has done a lot to protect people from violence, both domestic and abroad. Intervention is a good stance to take on violent crimes, but a bad way to run the internet.
        • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:46AM (#24726533) Homepage
          Al Gore was actually one of the most active Veeps of the 20th century. He was responsible for the whole 'reinventing government' project that changed the way a lot of the civil service worked to make it more responsive to the Clinton agenda. Now Gore was nowhere as hands on as Cheney, but that is a unique situation, we are not going to see another President as weak as W. Bush for decades, if then. Cheney is the reason that Obama could not risk Hilary: her expectation for the veep role could have been a serious liability. Obama clearly does not intend to have a co-presidency. Now the source of the article has to be considered here: Declan McCullagh, who admits having been the author of the 'Al Gore claims to invent Internet' smear. The way he created that story was that he first published an article in Wired news where he took the quote out of context, then shopped it to his Girlfriend at Cato and Newt Gingrich's office. Then replaced his original story with one that eliminated his fingerprints on the matter. In this story, Declan claims that Obama surrogate Danny Weitzner was involved in a controversy, what he does not mention is that what he calls a controversy is that he was not allowed to attend a W3C workshop that was invitation only, off the record and no-press. I was an attendee at that workshop and certainly could not have given the presentation I gave if press was present and would not have attended if McCullagh was going to be present to twist the proceedings to his own personal agenda. And we have yet another Declan twist here, the C-Net voter guide - I wonder who wrote the criteria? Oh, what a suprise! Declan - again. So what this sorry story is presenting as comment from others on Biden is in fact two links to other articles written by Declan.
      • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_skywise (189793) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:15AM (#24726309)
        Yeah it's not like Cheney ever set policy...

        /sarcasm.

        Remember also that part of the point of a VP choice is that they'll be the ones running for President after the President's term ends.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by thegnu (557446)

          Yeah it's not like Cheney ever set policy...

          /sarcasm.

          Remember also that part of the point of a VP choice is that they'll be the ones running for President after the President's term ends.

          which is why Dick Cheney is the GOP nominee.
          /sarcasm

          • And which is why many in the GOP are upset because it created a power vacuum in the party over the last 4 years.

            Still doesn't change the fact that VP's can and do set policy.

      • Re:Change (Score:5, Interesting)

        by penix1 (722987) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @01:29PM (#24727325) Homepage

        VP doesn't set policy - they're the left hand of the President. Obama needed a strong 'experience' and 'foreign policy' answer to make it through the campaign, so he picked one.

        The VP most certainly does set policy especially considering he is the one who carries a tie breaking vote in the Senate. He is the only person in the Executive Branch that has direct voting power in the legislative. Given the lame duck Senate we have today, that tie breaker vote does set policy.

        • Re:Change (Score:5, Interesting)

          by NevermindPhreak (568683) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @04:09PM (#24728989)

          Seriously, a tie-breaking vote only ever comes up about once a year [wikipedia.org]. It's barely ever an issue, considering how many votes congress passes.

          And congress is only lame duck because Neo-conservatives have set an all-time record for filibusters, and because Bush will veto everything the Dems do get through. They're trying to cause what seems like a shutdown of Congress, and then blame the Dems for it -- and the public is completely buying it. I tried to argue this same point to someone else, and was only met with the response "no, it's because the Democrats are a bunch of useless idiots." That's almost word for word, and it represents way too many people's thought processes.

    • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kannibal_klown (531544) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:15AM (#24726315)

      I'll admit, I really doubt anything will "change" with Obama in office. All politicians talk of change and yet it's the same thing every administration.

      In this case, we can't complain too much. The US VP does very little in the government. Some even say it's a joke position. He gets a vote in Congress, and has a lead position at NASA and the Smithsonian. Beyond that he has little power.

      The one thing the VP can do for him is serve as an advisor.

      Some people like that Obama is new, others think he lacks enough experience. By putting someone high profile in his camp that has experience, the nay-sayers can relax.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScentCone (795499)
        the nay-sayers can relax

        Even if they high profile guy in question has specifically said that he doesn't think Obama is ready to be president? The inescapable implication is that he (Biden) thinks that only because of his presence can Obama handle the job. Or, that Obama still can't handle the job, but that's OK, because he'll do it for him, etc. This is all just a sign of Obama's awakening to the fact that he's way over his inexperienced head, here.
        • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sleigher (961421) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:51AM (#24726567)
          I suppose Reagan, and Clinton for that matter, were fully experienced and ready to take the helm from the moment they took office. All this talk of experience is driving me nuts. I imagine there are very few who are actually ready for the stress and have the depth necessary to be the president. Certainly no one in the current running. However when someone becomes elected, they are surrounded by people with all sorts of experience in many different fields. This is how a president is successful, by surrounding themselves with the right advisers. You think because McCain was beaten in Vietnam that he is somehow more qualified to be the President? I get he has been in the Senate longer, but that is NOT presidential experience.
          • Re:Change (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @01:20PM (#24727251) Homepage

            The most important thing about a president is to recognize that that person is a figurehead. The transition from Nixon to Ford changed the president from being a colorful driving person to a gray eminence - but on the other hand, it was probably a good idea to not stand out too much after the Watergate event.

            Personally I think that the government of the US has been overdoing it's way after 9/11 by being far too paranoid. This with a no-fly list that also traps innocent people (at least innocent of terrorism, they may have other things to be guilty about, but that's a different issue) just because they happen to have the same name as another person suspected of involvement with terrorism.

            The big problem with McCain will be that a lot of the advisors and other people behind the scene will remain the same or continue in the same tracks as before. A change of government party will at least shave off a bit and also make some people think twice before acting.

            It's very easy for a state to grow into a police state. Just be aware about the laptop searches and a lot of other things that will affect many of us. It's called democracy but sometimes I start to doubt it when I hear and see what is going on. Laws are made to be used as excuses for actions that were unthinkable 20 years ago. (Patriot act, DMCA...)

            And if nothing else - you can always call on the pedophile scare and blow the reputation of a person completely.

            So even if Obama has his faults he also have the advantage of being flexible and relatively unblemished by scandals. Experience is something you build by time, but by selecting Joe Biden he will have someone that's really experienced behind him.

            As for Hillary Clinton, I suspect that she can do a good work in another prominent position, like secretary of state. But that has of course to be decided after the election, given that Obama is elected.

            For McCain it's also likely that he will only be in office for one term, but it's of course not certain. His age is a disadvantage here, and even if he is healthy now (or at least appears to be) things can deteriorate quickly at his age.

            And Obama is also running the risk of being a one term president, mostly since there are a lot of cleaning to do after Bush. A lot of uncomfortable decisions to make, and a lot of people to piss off. I have a suspicion that there will be changes when it comes to taxes to clean up the shortcomings of the Iraq events. It's not a task that I would like to have on my desk, but some things just have to be done. Maybe he should hire Mike Rowe and make a Dirty Jobs episode of it? :-)

            And regardless of who becomes president - you will have to accept that that person can embarrass himself on some occasions. But don't let that be something to decide who to vote for, just accept it and let it be a good joke afterwards. Like someone said about the Lewinsky affair - "I'd rather have my president happy than frustrated".

          • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @02:38PM (#24727985) Homepage Journal

            McCain's Vietnam experience does show grit and character, but your main point is sound.

            Obama is not qualified. McCain is not qualified. Nobody who has a chance of getting to run is qualified.

            There's a science fiction story called "2066: Election Day" by Michael Shaara. In it, the master computer chooses the President, because the voters have proven to do such a bad job. It is programmed to select the "best qualified man". The story hinges on a constitutional crisis that came up because the programmers coded "best qualified man" not as the expected "Select max(qualified) from candidates" but as "select max(good) from candidates where qualified=true". The computer refused to select a President.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zeinfeld (263942)
          Even if they high profile guy in question has specifically said that he doesn't think Obama is ready to be president? The inescapable implication is that he (Biden) thinks that only because of his presence can Obama handle the job. Or, that Obama still can't handle the job, but that's OK, because he'll do it for him, etc. This is all just a sign of Obama's awakening to the fact that he's way over his inexperienced head, here.

          Bill Clinton pointed out the other day that there is absolutely nothing that can

        • Re:Change (Score:4, Insightful)

          by vitaflo (20507) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @01:14PM (#24727175) Homepage

          "Even if they high profile guy in question has specifically said that he doesn't think Obama is ready to be president? The inescapable implication is that he (Biden) thinks that only because of his presence can Obama handle the job. Or, that Obama still can't handle the job, but that's OK, because he'll do it for him, etc. This is all just a sign of Obama's awakening to the fact that he's way over his inexperienced head, here."

          Or, he was just saying that to win the primaries. He is, at the end of the day, still a politician. Everyone tried to paint Obama as young and inexperienced, a risk, and it didn't work. To read anymore into it, I think it a bit foolish.

        • Re:Change (Score:5, Interesting)

          by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @10:29PM (#24732027) Homepage

          Alternate theory: I read a book recently, called "Team of Rivals", about Abraham Lincoln's presidency. This is a book that Obama claims has influenced him heavily, especially his vision for his own presidency.

          Lincoln could have chosen yes-men for his cabinet. Inexperienced men would be grateful for their positions, and feel less qualified to disagree with their boss. Instead, he gave very prominent positions (State, Treasury, War, etc.) to the very men he had defeated in the Republican nomination fight. Lincoln, having served only one term in the House, was about as inexperienced as presidents came. For much of his first term, critics within his own party consoled themselves with the false assumption that the Secretary of State was actually pulling the strings.

          All that infighting led to quite a few ego-driven disputes that Lincoln had to step in and resolve. It also led to an atmosphere where doubts were aired, and where issues got brought up and resolved before decisions were made.

          The fact is, Obama knew full well that tapping an experienced, opinionated foreign policy wonk with decades more senate experience would highlight his inexperience. If he was feeling really insecure, he could have gone with a one-termer like Tom Kaine or Jim Webb. If he wanted to surround himself with yes-men, he could find a VP whose views more closely mirrored his own. I hope Obama really does try to build a Lincolnish presidency, where the (sometimes very public) infighting usually led to better choices.

          Biden seems like a good start.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)

        No, Bush promised to "change the tone in Washington", and he sure did. To the tone of a trainwreck under Godzilla's claws.

        Mainly by letting Cheney run the country (into the ground), while Bush took the "hard work" of being the Republican power monopoly's spokesmodel, "catapulting the propaganda" [youtube.com].

        What we need to get from the next VP is a commitment, from them or from the president, that they will burn down the Cheney Bunker. No Republican would ever do such a thing to their most powerful "legacy". We have to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ageoffri (723674)
      Pretty easy to justify picking an old school Democrat for VP in this case. Obama through many of his choices and the GOP questioning of his experience had a choice to either balance his ticket or go all out change. No matter what he chose he was going to have problems with one group of his supporters or another.

      Now he can say that while he lacks national level leadership experience he has a close source of advice that is hard to beat. I think that this choice is going to turn out more neutral then anythi

      • Re:Change (Score:5, Funny)

        by hamburger lady (218108) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @12:11PM (#24726695)

        also, biden as VP forces mccain's hand. the christian right has made it very clear that mccain's toast if he picks a pro-choice VP. now with biden as obama's VP, mccain has to pick someone who won't get beaten to a bloody pulp in a debate against biden.

        also, mccain needs someone who puts forth an aura of youth to counteract the fact that he's a fossil, and since mccain is getting beaten bloody on this whole confused-rich-guy-who-can't-even-remember-how-many-houses-he-lives-in thing, someone with solid middle-class credentials.

        so mccain needs to find a young, anti-abortion middle-class outsider who can go toe-to-toe with joe biden in a debate. good luck with that one.

        • Re:Change (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @12:49PM (#24726985) Journal

          McCain needs to find a young, anti-abortion middle-class outsider who can go toe-to-toe with joe biden in a debate. good luck with that one.

          and if he is really smart about it; he sould pick a woman. That will really take "change" votes away from Borate Obama.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      How can a company founded in 1946 like Sony pretend to develop new products ?
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:05AM (#24726259)

    Do Senators exist who can open a laptop without assistance and actually avoid drooling on the keyboard?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:06AM (#24726265)

    "By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP."

    That's the original post title and post by Aviran that's merely alluded to here... why the need to neutralize it? Would you have neutralized it for a Republican candidate?

  • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:08AM (#24726273)
    FTA: ...which the EFF says he was "persuaded" to do by the FBI.

    Interesting. Is there a J. Edgar Hover wannabe there? Or is it just the current climate with this administration.

    the trouble with this is, even though Obama would be the President if elected, Biden would be President of the Senate. So if there's a tie breaker for or against something that would further deteriorate our Civil Liberties, I can only assume Biden would vote in favor of less freedom. And if that should some to pass, maybe Obama would veto it. Then again, maybe not. This country is on a path of safety overrides freedom every time. I have lost hope.

    • by slutsker (804955) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:15AM (#24726319) Homepage

      No, as President of the Senate he will always vote the way the Obama Administration wants him to - this is how all Vice Presidents have voted in the past.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Blaming a tie breaker solely on the person who breaks the tie is a little wacky.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:27AM (#24726401)

      We have lost more freedoms than ever under Republican administrations and this user seems to question the ability of Obama/Biden before they even get a chance - as if its the democrats fault we're in this shit hole we're in today (or as if the parent accepts this shit hole as conservative progress)

      Tell me ONE law, ONE goal, ONE ambition of the Obama/Biden ticket that will make "safety override freedom every time".

      Obama/Biden isn't Clinton politics.

      * Going Green is energy policy
      * Creating Green jobs is Economic Policy
      * Having a right hand mand to fill in the "DC politics" greed that voters will (for what reason i don't know) expect is a BOON.
      * Healthcare is a great policy - a social insurance program that could have been funded for every human being if we hadn't been hell bent on WAR

      I could go on and on what Obama/Biden can do for us but to people like you, its only what you assume they will do against you without regards for your fellow neighbors, countrymen and US citizens.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can't believe you honestly believe there's a difference between Republicans and Democrats despite all evidence to the contrary.

        Tell me ONE law, ONE goal, ONE ambition of the Obama/Biden ticket that will make "safety override freedom every time".

        Too easy. [barackobama.com] Try another.

        Have the Democrats got us out of Iraq after pledging to do so? NO!
        Have the Democrats passed any laws that increased our freedoms? NO!
        Have the Democrats ever passed any laws that increased freedom? NO!

        Voting either Repulcrat or Democan is voting for politics-as-usual and no change, no matter what pretty-boy Obama says. When's the last time you saw a politicia

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by QuoteMstr (55051)

          Even if he does nothing else, Obama will raise taxes on the rich. This will have two beneficial effects:

          1. Slow the hemorrhaging of money out of the country
          2. Decrease the income inequality that's skyrocketed during the Clinton and (especially) Bush eras. Our gini index has gone up considerably, and those chickens need to come home.

          That said, I believe Obama represents a far bigger and more beneficial change than you seem to see. But even if he does only what you believe he'll do, it'll be a good thing.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:20AM (#24726339) Homepage Journal

    Everyone has bias. Everyone.

    The problem with voting records is not always apparent when you look at them and try to decide if someone is good for an industry or not. Industries are too complicated for any law to be truly pro or against the industry. Tech is especially so.

    For me, the best voting record for a candidate is proven by those who halted BAD legislation by not just voting against more government intrusions into the market, but also worked to hold up bad bills from leaving committees. My favorite legislators are those who just shut down most bills before they're even really bills. The legislative committees is where the best work is done, or the worst work is done.

    This is why I fully believe our campaign finance laws are to blame when it comes to voting records. Since the individual is greatly limited in who they can support, and how, it is always the large lobbying groups that end up writing the laws. McCain and Feingold knew this, and they knew that limiting the voice of the individual would end up limiting the power of the individual.

    To wrap up, trying to look at voting records is bad because most of the work is done before the vote is even considered. We have no power, as individuals, to try to work in that process. The lobbying groups, which are always about MORE legislation to destroy competition and never LESS, are cozied up very nicely: to Obama, to Biden, to McCain, to whoever it is who is elected, might be elected, or was elected. And on that, all of them have terrible voting records which do nothing but restrict competition in every market they touch.

    • by jaiyen (821972) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:45AM (#24726525)

      I guess we'd better hope voting records don't mean much, as it seems Biden is a firm friend of the *AA's

      NEW YORK -- Joe Biden may have made his name in foreign relations in 32 years in the Senate, but his efforts against piracy have won him respect in Hollywood.

      Biden was named Saturday as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's running mate. The Delaware senator has got a long list of credentials, including chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, membership on the Senate Judiciary Committee and experience on the world stage lacking in the top of the ticket. But the 64-year-old Scranton, Pa., native has been a strong advocate for U.S. intellectual property rights and an ardent soldier in the fight against piracy.

      As a founding member of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, Biden has helped the lead the fight against countries such as China, Russia, Mexico and India that need stronger copyright protections.

      "When somebody holds you up on the street and takes your wallet, we call it robbery," Biden said in May 2007. "And when somebody steals your idea and creation, we call it theft, plain and simple." The MPA has lauded the work of the anti-piracy caucus as being essential to motivating the government to action.

      (From http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i67f2ad037eba0dd6e4821ce39ce827a3?imw=Y [hollywoodreporter.com])

    • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:55AM (#24726593)

      more government intrusions into the market

      How can you profess to be impartial when you use loaded language like that? Government intervention in markets is a good thing unless you like all your telephones rented from AT&T, or antifreeze in your toothpaste.

      You're dead-on about lobbying groups, however. Most of them are corporate shills. Then again, consider the EFF.

  • by JoshJ (1009085) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:23AM (#24726367) Journal

    Biden wasn't nominated the VP because of his tech voting record. Just look at what the Democrats are talking about- Iraq, the economy, healthcare, the housing crisis, etc. Net Neutrality is barely on the radar, and you can be assured that NN isn't going to get a vote in the next two years (unless someone piles it in an omnibus) even with a Democratic majority.

    Biden is a tactical choice to try to win the election; not a choice of "who would actually make the best VP once we win". All you have to do to realize that is watch Biden's acceptance speech, where he smacked the hell out of McCain. Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on politically; that "seven kitchen tables" line was gold. That's what Biden is there for- to attack McCain (and McCain's VP choice) while Obama is above the fray.

    VPs are chosen as an attempt to win elections, not as an attempt to pick the best man for the job.

    • by gtall (79522)

      While I think you are correct that VPs are chosen to swing elections, I doubt they have ever swung an election. Their best use is as a bird dog. Want to find out if something will fly, sent in the VP with a speech. If it bombs, the VP takes it in the neck and you can move on to the next issue your pollsters say you believe this week. If it does fly, then you quickly take the credit by giving a speech putting your VP's speech "in context" and claiming victory with honor...errr..or whatever passes for politic

      • by JoshJ (1009085) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:40AM (#24726485) Journal
        Well, selecting a VP from state X as an attempt to win the state is almost never going to work- the election would have to be extremely close in that state for it to matter, there's just not enough people who will vote for the local guy as VP. (Remember, Gore didn't even win his own state in 2000 and he was running for President!) However, a VP selection can and does impact the outcome of the election by way of the campaign being able to launch attacks without the Presidential candidate being seen as the "attacker". This is quite important if the other side goes negative, as is the case here. I will say though, a VP nod can hurt a lot more than it can help. See: Clinton, Hillary. (Lesson to the Republicans: going negative every election gets really old, really fast; and doing it when your candidate is absurdly rich will burn you the instant you make a mistake.)
  • If the only alternative is McCain and $haircut, then Obama and LITERALLY WHOEVER gets my vote.

    This is the power and the glory of the two party system at work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mkcmkc (197982)

      If the only alternative is McCain and $haircut, then Obama and LITERALLY WHOEVER gets my vote.

      This is the power and the glory of the two party system at work.

      You should note that when you vote for the (slightly) lesser of two evils, you are voting for the two-party system by doing so.

  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:49AM (#24726551) Homepage

    All of them voted for the I-CAN-SPAM Act, except Obama. Obama didn't vote for the I-CAN-SPAM Act because he was not there to vote for it.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @11:54AM (#24726585) Homepage Journal

    When FISA came to a vote as HR.6308 [senate.gov] on July 9, 2008, Biden voted against it, Obama voted for it.

  • by Mark_in_Brazil (537925) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @12:18PM (#24726767)
    Oh noes! The Democratic vice presidential candidate only got a 37.5 rating from the CNet technolgy voter guide.

    Here are a couple of basic facts omitted by the submitter: Obama got a 50.00% rating and McCain got a 31.25% rating.

    Given that that information was available via two clicks on the same page that yielded Biden's rating, and given that the positions of the presidential candidates is a lot more important than the positions of the VP candidates, one has to wonder why the submitter didn't find those details worth mentioning.

    Additionally, Obama made it very clear before he announced his choice of Biden that he wanted a VP candidate who would engage him in discussions about issues, disagree with him, and challenge his assumptions. Here's an example, in Obama's own words:

    Let me tell you first what I won't do. I won't hand over my energy policy to my vice president, without knowing necessarily what he's doing. I wont have my vice president engineering my foreign policy for me. The buck will stop with me, because I will be the president. My vice president, also by the way my vice president also will be a member of the executive branch, he won't be one of these 4th branches of government where he thinks he's above the law. But here's what I do want from my vice president, I want somebody who has integrity, who's in politics for the right reasons, I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, 'you know what, Mr. President, I think you're wrong on this and here's why' and will give me (applause) who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That's the first criteria for vice president. And the final thing is I want a [vice] president who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now. I want someone who is not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who is mad right now, that people are losing their jobs. And is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline, and want to rebuild the middle class in this country. That's the kind of person that I want; somebody who in their gut knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.

    I apologize if this reduces the number of McCain troll points [johnmccain.com] for somebody interested in getting some McCain campaign schwag.

    I added the bold text for emphasis in the Obama quote above.

    Another thing: a voting record is useful for evaluating a congresscritter, but not via a simple number. It requires more careful analysis. This is because a congressvarmints will sometimes vote for positions he opposes when the defeat of those positions is assured, but the positions are popular with the congressvarmint's constituents (or the opposite: vote against a position he supports when passage is assured without his vote). And while both members of the House of Representatives and Senators both do that, Senators have yet another trick because of the existence of the filibuster in the Senate. An example is Senator Joe Lieberman, who voted with the Republicans for cloture (i.e., to end the Democratic filibuster) on the nomination of Samuel Alito the Supreme Court. Since it was known that the Republicans had enough votes to rubber-stamp Bush's nomination of Alito, the vote that mattered was the cloture vote. After that, Lieberman cast his vote against confirming Alito, so he could tell the voters in Connecticut, an overwhelmingly Democratic state, that he had voted against Alito. If you were just to look at the confirmation vote, you might think Lieberman had been against confirming Alito, but on the vote that mattered, he voted with the Republicans.

    • I just noticed that the top-scoring Republican on the CNet tech voter guide page is "Senator George Allen." Wha? Jim Webb beat him 2 years ago and has been serving in the Senate since January of 2007. So that made me look more carefully. This is a 2006 voter guide. So the numbers may have changed a lot since the page was created.
      John McCain could have a COMPLETELY different rating by now, because there's almost no substantive issue on which he hasn't reversed his position at least once in the last ten
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @12:27PM (#24726825) Journal

    There are legitimate reasons to vote against Internet gambling. There are legitimate reasons to vote against H1B visas. There are legitimate reasons to vote against free trade with China.

    CNet is a news site. It shouldn't try to push a political agenda, even one that it thinks its audience shares.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @02:26PM (#24727873) Homepage

    ... that makes Biden [wikipedia.org] the President of the Senate [wikipedia.org]. So if there is a tie in the Senate [wikipedia.org], he gets to break the tie [wikipedia.org], as Cheney [wikipedia.org] has done 8 times so far. What we need is enough pro-technology senators to ensure this doesn't happen. Still, he will be able to do a lot of damage with his powers to control the agenda. So what Obama [wikipedia.org] needs to do is keep him busy on foreign affairs trips, sending him overseas, to keep him away from the Senate so the President pro tempore [wikipedia.org] can take control.

  • Lame, lame, lame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @02:45PM (#24728051)

    This anti-tech/pro-tech chart is stupid and arbitrary.

    According to the cnet's chart, anyone that's against piracy is anti-tech? Anyone that's for anti-porn filters in shcools is anti-tech? Complete bullshit. I'm sure almost everyone that voted for DCMA and internet filters consider themselves pro-tech, and have reasonable arguments despite being in disagreement with slashdot doctrine.

    Same goes for most of the other bills that cnet arbitrarily decided would represent "tech" and arbitrarily decided whether yes or no on each issue was pro or anti tech.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday August 24, 2008 @03:01PM (#24728209)

    That is probably the biggest issue facing tech workers.

    I know where McCain stands. McCain wants to rip the lid off any kind of a guest worker cap.

    I get the idea that Obama wants to do the same, but Obama is not as brazen about it.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  • And one of the most striking experiences of my political existence was listening to Biden deliver a speech only days after 9/11. I was a member of the Green party at that point as well as a college labor rights group. We'd made signs talking about how we were paying the Afghanistan government over $1 billion a year to stop drugs. We figured, being a senator, he'd just forget to mention it. Instead, he gave a 10 minute lecture on how the state of things came to be, including the billions in funding.

    Biden is the chair of the foreign relations committee and was the chair of the judiciary committee. Look at this guy's votes and actions on women's rights, gitmo, FISAA, the US's role in the UN, and Bosnia. And he knows more about these than the senator in charge of commerce knows about "tubes".

    Biden's first and foremost a diplomat (a strong internationalist...not a "coalition of the willing" kind of guy) and defender of civil rights/liberties -- Jesse Jackson even went on record saying his "clean" comment regarding Obama didn't make him a racist because of his strong leadership on the issue in the past. He's not well educated on tech law, but -- be honest -- how many of you could tell me who the president of Georgia was before this recent fiasco? Biden knows him on a first-name basis. Because that's his job and I dare say he does it well.

    As a geek, tech is important, but isn't foreign policy and the US standing in the world more important this election? If you had a choice between hiring an expert in one or the other this election, which would you choose?

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