Home/Rod Dreher/Ambition Eats Joe Biden’s Conscience

Ambition Eats Joe Biden’s Conscience

Joe Biden meets the Pope in 2016 (CBS This Morning screenshot)

Joe Biden really, really wants to be president:

After two days of intense criticism, Joseph R. Biden Jr. reversed himself Thursday night on one of the issues most important to Democratic voters, saying he no longer supports a measure that bans federal funding for most abortions.

As recently as Wednesday, Mr. Biden’s campaign had said he supported the measure, known as the Hyde Amendment. His decision to change positions illustrates the intense pressure he faces as the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.

His turnaround was abrupt, particularly because Mr. Biden has grappled for decades with his views on abortion rights. While he has said he supports Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal nationwide, he has opposed members of his own party on a number of abortion measures, ascribing his reluctance to his Roman Catholic faith.

David Harsanyi’s Twitter thread on this is damning. Biden voted for the Hyde Amendment in 1976:

Because that’s what it takes to win the Democratic nomination today. As Harsanyi wrote in a January column, there’s hardly any position that Joe Biden once held that presidential aspirant Joe Biden won’t disavow. This short, fact-filled column from April tracks Biden’s evolution on the abortion issue over the years. 

Last Saturday, I saw Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Catholic Democrat, at Walker Percy Weekend. I thanked him for signing the heartbeat bill, and told him I knew that he was taking a lot of heat from his own party nationally. He replied, “You should know that the reason I signed the heartbeat bill is the same reason I did Medicaid expansion.” Edwards did this by executive order in 2016. I know, I told him; I’m not a Democrat, but you’re my kind of Democrat.

(And yes, I voted for him when he ran in 2015. Had he not been pro-life, I would not have.)

Of course he won’t go anywhere in the national Democratic Party, not like it is now, where you have to wave the bloody abortionist’s knife if you want to win your party’s nomination. Harsanyi again:


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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