Beyond Biden’s Words: Guilt and Shame?

So, Joe Biden wasn’t the most charming of men last night. Most folks, liberals and conservatives, seem to agree on that point at least.

As for why he failed so badly in the “winning hearts and minds” category, well perhaps the grin and the smirk, the laughter and eye-rolling, the interrupting and the bloviating was all about nerves. Perhaps it was bad debate coaching. Or perhaps it was just him.

On that last count, I sincerely hope not. Mostly because, if that’s really who Joe Biden is, it frightens me to think that someone so unbalanced is just a heartbeat away from the nuclear football. Also, however, I hope that’s not who he really is because it can’t be fun for anyone to go through life bloviating and blustering to such a semi-maniacal degree.

Regardless, I feel for Joe Biden. And not just because of whatever skit SNL is going to concoct based on last night’s performance.

Rather, I feel for him because after last night I’m starting to believe that underneath all that blundering and blustering is a man who knows the wrong he’s done by supporting the Democrat’s unwavering commitment to abortion on demand, and who actually feels guilty about it…deep, deep down.

You wouldn’t know that by his words, of course. You can read the transcript of what he had to say on abortion last night here. It ain’t pretty.

You also wouldn’t know that by his actions. Ever since Biden switched sides on the abortion issue, he has been an unfailingly solid pro-abortion vote in the Senate.

No, in both word and deed, nothing about Joe Biden seems to suggest anything other than a happy pro-abortion warrior, merrily towing the Planned Parenthood line.

But bodies have a way of speaking a language that is often more true than words. And last night, when asked about abortion, Joe Biden’s body language didn’t indicate that he was a happy warrior. His tone shifted radically when the question came up, losing the anger and bluster, and never regaining it. His eyes repeatedly shifted downward and blinked rapidly. He stuttered and struggled through the answer, expressing none of the aggressive confidence he’d demonstrated throughout the night.

If you haven’t seen it, here you go.

As my friend Rob remarked after the answer, “Didn’t anyone teach him about the body language of lying?”

Maybe Biden wasn’t lying. Maybe he feels no guilt, no shame, no inner-conflict about perpetuating the tragedy of abortion and allowing women to harm themselves, their children, and the culture through one of the saddest of all sins. Maybe the reason he did an emotional 180 is that the mickey some smart staffer had slipped in his water finally kicked in

Maybe. It’s certainly possible he feels no shame. Likely even. But I hope not. I hope the change that came over Biden after that question last night wasn’t just political maneuvering, but rather the mark of a man shaken by the truth of his opponent’s answer and his own complicity in the greatest wrong of this generation.

I don’t know Biden, but I’ve never much liked what I’ve seen. Last night, I liked what I saw even less. But I still pray for him. I still hope for him. I don’t hope that he gets to be vice-president for four more years. But I do hope that something in him is haunted by what he’s done—by what he’s doing—so that guilt will do what guilt is supposed to do: call him back to the path of truth and love.

After last night, I don’t think that hope is entirely without grounds. And that realization made an otherwise exhausting and annoying debate, well worth the watch.



  • bzelbub

    You know as a Catholic or even someone who has watched more than my fair share of debates it was nice to see someone who knows not to sit like a graven image. As for politicians who lie, we all know that as a Catholic all we have to do is confess and our sins will be forgiven. Our religion has always told us we have a BIG get out of jail free card. That said, have you ever checked into what the Mormon faith believes? I mean REALLY espouses? If you don’t mind turning the country over to a French speaking, five year draft dodging, man who belongs to a religion who has a space god, and a planet and thinks that Christ was a lesser being, go right ahead.
    Remember the other Vice President wanta be is really no better than Biden. His God for the last twenty three years has been Any Rand. Who thought all religion was sop. And a sign of mental instability. He has bragged for years about having all his staffers read her books and has only back off this year when bishops have questioned him about it. Also many people say that Ryan is such a young man. In the political world maybe but he has been honing his craft since age twenty three starting straight out of college working for Jack Kemp. So don’t let him tell you that he is from the working class. He has been in the cesspool of national politics since 1993 and has learned all he needs sucking from the national teat.

  • John Guzman Sr.

    Abort kittens and puppies not babies!

  • John Guzman Sr.

    I heard Joe Biden say that the decision to abort is between “a woman and her doctor”. Where is God in this decision Mr. Biden?

  • joycelen

    What an insult to Muslims! They are very anti abortion! But Mr. Biden would not want to admit that fact. People are crazy.

  • cheryl

    Really? You bought that act and interpret it as guilt and shame? I watched the debate and there wasn’t ANYTHING authentic or real about any of his body language or comments. It was an act, plain and simple. He was an actor on a stage and looking for a grammy with his downcast eyes and soft tone – He doesn’t believe any of it, but hopes we do. Praying the Rosary during the debate for Paul Ryan, about half way through I felt the need to pray for the soul of Joe Biden. What you witnessed is a fallen Catholic who has sold his soul to the devil for power and money.

  • Rhetor

    I agree with much of what you say. However, perhaps you should regard Biden’s negative example as a warning against expressions like “bloviating and blustering to … a semi-maniacal degree.”

    By the way, the phrase is “toeing the line,” not “towing the line.”



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