John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, wherever he is, must be rolling over in his grave.
The crusty Texan was one of three men who served as vice president during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. He said famously that his office – and this is the cleaned-up version of what he actually said – wasn’t “worth a bucket of warm spit.”
Cactus Jack, meet one of your political descendants, Vice President Joe Biden, who has suddenly become a player in the latest drama to envelop Washington, D.C. Biden has been negotiating with his old Senate buddy, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and as Politico is reporting (see link above) the men apparently have made significant progress toward avoiding the so-called “fiscal cliff” that so many in DC say they want to avoid.
Biden and McConnell go back a ways together. Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972. McConnell came along in 1984. They served together for 24 years before Biden was elected vice president in 2008. I don’t know this as fact, but my hunch is that they’re actual friends, not the phony friends that politicians describe each other just to make nice in public.
McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been unable to breach the divide. Enter the vice president, who apparently worked with McConnell overnight to forge some sort of compromise dealing on tax rates for the rich. The word is that the White House and the Senate have closed the gap significantly between their respective definitions of who is rich.
This is what friendship can do for the cause of good government. It remains to be seen as of this morning whether a deal will be finalized and approved by both houses of Congress.
But if comes to pass and we avoid this fiscal calamity by the end of today, I’m half expecting Cactus Jack to rise up out of the ground in Uvalde, Texas, and light a stogie in Joe Biden’s honor.