Yes, Americans will miss this team

Presidents and vice presidents haven’t always had the kind of relationship that Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have developed.

Lyndon Johnson famously summoned Hubert Humphrey to the White House for a conference … while LBJ was sitting on a commode; Dwight Eisenhower once responded to a question about what Richard Nixon contributed to his administration by saying: “If you give me a week, I’ll think of something”; John Nance Garner once referred to the vice presidency as being worth “a bucket of warm piss.”

To watch the current president bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the current vice president is to witness a true friendship that doubled as a national governing partnership.

The president added a final “with distinction” honor to the presentation, noting that such an honor is bestowed only rarely. He noted that his three immediate predecessors honored Pope John Paul II, President Reagan and Gen. Colin Powell “with distinction.”

With that, Vice President Biden joins some heady company.

And he deserves to stand with them.

Their partnership and friendship no doubt will make me miss them once they leave the public stage.

4 thoughts on “Yes, Americans will miss this team”

  1. Being only a mere whelp of 58 years, and not having had the privilege to be paid to expend barrels of ink for 18 years, I was left behind with your John Nance Garner reference. Now fixed, however I will likely forget tomorrow that he was veep for FDR’s first two terms.

    FWIW, FDR’s greater elder relative “TR” believed the same thing. He abstained from the otherwise unanimous vote to put him in McKinley’s ticket at the 1900 GOP presidential convention. Until McKinley was shot, to be veep was to be consigned to oblivion (though I suspect TR would have rebounded from that duty just fine).

    I believe that Reagan was fairly indifferent to GHW Bush and Bush was too (to Quayle). Would you agree that Pres-Vice Pres relationships have since been fruitful for the “underling” (Gore, Cheney, Biden)?

    My first, possibly unfair, impression of Biden was when he presided over the Thomas/Whatshername hearings (her name escapes just now). A Blowhard and more, a duplicitous blowhard. This impression has faded since when 1989-90??

    (Anita Hill!)

    Due to my utter disinterest that impression has not been replaced by anything substantive.

    It’s cool and all that he is now in the company of heavy hitters – the redoubtable General and Secretary Powell and the immortal Governor and President Reagan (though the left peanut gallery seems to be loathe to admit RWR’s accomplishments – much like that for Madame Prime Minister Thatcher).

    But, I am honestly tantalized. What were Vice President Biden’s accomplishments? Like with VP Garner, I have been left behind.

    (too much sports and liquor, I suppose)

    Enquiring Minds Want to Know

    (really – not kidding)

  2. You may be interested to know that this morning’s BBC World Report addressed the close Biden/Obama relationship. I believe they mentioned the award. I probably missed something, eyes closed, half-asleep, but not one word about Biden’s accomplishments – unless you regard having a “bromance” as such.

    I remain tantalized – may have to go to Wikipedia.

    1. I believe VPOTUS’s “accomplishments” cannot be measured in tangible terms. He provided a left of trust and counsel to POTUS that proved valuable to the Big Man’s decision-making processes.

  3. I must say that VP Biden has struck me as a very engaging man (at least since the Thomas/Hill debacle).

    (another comment on the BBC report was that Biden is a “consummate politician”, loves crowds, and is less of a wonk than Pres. Obama who is more of a policy man and not so comfortable in crowds)

    I’ll offer a curmudgeonly cultural observation – peripherally related to this blog topic.

    Not so along ago – but perhaps still 20th C – I saw a newspaper feature (not actually “news”) about a soup-kitchen operator who was called a “hero”.

    I hate that. The highest form of hero is one who risks death or injury in service to others. I over-reacted to the idea that mere charity could be called “heroic” – which dilutes the concept.

    After some reflection – and some checking – dictionaries, sports accounts. I remembered that we’ve had “sports heroes” since I knew what sports was. And this practice goes farther back in sports writing.

    (and why haven’t I checked my OED on this?)

    Thus the major tennis tournament in Paris is named after a “true hero” (Roland Garros – an WWI Ace) and Rafael Nadal, who won that event nine times, is a lesser one. “Rafa” would agree, I’m quite sure.

    I have another peeve about a word that has been not only devalued – but actually inverted since we both were born. Here’s a story that uses it:

    When my son was eleven, possibly younger, I took him for a driving lesson at my old high school which was torn down (after only 40 years) and rebuilt. Parking lot turns. Before going home I took the wheel and we investigated the “back side” of the property, which had a new football and track field. I passed against the DO NOT ENTER sign – this being early evening in the summer, there was no traffic, whatever (almost).

    I let my son out and drove back the way we came. I noticed a guy in a truck, and drove past, supposing he was “security”.

    Anyway my son walked back and told me that the dude asked him why I had disobeyed the sign. My son’s reply:

    “Well, he’s kind of special.

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