Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Say it ain’t so, Joe

It pains me to say this, but I must reiterate what I believe remains the case to this day.

Democrats need not look to old warhorses to salvage their political fortunes, which means to me that former Vice President Joe Biden shouldn’t be a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

I say this despite my affection and respect for the former vice president. I’ve long admired his tenacity, his passionate patriotism and his sense of collegiality and comity. He served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before joining the Democratic Party ticket led in 2008 by his Senate colleague, Barack H. Obama.

I believe still that Democrats need to find a newcomer to the national scene. I believe also that the nation has become afflicted with Clinton Fatigue, which means Hillary Clinton also is out of the presidential political game.

It appears to me that Democrats would do well to look for someone who is as unknown to the public as Jimmy Carter was in 1976. The nation was starved back then for a fresh face and they got one when the former Georgia governor climbed to the top of the party’s primary fight.

Vice President Biden has said publicly that he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run. He was thought to be a possible candidate in 2016, but at the end had to stand down, given his intense grief over the death of his son Beau and his inability to commit fully to a presidential campaign.

Biden has been openly critical of Donald John Trump. Hmmm. Imagine that. So have many others. The ex-VP has spoken out strongly, much like another former veep — Dick Cheney — did during much of President Obama’s time in office.

But I don’t believe a Biden presidential campaign is going to serve the party well. Democrats would do well to find a fresh face, with fresh ideas to challenge a Republican Party that has been hijacked by a president who came into power knowing not a damn thing about how to govern the greatest nation on Earth.

Sen. McCain ‘tells it like it is’

U.S. Sen. John McCain received a great and much-deserved award today and said this:

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century,” the Arizona Republican said, “to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

Sen. McCain received the Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center. The person who gave him the medal was former Vice President Joe Biden, a former Senate colleague and longtime McCain friend.

The Liberty Medal was given to McCain to honor him for his career in public service, which included heroic service as a Navy aviator and more than five years in captivity as a Vietnam War prisoner.

McCain speaks with profound knowledge and understanding of this nation’s role as the world’s remaining military superpower and the world’s leading economic power.

McCain stands tall

I saw the remarks and understood immediately to whom he was directing his remarks about “scapegoats” and “spurious nationalism.”

Listen up, Donald John Trump Sr. The senator, the man you disparaged disgracefully during your presidential campaign, is talking about you.

Biden paid tribute to McCain’s service during his remarks. According to CNN: “John, you have broken many times, physically and otherwise, and you have always grown stronger, but what you don’t really understand in my humble opinion is how much courage you give the rest of us looking at you,” Biden said. 

If only one prominent American, the president of the United States, could grasp the message this brave man is delivering.

A moment of civility and honor

I feel the need to share this video before it recedes too far into the nation’s political background.

U.S. Sen. John McCain pays tribute in this brief video to his longtime friend and colleague, Vice President Joe Biden.

Why show this clip here? Today?

These are seriously contentious times. The vice president was about to leave office after nearly four decades serving in the Senate and as the nation’s No. 2 elected official. Sen. McCain acknowledges that he and Biden didn’t always agree on public policy. They argued, sometimes vigorously.

But it serves us all well to know that men who were political opponents could remain friends, a sentiment that McCain expresses with stunning eloquence in his Senate floor speech.

He was among many senators who rose to pay tribute to Biden as the VP prepared to leave public life.

It remains my hope — to which I’ll cling stubbornly — that we can find a way back to a more genteel era on Capitol Hill. Some of the current cast of characters in the spotlight today make it difficult to imagine such a return occurring any time soon — if ever!

I will admit to getting pretty damn worked up myself over the conduct of many of those characters. I’ve said some harsh things in this blog. I won’t retract them, but I’ll seek to do a better job moving ahead at maintaining a more civil tone, even though I sit way out here in the proverbial peanut gallery, far from where the action is.

Recalling the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s one-time campaign battle cry, I’ll continue to “keep hope alive” that decorum will return to the political debate.

Sen. McCain — the Vietnam War hero and a ferocious advocate for his own public policy views — offers us an example of what we need in the halls of power.

DOJ shoots down another Trump lie

I cannot shake this feeling that Donald J. Trump is furious at the Department of Justice.

He selected the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, perhaps believing the AG and his team would pledge fealty to the president of the United States.

So, what does DOJ do? It files a court brief that says it can find no evidence that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump’s campaign office at Trump Tower in late 2016.

Do you know what that means? It means Trump’s defamatory lie was exposed for what it was — by members of the president’s own Justice Department team!

Man, the boss must be spittin’ mad, right?

Well, maybe not.

Trump keeps yapping about becoming more “presidential.” He’s going in the opposite direction. I do have one suggestion for the Man at the Top to ponder if he’s ever going to turn that “more presidential” corner: own up to your lying, prevaricating ways.

I’m not suggesting he needs to say “I’m a liar.” He can acknowledge in more fanciful language that he has been known to pop off without thinking, which is about the most charitable thing I can suggest about the wiretap lie.

It’s just that when the president’s handpicked attorney general’s Department of Justice has exposed this accusation as the lie most of us know it to be, then — to paraphrase former Vice President Joe Biden — that’s kind of a big … deal.

It requires an out-of-the-ordinary response … at least for this president it would be totally unexpected.

I will keep breathing normally, though, given we all know this president is incapable of admitting to doing a single thing wrong.

So many lessons to learn from health care failure

Where in this world does one start to sort through the wreckage created by the Republican failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with … something else?

Most of know the story by now. Donald J. Trump got elected president and promised to “repeal and replace” the ACA. Congressional Republicans, having retained control of both legislative chambers, finally had a president on their side. Repeal and replacement were slam dunks.

Or so they thought.

Then they cobbled together something that didn’t pass conservative and progressive muster. They couldn’t round up the votes to repeal the ACA, let alone approve something called the American Health Care Act.

Arm-twisting, threats and last-second negotiation resulted in the president’s first major legislative failure. House  Speaker Paul Ryan — a partner with the president on this fiasco — canceled the vote today.

Lessons learned here? Let’s take a peek at some of them.

* Trump bitched today at the White House that he had “no Democrat votes.” Really! He said that out loud to a room full of “enemy of the people” reporters. Well, irony apparently isn’t something that’s on Trump’s radar. President Obama didn’t have a single Republican vote when he got Congress to enact the ACA in 2010; but he damn sure tried to get some GOP support.

* Trump campaigned for the presidency on his record as a take-no-prisoners business mogul. He had no public service experience prior to running for president. His whole adult life had been geared toward personal enrichment. Then he discovered something about politics: It is that politicians have their own constituencies to worry about. If the voters who elect them don’t like what they’re doing, they have this annoying habit of voting them out of office.

Congressional Republicans didn’t like the AHCA because their voters back home didn’t like it. Do you get that, Mr. President? Your Republican colleagues don’t work for you; they work for the citizens in their congressional districts and in their states.

This ain’t reality TV, Mr. President. Politics is practiced by those who know what the hell they’re doing. Just because you’re the president doesn’t mean you get your way whenever you demand something of others.

* The ACA isn’t perfect. I’ll concede that along with anyone with half a brain. But as Speaker Ryan conceded today, it is “the law of the land.” Here’s a thought for the speaker and for the president: Why not try to tinker with the ACA? Fix what’s most egregiously wrong with it. If premiums are costing too much, find a method to cap them. If Americans are having trouble finding medical care within certain networks, find a way to streamline the process.

Throwing out a landmark health insurance overhaul simply because it was the creation of a president from the “other” party isn’t smart. What’s more, the ACA is patterned after a plan adopted in Massachusetts, which at the time was governed by a real Republican, Mitt Romney; you remember him, correct? The ACA in fact has Gov. Romney’s fingerprints all over it.

Ryan said today that “doing big things is hard.” No kidding, Mr. Speaker. Barack Obama learned that lesson, too. Indeed, as Vice President Joe Biden once said, “This is a big f****** deal.”

So … the Affordable Care Act remains on the books. Now the president and Congress can turn their attention to something else.

I just hope there aren’t more screw-ups on the horizon.

Biden deserves the high praise

A question came to me after my post about Vice President Joe Biden receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction today from President Barack Obama.

It came from a reader of this blog who asks, simply: “What were Vice President Biden’s accomplishments?” The reader recalled when Biden in 1991 chaired the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that decided whether to recommend Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. He called Biden a “duplicitous blowhard.”

My sense, though, that Biden brought a kind of maturity to Barack Obama’s inner circle. He brought decades — three decades’ worth — of Senate experience; moreover, he brought several years, before his election to the Senate in 1972, of public service in Delaware.

Was there a signature achievement? Did the vice president author a policy or a strategy that the president followed? Was Joe Biden singularly responsible for a public policy decision?

I don’t believe he was successful in an outwardly visible way that the public would recognize.

I’ll accept the president’s accolades as a testament to the guidance and wise — and private — counsel that the vice president gave him during the tough times.

The gentleman who asked the question likely knows all of this. He did ask it, though, and I believe it’s worth sharing a brief response here to others who read these musings.

I suspect a lot of Americans perhaps are wondering the same thing about what Joe Biden accomplished during his eight years as vice president. We might not see it with our own eyes, but the man with whom he served in the White House surely did.

That’s good enough for me.

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.

POTUS pays glowing tribute to those ‘who do the work’

Barack Obama said it as well as it can possibly be said.

The president bid farewell this week to the men and women who serve and protect us. They wear the uniform of the “greatest military in the history of the world,” he said.

The president reminded them — and the rest of the nation — that he is the “front man.” As commander in chief of that awesome military establishment, he gets his share of the credit for the successes achieved in defense of the nation.

“You do the work,” he told the men and women who he served as commander in chief.

Americans heard a lot of rhetoric during the recent presidential campaign about a military establishment in decline. They heard from the president-elect, who declared he knows “more about ISIS than the general.” Americans were subjected to put-downs and insults of our military forces who fight every day against international terrorists.

That kind of characterization does them a profound disservice.

I was glad to hear the commander in chief say the things he said to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, to Vice President Joe Biden, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the service secretaries and to the warriors who take essentially the same oath taken by the president himself.

President Obama also stated correctly that the young Americans who answer the call to put themselves in harm’s way “are among the greatest generations.”

Let us never forget what they do.

Thank you as well, Mr. President, for your service to the country.

VPOTUS to continue ‘moon shot’ work to fight cancer

Vice President Joe Biden has let it slip.

He didn’t mean to tell us about his post-public-office plans. But he did. They involve continuing his “moon shot” effort to find a cure for cancer through the Biden Trust.

Allow me to cheer this accidental scoop.


Biden let it slip and the news was picked up by a C-SPAN microphone.

He’ll set up his “moon shot” operation at the University of Pennsylvania. The Biden Trust will administer the work that the vice president will do, presumably to raise money dedicated to continuing the scientific research that’s underway to find a cure for cancer.

The vice president, of course, has some serious skin in this game. His beloved son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 and it is believed that Beau’s death — and his father’s profound grief that followed — prevented the vice president from running for president in 2016.

Indeed, I was hoping the vice president would be retained in some capacity by the new administration to continue his “moon shot” work using the imprimatur of the White House, the surgeon general or the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Biden Trust, though, is a valuable venue to continue this important work.

I wish the vice president well and pray his “moon shot” hits pay dirt.

Go with a brand new face, Democrats

A poll offers some clear instructions for Democrats interested in coming back from the shock of watching Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States.

Go with someone shiny and brand new to the national scene, Democrats.

No more Clintons should run for high office, namely the presidency.


USA Today/Suffolk University has released a poll that says Democrats need someone new. It doesn’t specify an individual. Just go with someone new to the national scene.

If you think about it, Republicans might have had the right idea by going with someone “new” as their presidential nominee in 2016. Donald J. Trump wasn’t exactly new to the limelight. He’s been basking in it for 30-plus years.

He burst onto the political scene when he rode down that escalator at Trump Tower and then made his first presidential campaign promise: he’ll “build a wall” to keep those illegal immigrants from coming in.

Trump was a familiar entertainment face, but was new to politics.

He’s not so new to politics these days as he prepares to become president.

Democrats are facing a serious quandary as they ponder their choices for 2020 and, believe it, they are pondering them at this very moment.

One individual did fare pretty well in this poll of Democrats. It is Joe Biden, the current vice president who’ll be 78 years of age on Jan. 20, 2021 when we inaugurate someone after the 2020 election. Personally, I wanted Vice President Biden to run this time around. He didn’t go for it. I fear it’s too late for him next time.

Poll respondents apparently think so, too.

Democrats had better start beating the bushes for their next presidential nominee. The poll results suggest they need to find a fresh face.

I mean, if Hillary Rodham Clinton — a former U.S. first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state — can lose to someone as unqualified and unfit for the presidency as the guy who beat her, then it’s time to start with a clean slate.

Get busy, Democrats.