Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Let the trial begin … with witnesses!

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It looks as though the U.S. Senate is going to convene a trial next week. The president of the United States is going to stand trial on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress.

The trial of Donald Trump isn’t a purely legal proceeding. It’s damn close to one, though. It’s close enough to a courtroom trial that there needs to be witnesses called who have something important to add to the issue at hand.

That issue is: What happened precisely during that “perfect phone call” that Trump had with the president of Ukraine? Then-national security adviser John Bolton was present when Trump talked to his Ukrainian colleague; so was acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. The Senate needs to hear from them. What they did hear? Did the president ask a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 election? Did he withhold military aid to Ukraine until it announced an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential Trump foe?

The nation does not know what they know. We have not heard it from them directly. I am one American who wants to know what they heard. I want to hear ’em say it out loud, in public, under oath.

Will that occur? Will the Senate summon them? We don’t know.

In return, of course, Trump wants the Senate to call Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for the energy company for a handsome sum of money. There are allegations of “corruption” involving Hunter Biden. Except that prosecutors have said time and again that the younger Biden did nothing illegal.

The president also wants to call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Why? Beats the livin’ malarkey out of me!

Let’s not turn this trial into a sideshow. It is serious. It is a sober event. It should be conducted with utmost decorum and dignity.

I am awaiting the start of this trial. I hope we get to hear from Bolton and others with direct knowledge of what happened … allegedly!

We need a serious trial. Not a circus.

Now it’s the ‘Obama-Biden administration’

Did anyone other than me notice something a bit different coming from the Donald Trump administration’s criticism of policies put forward by the Obama administration?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the Sunday morning news/talk show circuit to explain Trump’s decision to kill Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Solemaini with an air strike in Baghdad, Iraq.

He kept referring — get ready for it! — the mistakes made by the “Obama-Biden administration.” Do you get it? Pompeo is now trying to link former Vice President Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama. Why is that? Well, it appears to me that the Trump team believes the former VP is going to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee later this year.

It’s a subtle tactic to demonize a political foe. Do I think the demonization is valid? No. I do not. I do not believe Iran’s standing as a terrorist state is the result of mistakes made during the Obama administration.

That won’t preclude Donald Trump’s key administration and campaign aides from employing this little game of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo. It has begun already.

On second thought, Mr. Vice President …

I’ve already trashed the idea of Joe Biden considering — prematurely, I must stipulate — whether he would select a Republican to run with him on a 2020 presidential ticket to defeat Donald Trump.

It’s far too early. Biden appears to be pandering to GOP voters … you get my drift.

On reflection, though, I think it’s OK to play this out briefly.

Suppose Biden emerges as the prohibitive favorite to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. Suppose, too, that he is serious about looking for a Republican to run with him. A name does pop into my head: former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

  • Kasich ran in 2016 against a large field of Republican presidential contenders. He was among the last of them to fold under the Trump juggernaut. Kasich emerged as my favorite GOP candidate.
  • The man’s got serious policy chops. He ran the House Budget Committee in the late 1990s. He worked with President Bill Clinton to balance the federal budget.
  • He also comes from Ohio, a state that becomes a battleground for Trump and Biden.
  • Kasich also has endorsed the idea of impeaching Trump, which the House has done; Trump is awaiting a trial in the Senate.

Those all are positives. But … and you know what comes next; it’s never a positive statement.

Kasich is a white male. So is Biden. The conventional wisdom has been all along that Democrats aren’t going to nominate a ticket with two white guys running against Trump and (presumably) Vice President Mike Pence. The 2020 Democratic ticket more than likely is going to include a white male along with a male or female “of color.”

I’m just offering some food for thought here. We’re still a long, long way from pondering the party affiliation of anyone being considered by whomever the Democrats nominate as their presidential candidate.

Stop pandering to GOP, Mr. Former VP

Joe Biden now says he might consider asking a Republican to join him on a ticket to run against Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Hold the phone! C’mon! The presumed Democratic primary frontrunner need not go there, at least not yet.

First of all, he doesn’t have the nomination locked up. On the contrary, many of us out here who might be inclined to support the former vice president are still anguishing over his continual verbal missteps, gaffes and need for “clarification.”

Second of all, who among the nation’s leading Republicans would he consider at this moment? None of them is speaking up against Trump. They’re exhibiting supreme political cowardice by enabling the president to continue to embarrass the nation and the office he occupies. Trump takes their silence as a tacit endorsement of his conduct, which has gotten him impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Biden’s suggestion that he’d consider a GOP running mate came in response to a question in New Hampshire. It sounds to me like so much pandering to a potential Republican voting bloc that might be inclined to vote for a Democrat over a GOP president they consider to be an embarrassment.

Many of us are still waiting for a prominent Republican politician to offer a full-throated condemnation of Donald Trump. If one shows the guts to do such a thing, then we ought to talk about adding that individual to a Democratic ticket.

Biden has reversed himself on the subpoena issue?

Good ever-lovin’ grief, Mr. Vice President.

Joe Biden went from declaring his intention to do what Donald Trump has done by refusing to honor a  Senate subpoena, to “clarifying” his remarks to essentially reversing himself by saying that, yep, he would show up to testify if asked to do during a Senate impeachment trial.

My head is spinning so rapidly I’m coming down with a case of vertigo.

Biden wants to be the next president of the United States. He’s the prohibitive favorite among Democrats still running for the office. However, keeps saying things that fly out of his mouth that require mid-course corrections. The subpoena matter is the latest.

I took him to task initially on this blog for telling a Des Moines Register editorial board that he would refuse to comply with a Senate subpoena; he said such a summons would distract the Senate from the issue at hand, which is Trump’s conduct as president. Republican senators want to question Biden and his son Hunter on their business dealings in Ukraine.

On one score, Biden is right; that is not the issue. At issue is whether Donald Trump abused the power of his office by soliciting a foreign government for a political favor and whether he obstructed Congress by demanding his key aides refuse to answer House subpoenas. To my mind, the answer is “yes” on both matters.

The former VP cannot play the game that Trump has played. So now he says he would comply with a Senate summons … if they ever get that trial started.

Great! Why didn’t he say that the first time?

‘Clarifications’ reveal lack of coherence

It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I have admired Joe Biden for many years.

Thus, it pains me to realize that the former U.S. vice president and longtime senator from Delaware may be in the midst of inflicting a mortal self-inflicted wound.

He inflicted the latest wound by saying he would ignore a senatorial subpoena if it came to him during the Donald Trump impeachment trial. He said he wouldn’t comply.

Then it came. The “clarification,” that is.

I heaved a sigh of frustration when I heard he had to issue another clarification. When I hear such things coming from politicians and/or their staffs I am left to believe only that a clarification reveals a lack of coherence from the politician who makes a statement that needs to be clarified.

However, I will give Biden credit at least for seeking more clarity from the statements he makes. That stands in contrast to Donald J. Trump, who during his time as president of the United States has blathered a countless number of incoherent rants that damn sure need to be clarified … except that Trump doesn’t clarify anything.

Still, I am looking for a politician who can speak in complete sentences, have them stand on their own so that the public can digest what the politician says without him or her having to say what he or she intended to say.

Joe Biden, despite what I consider to be his admirable record of public service, appears to be squandering his presidential chances because he can’t say what he means the first time. He has issued formal clarifications or has been forced to restate with different verbiage what he said initially.

Donald Trump’s idiotic riff on wind power recently provides the perfect example of incoherent rambling that needed to be clarified.

I continue to hope Joe Biden can be the guy to replace Trump. However, we don’t need only a different type of rhetorical buffoonery.

What is Biden thinking?

It’s time — maybe it’s past time — to acknowledge what I have been fearing for a while.

It is that Joseph R. Biden Jr. might not have the rhetorical chops to become the next president of the United States. For the life of me I do not understand his response to a Des Moines Register editorial board interview question concerning a possible subpoena by the Senate to testify during Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The former vice president had the bad form to say he would refuse to answer a subpoena. Yep, he would ignore it. It has me wondering now whether this is the right man to nominate to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency.

A friend of mine offered what I consider to be a stellar alternative response that Biden could have used in response to the question. It goes like this:

“Absolutely. I will be happy and proud to participate in any legitimate congressional investigation into Trump’s misbehavior. Once the Senate has shown it is serious about finding the truth by securing the testimony of Mulvaney, Giuliani and Bolton, I will proudly march onto Capitol Hill to explain how I did nothing wrong and supported legitimate U.S. policy aims in all of my interactions with Ukraine. I will then elaborate on how the honorable president I ably served for eight years would have never participated in such despicable behavior. I look forward to the moment the senate fulfills its Constitutional mandate by conducting a fair trial that seeks the truth about this stain on America’s honor.”

My friend goes on:

No. 1, you win the argument immediately and everyone who is not automatically supporting Trump gets it.

No. 2, you will never, ever be forced to testify because Trump and the GOP absolutely cannot afford to have those three testify under oath under any circumstances.

Sheesh. This isn’t brain surgery here.

Now the former VP has had to “clarify” what he said, although I am not sure the clarification actually cleared any of the rhetorical debris out of the way.

Turnabout isn’t always ‘fair play,’ Mr. Former VP

My politically induced heartburn is flaring up again. The cause is the statement by former Vice President Joe Biden, who says he would deny a Senate subpoena if he’s called to testify during the upcoming impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.

Dang it, Mr. Vice President! You cannot do that.

Here’s the deal: Critics such as me and millions of others have been hammering Trump over his refusal to let key White House aides testify after being summoned by lawfully authorized congressional subpoenas. That means fairness requires Biden to show up if the Senate does the same thing to him.

I happen to agree with Biden that a Senate subpoena would divert attention away from the allegations that have been leveled against Trump, that he abused his power and obstructed Congress; he sought a foreign government’s help for political purposes and has gotten in the way of Congress performing its oversight functions as prescribed in the Constitution. Thus, the Democratically controlled House impeached Trump.

Now comes the trial. The GOP controls the Senate. Republicans want Biden to testify in a trial. The idea stinks. However, it’s a lawful request if that’s what the Senate decides to do.

Just as I’ve said all along about Trump, if he’s got nothing to hide, he shouldn’t obstruct Congress. The same can be said of Biden. I happen to believe that the former VP didn’t break any laws with regard to Ukraine; prosecutors there have said so. Neither has his son, Hunter, who’s another key player in this drama.

My heartburn is only going to worsen the longer this idiocy plays out. That’s what my sense of fairness is doing to me. I just want to ask Joe Biden to spare me from having to reach for the Pepto.

I fear this trial is going to produce an unwelcome result, no matter whether Biden testifies or sits it out.

Coming clean on a one-time personal secret

The recent dust-up involving a former White House press flack and a former U.S. vice president brings to mind a reason I have much empathy for the ex-VP.

Joe Biden endured a stuttering problem as a boy. He powered through it. He mentioned it during the Democratic presidential candidate joint appearance the other night, eliciting a stupidly snarky response from Sarah Huckabee Sanders … who later apologized for the way she responded to Biden’s acknowledgement.

I find myself, thus, feeling a bit of empathy for Biden. Why? I, too, endured a stuttering problem as a boy. It wasn’t a debilitating stutter. I was able to communicate most of the time. Indeed, I was able to do so almost all the time. Certain sounds, though, did get in the way. The sound of the letter “k,” for instance, at the beginning of certain words is an example of that.

Think of the hideousness of that example. My last name begins with that sound. Therein lies the source of my embarrassment. I once had to stand in front of a roomful of high school students and say my name. I couldn’t get it out. Two of those classmates of mine thought that was just so damn funny; they had a riotous time making fun of me.

Therefore, I was bullied for the rest of my time in high school. It wasn’t fun, man.

I have gotten through my own stuttering issue. I hesitate to call it a “problem,” because it didn’t inhibit me from enjoying a modestly successful career over the years. I, do, though admire those who are able to get past far more debilitating ailments than the one I endured.

Joe Biden happens to be a prominent American politician who is now seeking the presidency.

If nothing else happens to his candidacy — be it a self-inflicted wound or something that someone else reveals about him — I am inclined to cut this guy with whom I share a common experience a little more slack than I otherwise might be inclined to do.

Biden to ex-WH flack: ‘It’s called empathy. Look it up.’

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has shown that she learned some cheap-shot skills while working for Donald J. Trump.

During a 2020 Democratic presidential joint appearance this week with six other candidates for the party nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden talked about how he overcame a severe stuttering problem.

He told of how he visits with children with similar issues, saying that a children might tell him “I-I-I-I can’t talk. What do I do?”

Sanders, the former White House press secretary, decided to tweet out a snarky message, saying via Twitter: “I I I I  I have absolutely no idea what Joe Biden is talking about.” Biden responded by saying that he was seeking to employ some “empathy,” and urged Sanders to “look it up.”

The smart-alecky response from Sanders drew the expected rebuke on social media. To her credit, she did apologize, saying she didn’t know about the former VP’s stuttering history and that she should have “made my point more respectfully.”

Indeed. But the problem with social media and with Twitter serving as a platform to deliver these messages instantaneously, the damage gets done and often is difficult to repair.

Take better care, Sarah Sanders, when you decide to take shots at political foes. They tend to cheapen themselves rapidly.