Tag Archives: VPOTUS

Don’t run, Joe; leave the 2020 race to the young’ns.

Readers of this blog know it already, but I’ll restate it: I am a big fan of former Vice President Joe Biden.

There. I’ve got that out of the way. Now I want to declare that I do not want the former VPOTUS to run for president in 2020. It’s not that he can’t do the job. It’s not that he is incapable.

It is that I want new blood, new ideas, new faces, new voices to be seen and heard.

This will sound as though I’m an ageist. Believe me, I know what ageism looks like. I believe I’ve been victimized by it in recent years, so I say this next piece with a good bit of caution.

Biden’s age is going to work against him. He will be 77 years of age in 2020. He would be the oldest man ever elected to the nation’s highest office were that to occur. That would mean he would be 81 in 2024. Would he seek a second term, which would put him into his mid-80s were he to win?

Or … would a President Biden declare himself to be a one-termer, thus making him a lame duck the moment he takes his hand off the Bible at his inauguration in January 2021?

Biden is ruminating yet again about whether to run for president.

His pondering is the subject of an article in Atlantic. Read it here.

My hope for the country is that Donald Trump is defeated in 2020. I didn’t want him elected in 2016 and was shocked along with most political observers when he squeaked out that Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton.

He remains more unfit for the high office than any man who has ever held it. I want him gone. Defeated either in the GOP primary or in the general election.

Joe Biden isn’t the man to do it. I want him to remain active in the political discourse. He can lend plenty to the discussion of the issues of the day.

However, he needs to let the next generation of Democratic politicians have their time. Let them seek to take hold of the levers of power.

The former veep has had his day. It was a great run through 36 years as a U.S. senator and then as the second-in-command of the greatest nation on Earth.

Let it go, Mr. Vice President.

Presidents don’t ‘demand’ things

I am not inclined usually to endorse thoughts expressed by William Kristol, publisher of the conservative publication The Weekly Standard.

I’ll make an exception by backing a tweet he put out regarding Donald J. Trump Sr.: In America, a president can order that a thing be done if he’s executing a law or acting within his discretion. And a president can urge or request something be done. But an American president doesn’t “demand” a thing be done. Demands are the way of autocrats, thugs and children.

Now I shall stipulate that Kristol is an ardent anti-Trump fellow. He opposed his election as president in 2016 and hasn’t let up since Trump took the oath of office.

The president has “demanded” that the Department of Justice launch a probe into whether the FBI spied on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump is looking for some affirmation of the allegation he has leveled against the FBI — again with no evidence — that it launched surveillance on his campaign in an effort to do harm to it.

Kristol, I shall remind you, once served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle from 1989 to 1993. Thus, he has government experience. He served quite close to the center of federal executive power.

His view of Trump’s demand, that it is the “way of autocrats, thugs and children” points out one of the many fundamental flaws in the manner that Trump seeks to govern.

He continues to misconstrue a truth about the president and the presidency, which is that the office isn’t his to act as he pleases. It carries two-plus centuries of tradition and custom. President John F. Kennedy once lamented shortly after taking office in 1961 how difficult it was to get anything done simply by presidential edict.

Donald Trump hasn’t yet made that discovery. I doubt he will. He has no knowledge of how government works, only some internal notion of how he wants it to work.

William Kristol, to borrow a phrase, has told it like it is.

Biden in ’20? Yes, but … why ?

Joseph R. Biden’s possible presidential candidacy in 2020 fills me with equal parts hope and dread.

Actually, the dread part might be a bit greater than the hope.

The former vice president reportedly is thinking hard about running for president in 2020. I presume he wants to challenge Donald John Trump Sr., who’s already formed a re-election campaign committee and has been speaking at political rallies almost from the first day of his presidency.

Biden is being coy, naturally. He says he is concentrating first in this year’s mid-term election that he hopes will elect more Democrats to public office.

Let me stipulate two points about hope and dread.

The Hope: I have admired Biden for decades, dating back to the horrific personal tragedy he endured in 1972 when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate. His wife and daughter died in a car accident shortly after the election that year and Biden wrestled with whether he wanted to become a senator.

His friends counseled him to serve. He took their advice and served in the Senate from 1973 until he was tapped by fellow Sen. Barack Obama to run with him on the 2008 Democratic ticket; Obama and Biden won that contest and Biden became a valuable member of the Obama administration.

Biden’s Senate career hit its share of bumps along the way. He was prone to talking too much. He got ensnared in a copycat scandal in which he lifted remarks from a British politician and used them as his own in telling his life story; that embarrassment cost him dearly and he had to pull out of his first run for president in 1987.

Then there was the time during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Biden had five minutes to ask a question, but he spent damn near all of it on a soliloquy about why he opposed Alito. Sheesh!

But the ex-VP is a patriot who loves this country and has given much in service to it. He might want one more tour of public service duty.

The Dread: As much as I admire Biden, I still believe Democrats need to reach out to the back bench to find a nominee to challenge Trump. I believe 2020 will provide an opportunity to find someone who is on no one’s political radar at the moment.

Barack Obama came out of nowhere in 2008. So did Jimmy Carter in 1976. I’m not saying Democrats should nominate another Obama or Carter, but rather they should find someone who is as unknown as they both were to the American public.

There’s also the issue of age. Vice President Biden would be the oldest man ever elected president were he to win in 2020. He’s already on record saying he would serve a single term before bowing out — which would make him a lame-duck the minute he took his hand off the Bible at his swearing in.

I am reminded of something a late Clackamas County (Ore.) sheriff once told me after he took office when his predecessor resigned. Bill Brooks announced immediately he would run for election. “If I don’t run I become a lame duck,” Brooks said. “Lame ducks get bulldozed and I don’t bulldoze worth a s**t.”

A 78-year-old President Biden would get bulldozed, too.

Would I still support a Biden candidacy over Donald Trump?

Duh! What in the world do you think?

And then there’s the 25th Amendment

The United States of America functioned for nearly two centuries before it ratified a constitutional amendment dealing with presidential succession and the appointment of a vice president.

The 25th Amendment was ratified in February 1967. It came in reaction to the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The new president, Lyndon Johnson, served the remainder of JFK’s term without a vice president. LBJ got elected in 1964 and Hubert Humphrey joined the administration as vice president. President Truman took office in April 1945 after Franklin Roosevelt died just a month into his fourth term; Truman served nearly a full term, therefore, without a vice president.

The amendment has been used exactly once. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973 and President Nixon appointed House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to become vice president. The new VP then settled into the Oval Office Big Chair when Nixon resigned in August 1974.

I mention this today because the 25th Amendment is getting some attention these days. It allows for a temporary replacement of the president if a majority of the Cabinet determines he is unable to continue doing his presidential duties.

Donald John Trump is in trouble. A special counsel is examining whether his campaign colluded with Russian hackers seeking to meddle in our 2016 election. There might be some issues relating to Trump’s myriad business holdings, too. Oh, and then the president declares that “both sides” were at fault in the Charlottesville riot, causing a serious rift between the White House and members of Congress of both political parties.

There have been some questions about the president state of mind, his ability to actually govern and, yes, his mental competence.

I’m not qualified to offer a psychological diagnosis, let alone from half a continent away. So I won’t go there.

The 25th Amendment is meant to ensure the executive branch continues to function even in these difficult times. Just how difficult will they become? I guess that depends on how the president responds to the mounting pressure.

I keep hearing about how angry he is getting. He’s been cutting people loose all over the place: national security adviser, gone; press secretary, gone; communications director, gone; chief of staff, gone; FBI director, gone; senior strategist, gone.

Trump popped off about neo-Nazis and Klansmen. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have effectively rebuked the commander in chief, although not by name. Congressional leaders are starting to weigh in. There might be some diehard Trumpkins among them, but the vast majority of public response has been highly critical.

Republican leaders are aghast. Never mind what Democrats think; it’s a given that they detest the president already.

In the meantime, the 25th Amendment looms as a serious talking point among the chattering class in Washington, D.C. Don’t for a single moment believe that the president is ignoring the chatter.

Why such anger, Mr. Vice President?

Why, oh why is Vice President Mike Pence so darn angry at The New York Times?

The allegedly “failing” newspaper has published a story revealing that Pence’s political team is working behind the scenes to mount a presidential campaign in 2020. Pence is simply outraged, I tell you. Outraged that the Times would report such a thing.

Pence is like all the other men who have preceded him in the second-highest office in the land. They all want to be the Top Dog, the Big Man, Numero Uno. Is Pence so different? I doubt it. Seriously.

To be sure, the NY Times said Pence is planning a primary campaign against Donald J. Trump Sr. His plans presume that the president won’t seek re-election, or that he will be otherwise, um, unavailable to run for a second term.

What might prevent Trump from running in 2020? Let’s see:

* He could be impeached and tossed out of office over allegations that he obstructed justice in the Russia investigation or that his campaign colluded with the Russians. There might be some financial issues that arise from special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation. Will it happen? I ain’t projecting such a thing. Or … the president might resign.

* The incessant armchair psychoanalysis might determine that the president suffers from some sort of serious personality disorder that compels him to tweet so often and with so much damaging effectiveness. I won’t join that debate, either.

* Trump might figure he cannot stand the incessant failure to get anything done. He’s not used to working with those who resist him at every turn. Trump’s business background has placed him at the top of the ladder. He’s got to share that standing now with Congress and the courts.

* Or, maybe the president can just declare victory — say “mission accomplished” — and pack it all up and head back to Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster or some other posh digs that will remove him and his family from that “real dump” where they live part time in Washington, D.C.

Is it so wrong to believe the vice president is getting ready for any eventuality? Is it wrong to presume that the No. 2 guy wants to ascend to the No. 1 spot?

The media have done a great job of keeping the public informed about the goings-on related to the Trump administration. The New York Times has just racked up another scoop.

Pipe down, Mr. Vice President.

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.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-accidentally-reveals-post-inauguration-plans/ar-BBxRH4f?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

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.

Who decides Trump ‘needs’ briefing?

aalqppl

Donald J. Trump says he doesn’t need to be briefed daily on national security issues because “like, I’m a smart person.”

The president-elect also says he gets the briefings when “I need it.”

My question is this: Who determines whether Trump “needs” the briefing, the president-elect or the national security team assigned to provide the intelligence information to him?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-no-to-daily-redundant-intel-briefings-because-hes-a-smart-person/ar-AAlqP05?li=BBnb7Kz

What appears to be emerging here is an enormous responsibility for Mike Pence, the vice president-elect who happens to have actual government experience as governor of Indiana and before that as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pence gets the briefings far more frequently than Trump, according to the president-elect. This suggests to me that Pence is preparing to the Trump administrations’ go-to guy on issues relating to national security.

Fighting the Islamic State? Dealing with geopolitical threats in Europe, Asia and Latin America?

Let Mike deal with it. The president is too busy making America great again.

And I bet you thought no vice president could wield the clout that Dick Cheney did during the George W. Bush administration.