Tag Archives: Beau Biden

Preparing for challenge of a lifetime … or is it?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There are times when I watch public figures reach the pinnacle of whatever they are seeking to do that I wonder: What must they be thinking?

That thought has crossed my mind more than once as I observed President-elect Joe Biden prepare to become the head of state and commander in chief of our great and beloved nation.

Let’s set aside the nonsense that’s occurring on the sidelines, with the incumbent president who lost to Biden trying to perform some sort of hocus pocus by getting states to toss aside legitimate votes cast against him.

Instead, I am wondering how the president-elect is managing his emotions at this moment. It boggles my noggin, man.

This man has endured more heartache, embarrassment and misery than anyone I can fathom.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. He celebrated his 30th birthday between election day and when he would take office. Then in December of that year, his wife and infant daughter died in a horrific car crash. The young senator-to-be’s heart was shattered. He took office and then became a lion of the Senate.

Biden married again in 1975. He has said that “No man deserves one great love, let alone two.” He has flourished with Jill Biden at his side.

He ran for president in 1988. Then he got caught stealing lines from a prominent British politician. He re-cast the Brit’s life story and turned it into his own. Not good. He dropped out and returned to his work in the Senate.

Biden tried once again to reach for the highest rung on the ladder. In 2008, he ran against a young upstart senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama. He lost that campaign. Then the Democratic nominee, Obama, selected him to be vice president. The rest, as they say, is history.

But along the way, unspeakable tragedy arrived once again, in 2015. The VP’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer, crushing the heart of his father. He persevered. He had to bury his second child. To paraphrase that earlier quote from Biden: No man should have to bury one child, let alone two.¬†

Now it’s Biden’s turn.

Something tells me a man whose emotions have been tested in the most profound manner imaginable is going to do just fine as he reaches this summit.

Is Joe Biden really, truly ready for this?

The chatter is beginning to get louder.

It involves former Vice President Joe Biden and whether he intends to run for president of the United States in 2020. Media are reporting the ex-VP is a couple of weeks away from making that decision. The chatter includes a lot of speculation that he’s inclined to run — but that “family matters” might hold him back.

I would vote for the former vice president in an instant were he to win the Democratic nomination and run against Donald Trump in 2020. However, I don’t want him to seek the nomination. I want a younger, fresher candidate to face the president . . . presuming, of course, that he runs for re-election!

I want to broach this Biden “family matter” situation directly and speculate on what Biden might face in this social media age from the Twitter bully who masquerades as president of the United States.

Donald Trump is a vicious social media bully. He knows no bounds. He attacks anyone with impunity and is unafraid to attack anyone’s family. Vice President Biden’s family well might present Trump with a target that is too inviting to ignore.

Biden’s elder son, Beau, died in 2015 of brain cancer. After Beau Biden’s tragic death, Joe Biden’s younger son, Hunter, divorced his wife . . . and reportedly had been dating his brother’s widow.

This is precisely the kind of family drama that might lure the president into a hideous Twitter barrage. Thus, it becomes incumbent on the former VP to ponder whether he wants to expose his family to the torrent of viciousness that Trump is capable of unleashing.

When you take on Donald Trump, you must be willing to steel yourself against the ferocious nature of the president’s makeup. Donald Trump is capable — and, oh, so willing — to say anything about anyone who opposes him.

This is the kind of fight Joe Biden can expect to face if he decides to take this final plunge into the political free-for-all required of anyone who wants to become president of the United States.

Joe Biden for VP … one more time?

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I’ll admit this isn’t an original thought.

Others have said it, so I’m just joining an¬†“amen!” chorus of sorts.

The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that limits the president to two elected terms in office is silent on the vice presidency. The words “vice president” or “vice presidency” aren’t mentioned in the amendment, which was ratified in 1951 after Congress approved it in 1947.

My point? Why not nominate the current vice president, Joseph Biden, to serve another four years in a Clinton administration?

Stop laughing for just a moment and ponder this thought.

President Obama put the vice president in charge of what’s been called a “moon shot” program aimed at finding a cure for cancer. Vice President Biden lost his beloved son, Beau, to brain cancer, a loss that many believe kept him from running for the presidency in 2016.

My thought then, when Obama made the proposal during his final State of the Union speech earlier this year, was this: Is there enough time for Biden to get anything accomplished before he leaves office in January 2017?

I find it hard to imagine how the government could achieve what the president said he wanted — a cancer cure — in such a short span of time.

All this talk about who Clinton should pick as her running mate has provided some interesting chatter across the country, along with the chatter about who Republican nominee Donald J. Trump should select as his running mate.

Clinton has a ready-made, battle-tested, house-broken vice president already on the job. He’s a bona fide foreign-policy expert and he still has a tremendous working relationship and personal friendship with many congressional Republicans who’ve battled Barack Obama over every step the president has sought to make during his two terms in office.

The vice president also has a huge job that remains unfinished.

Why not, then, give him another four years to see this “moon shot” effort though?

Just a thought. I doubt seriously the Democratic nominee is going to heed this bit of advice.

But it’s out there, Mme. Secretary.

Will the VP stay with the fight once he leaves office?

Vice President Joe Biden points at President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

President Obama made a stirring choice Tuesday night.

He turned to Vice President Joe Biden and declared that he would be “in charge of mission control” while leading a concerted effort to rid the world of cancer. The vice president will be the point man to find a cure for the dreaded disease.

It was a poignant moment for one major reason: Joe Biden’s son, Beau, died this past year of brain cancer;¬†the younger Biden’s¬†death resonated around the world as we watched the vice president and his family grieve openly — but with dignity and grace.

So it makes sense for the president to put him in charge of such a noble effort.

However …

Barack Obama’s got just about one year left as president; Biden’s time as vice president expires at the same time.

Will this team of researchers find a cure between now and then? Probably not.

So, will the vice president remain as head of the team once the Obama administration leaves office? My hope is that whoever becomes the next president — Democrat or Republican — will ask Biden to remain on the job for as long as he is able.

Joe Biden can become a serious force of nature in the effort to raise money to conduct the research needed to find this cure. Granted, it’s not as if health institutions, think tanks, research hospitals and universities haven’t done a lot already to find a cure.

Having the vice president of the United States take the point on that effort shouldn’t end once he hands his office keys to whoever succeeds him.

Biden bows out with class, grace

biden

Vice President Joe Biden said a lot of things this morning when he bid farewell to any chance of becoming president of the United States.

I want to focus on one of those things.

He seemed to fire a shot across Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bow after the Democratic Party presidential frontrunner alluded to Republicans as her worst “enemy.”

Not so, said Joe.

Republicans aren’t the enemy. They are political adversaries, he said. He also noted that he retains many friends on the GOP side of the aisle and he indicated to whomever is elected president next year that the way to move the country forward is to end this kind of proverbial political hate speech emanating from both sides of the divide.

I don’t know who started this bitter rhetoric. At this point, I don’t really care. It’s gone on long enough.

The vice president’s call for a more civil discussion is precisely the kind of thing some of us out here have yearned for.

Biden: I will not be silent

Joe Biden is an honorable man. He has his faults, as does every human being who’s ever walked the planet.

The vice president’s “friends” on Fox News, for example, spent some time noting how he got caught during the 1988 presidential campaign stealing speech lines from British politician Neal Kinnock.

Over the years, the vice president’s verbosity has gotten him into trouble. I recall, for example, when CNN put a timer on him while he was supposed to be asking Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito a question during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden rambled on for 28 minutes, giving Alito precisely two minutes to answer a question that finally — finally! — came out of the then-senator’s mouth.

But the vice president has served his nation with honor and with great conviction. He’s also weathered intense personal grief, starting with the death of his wife and daughter in that terrible car crash between the time of his 1972 election to the Senate and when he took office; then this year he¬†mourned the death of his beloved son, Beau, from brain cancer.

He’s also sought to mind his manners — most of the time — when talking about policy differences with his Republican opponents.

Message to the politicians who’ll be around when Joe Biden departs the scene in January 2017: How about taking the hint that the vice president dropped on you today? Let’s cut the “enemy” crap.

Well stated, Mr. Vice President.

 

 

Sen. Cruz goes low once more

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 10.

 

Ted Cruz needs to get his mouth washed out with soap.

Or taken to the woodshed.

Or maybe sent to bed without his supper.

Hey, how about all three?

The young freshman U.S. senator from Texas — who’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination — did it once again. He uttered an inappropriate criticism at a leading Democrat at precisely the wrong time.

The man has no compassion filter … apparently.

Former President Carter announced this week he suffers from cancer. What did Cruz do? He punched Carter in the gut, using the standard GOP stump speech rhetoric about how bad things were in the late 1970s, when Carter was president.

“What I commented on was the public policy of the Carter administration in the 1970s, and it didn’t work,” Cruz said. “Millions of people hurt and as a result it sparked a grassroots movement to turn this country around. The same thing is happening because we‚Äôre seeing the same failed public policy.”

Couldn’t this young man have laid off the 39th president while the rest of us absorbed the terrible news about his very serious illness?

You’ll recall that a few days after Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer, Cruz poked fun at the vice president. That, too, was an inappropriate and tasteless remark and at the wrong time.

To his credit, Cruz did apologize to the vice president.

I believe another apology, to President Carter, is in order.

 

Listen carefully to the thumping: Biden might run once more

BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Century Village Clubhouse on September 28, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. Biden continues to campaign across the country before the general election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Put your head to the ground and listen intently.

Those of us who are interested in such things are beginning to hear the faint thumping of feet. They’re the soldiers, so to speak, who want to see one more prominent Democrat enter the 2016 presidential primary campaign.

That would be Vice President Joe Biden.

Before you dismiss it as so much mindless chatter, I’d like to remind you of a few things about the vice president.

* First, he’s not a young man. He’s 72 and will be 73 when the campaign gets revved up next year, the same age that President Reagan was when he was re-elected in 1984.¬†Biden has always wanted to be president and this represents his last chance to go for the gusto.

* Second, he and the president, Barack Obama, have formed a remarkable relationship during their two terms together. Did you notice their embrace during the memorial service for the vice president’s son, Beau, who died a few weeks ago of brain cancer? Did you also notice the kiss-on-their-cheeks the men exchanged after that man-hug? Only true friends¬†do that in public.

* Third, their relationship¬†puts the president in a highly unusual bind. Then again, it’s been stated time and again that Barack Obama and the Clintons — Hillary¬†and Bill — aren’t exactly close. Yes, the president has spoken highly of Hillary Clinton’s work as secretary of state and, yes again, President Clinton delivered that stirring 2012 oration in Charlotte, N.C., extolling the president’s signature domestic accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act. But you get the feeling deep down there’s a reservoir of mistrust. Might that feeling get in the way of the president endorsing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination?

* Fourth, the vice president — for all his well-known tendency to speak a little too freely and casually at times — is a foreign policy expert. He has built tremendous relationships with foreign dignitaries — from kings and queens on down to minister-level functionaries. He knows the ropes.

* Fifth, Joe Biden also has great friendships with many members of Congress — in both chambers and on both sides of the political divide. Those lawmakers with whom he has these friendships is dwindling, as many of them are retiring and are being replaced by whippersnappers with zero institutional knowledge of the relationships built between Congress and the White House. Thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate¬†bought the vice president a lot of clout in the upper congressional chamber.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times recounts a moment near the end of Beau Biden’s life that perhaps speaks to the urges that might be pushing the vice president toward one more effort to reach the brass ring.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-joe-biden-in-2016-what-would-beau-do.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

I, of course, have no knowledge of what the vice president will do. Others are reporting that his team is “ramping up” its activities with the hope of launching a presidential campaign.

But from my perch out here in Flyover Country — where a Biden candidacy wouldn’t necessarily be welcomed — I think I would enjoy seeing this man mix it up with his party’s presumed 2016 frontrunner and the three men seeking to have their voices heard.

Run, Joe, run!

Imagine LBJ and HHH hugging like that

BarackandJoe

Take a good look at this picture. It shows two grown men, both of whom occupy the two highest public offices in the most powerful nation on Earth, embracing in a time of profound grief.

What’s not been commented on much in the media is what happened shortly after this picture was snapped. Vice President Joe Biden kissed President Barack Obama on the cheek; the president then returned the gesture by kissing the vice president on his cheek.

The event, of course, was at the funeral of the vice president’s son, Beau, who died this past week of brain cancer.

The president offered a touching eulogy while honoring the memory of his friend’s¬†son.

Let’s set politics aside for a moment and look briefly at what this picture symbolizes.

As the link below notes, it symbolizes the extraordinarily close relationship these two men have for each other.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/in-sorrow-obama-and-biden-put-personal-bond-on-public-display/ar-BBkNdEb

It hasn’t always been that way between presidents and vice presidents. Try to imagine Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew embracing like that. Or Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. Or John Kennedy and LBJ, for that matter. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? Hah!

Actually, I could see Bill Clinton hugging Al Gore, and George W. Bush doing the same for Dick Cheney — although a part of me wonders whether Cheney would return the embrace.

Historians have¬†written how LBJ would summon the vice president for a meeting — while the president was sitting on the commode!

Obama and Biden, as the article notes, came from vastly different backgrounds. They competed against each other for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Biden dropped out and then Obama picked him as his running mate — and has given him substantial responsibility during the nearly two terms the men have served together.

Let’s be clear: The picture on this blog post doesn’t tell the whole story. Perhaps they’ve had their differences in private. The vice president is known¬†— at times — to

let his mouth engage prematurely, sometimes to the chagrin of the president.

However, when you’re the president of the United States and you pick someone to serve as the No. 2 individual in your administration, you want to forge a relationship that’s built on mutual respect.

It doesn’t hurt if there’s actual affection involved as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Bipartisan show of respect? Not … really

It’s fair to ask this question now that Beau Biden, the son of the vice president of the United States, has been eulogized and laid to rest.

Why weren’t more Republican political leaders present at the Wilmington, Del., funeral of the son of a prominent Democratic politician?

I was struck by the news coverage this morning of the service, and by the link attached to this blog, by the virtual absence of any prominent D.C. Republican at Beau Biden’s funeral.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/244208-beau-biden-funeral-draws-political-heavyweights

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was the only one mentioned. That’s it. He and the vice president are good friends, going back to their service together in the Senate. Indeed, the vice president served 36 years in the Senate and is known to have many GOP friends in both congressional chambers.

Where were they?

Hey, I’m just asking. These kinds of events almost always bring political foes together.

Almost always …

Now that I think of it, you know what would have been incredibly touching? I would have loved to have seen U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who made the crass and ill-timed joke about the vice president — only to apologize later for it — showing up to pay his respects in person.

 

Have they no decency?

I just heard that the fanatics from Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist “Church” are planning to protest at the funeral of the late Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Biden and the Delaware attorney general who died this past week of brain cancer.

Words long ago failed me in describing¬†my disgust at this “church,” known for its virulently anti-gay, anti-Jewish and anti-politician stance.

I’m left now to recall the words of Joseph Welch, the one-time lead counsel at the Army-McCarthy Senate hearings of the 1950s. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., was on the hunt for communists. He thought he found one working for Welch’s law firm.

Welch had heard enough from McCarthy and said: “Have you no sense of decency?”

The same thing can be asked today of Westboro Baptist “Church.” Have they no decency?

I believe I know the answer.