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.