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Posts tagged as “Joe Biden”

First take/Biden

For all the talk in recent weeks that Vice President Joe Biden would jump into the presidential race, I haven't thought he would - as a matter of practicality. His interest in becoming president was certainly real, as witness by his own previous runs for the job, and he had a base of support. A lot of people like Joe Biden, and think he would be a good president. But start with the fact that Biden has had the opportunity since 2009 to gradually lay groundwork for a presidential run - lining up fundraising, bringing supporters and campaign operatives on board - and he never did. If he wanted to get into the race, he could have done it a year ago, or up to early this year, and would have had a reasonable shot at the nomination. He and Hillary Clinton might have been serious competitors, and Bernie Sanders might have stayed out (that last depending in part on how the campaigns were being structured). If he had wanted that badly to do it, in other words, he could have. Now, too much of the financial and personnel you need to run (on the Democratic side) has been absorbed by other candidates, and the practical amount of time needed to mount a serious campaign in the early states is really too little. And to run for president you have to want it very badly indeed. Biden took the wise course. - rs

Ridin’ with Biden

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Too many of the too few publicly professing Democrats in Idaho are taking perverse pleasure in the consternation that the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump is causing the regular Republican party across the nation.

Like these Republican regulars, they do not believe Trump has a chance in hell of being the Republican nominee---he’s too much of a loose cannon, has no guiding philosophy and no principles; he’s a narcissistic ego-maniac who will eventually be reigned in, circumscribed and neutered. So goes the conventional wisdom

In the meantime these partisans take pleasure in every unorthodox thing Trump says, recognizing that it will make things difficult for whoever wins the nomination. If, as some secretly hope, Trump ends up mounting a third party independent challenge (Though he has pledged not to do so)¸ conventional wisdom is this will ensure a Democratic victory regardless of who the nominee will be.

To use a Biblical image, this is the classic case of one party seeing the speck of wood in the other’s eye not recognizing the log in their own. The ground truth is that in Idaho and in the nation the Democratic Party is in as much disarray as the Republicans.

In Idaho, a handful of relative active Democrats just went through a more than appears to the eye divisive election of a new State Chairman, former State Senator Bert Marley, from Bannock county.

Marley’s main opposition came from Dean Ferguson, the party’s communications director, who decided to seek the chairmanship but wanted to continue to receive the salary he receives and do the job he still held. Both posts are consideered full-time, but the chairmanship is unpaid.

Not surprisingly a number members of the State Party’s executive committee questioned whether one person could do both well. The vacancy in the chairmanship was created by the resignation of Larry Kenck, a retired Teamster organizer from Post Falls who by all accounts was performing the duties competently and well. He resigned because he appeared to have contracted a life-threatening health challenge (Fortunately he appears to have met the challenge and is on the mend). During the transistion period, state vice-chair Jeanne Buell, from Worley acted as interim chair.

Ms. Buell is a no-nonsense, smart, tough and well informed individual who has devoted hours of time and personal resources to the party. She is well-respected in all quarters, tells it like it is and has little time for fools. She issued an order that party staff was to stay out of choosing sides in the contest.

Imagine her surprise then when a top staffer sent around an e-mail endorsing Mr. Ferguson. That Marley hasn’t backed Ms. Buell up and fired the contrarian has virtually ensured she will resign when the party has its fall gathering on October 2 in Lewiston.

This state disarray is even worse at the national level where Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of California presides over a national committee that by all accounts is full of people who literally detest her. Some of this relates to her limiting the number of debates and threatening punishment to any Democrat that participates in an unsanctioned debate. She is arrogant, imperious and arbitrary.

Reportedly, President Obama ignores her and will have nothing to do with her. He figures she is the problem for whoever gets the Democratic nomination.

What is beginning to dawn on Democrats across the nation is that the nominee will not be Hillary Clinton. In the words of long-time political observer Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, Ms. Clinton has bombed as a candidate on the campaign trail. Not only has she mishandled badly the e-mail server issue, she and her advisors badly under estimated the challenge posed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

National Democratic leaders believe Sanders is unelectable because of his socialistic views just as Republican leaders believe Trump is unelectable.

There’s only one direction national Democrats can turn—and that’s to Vice President Joe Biden who is just biding his time waiting for the inevitable implosion of Hillary’s candidacy. Some observers believe Biden’s son, Beau, extracted a promise from his Dad as he lay dying that the Vice President would run.

While in Pittsburg over Labor Day Biden reportedly met with a top Labor leader who said he had $60 million ready to work on Biden’s behalf.

If you saw Biden working the Labor Day parade route in Pittsburg there’s no doubt in your mind that Joe is running and there are lots of Democrats prayng that he does. I, for one, will be “ridin’ with Biden.”

Hopefully he can bring order out of the party chaos just around the corner---at least nationally. Idaho may still be beyond salvaging.

Dark horse Democrat

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One of my editors called last week with a question:

“If Hillary implodes who is your long-shot hunch to carry the Democratic banner into the fall?” This one is much easier than last week’s speculation on who might emerge from a brokered Republican National Convention.

First, though, is it possible that one of Mrs. Clinton’s currently declared (or about to declare) rivals could catch fire? The answer is no.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was not all that well-liked by Marylanders. As a former Baltimore mayor he also was one of the architects of the Baltimore Police Department’s “when in doubt arrest ‘em” policy even for the slightest of infractions, especially if one lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Hard to see him catching fire.

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Then there’s the mecurial former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who announced the formation of an exploratory committee and then promptly dropped from view. As a former decorated Vietnam veteran Marine, the best selling author of Fields of Fire and Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, Webb was expected by an eagerly hopeful media to tie Mrs. Clinton in knots if in a debate with her over defense policy.

While considered by some pundits to be a new, younger looking face for the electorate to contrast with .Mrs. Clinton, who, along with her husband Bill, aka “Slick Willie,” seems to have been around forever, Webb is in fact 69 years old as is Hillary. Thus, he will have a hard time making the case he represents a generational change.

Then there is the just announced former Rhode Island governor and senator, Lincoln Chaffee, who styles himself as an “internationalist” and is the son of long-time respected moderate Republican Senator John Chaffee. The younger Chaffee created a bit of a buzz in his announcement by saying he would work to have America truly adopt the metric system and join the rest of the world.

This falls under the rubric “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Most Americans are content with the system of measurements we have and there’s no feeling this is a problem in search of a solution. A platform item that advocates change when there is no crying need for the change hardly appears to be a winning formula.

So, if Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy implodes, and trust me on this one, there’s a national media salivating at the almost certain prospect that she’ll stumble or say something that flies in the face of conventional wisdom which will ignite the “blood in a pool of sharks” phenomenon. In other words, the media will generate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Is there a dark horse waiting in the wings? The more liberal element of the Party is advancing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She does have a captivating, up-by-the-bootstraps, divorced single Mom story and is unquestionably brilliant. On the other hand, she has a caustic style and does not exactly convey a warm, fuzzy feeling. She’s hard to like and most people want their president to be likeable (remember “I like Ike!).

That leaves only one other possibility for someone to pick up the pieces of a shattered Clinton candidacy who can quickly unite the Democratic Party with a plausible, possibly winning candidacy: Vice President Joe Biden.

No one watching this past Saturday the funeral of his 46-year-old son, Beau, a former two-term Delaware Attorney General, can fail not to have been deeply moved by the dignity and grace with which he met this latest tragedy in his star-crossed life. Nor can one have failed to have seen the incredible love of family manifesting itself.

Joe Biden is a survivor who has taken the worst of the slings and arrows of misfortune one can be handed---the loss of his first wife and daughter in an accident before he had even turned 30 and take the seat he had just won in the U.S. Senate. Sure, he is the quintessential, optimistic, back-slapping politician subject to an occasional verbal gaffe.

However, he’s the real deal and a rarety among office holders and seekers today. He’s truly the authentic person you see, an honest, compassionate human being who has always seen public service as a noble calling. President Obama’s fine eulogy underscored the loyalty that exists between the families and the two of them.

If Hillary stumbles and implodes, he will step up to the challenge with the most human of the competing narratives and will be a formidable candidate. If by chance you missed this past weekend’s coverage, find a copy of the best presidential politics book ever written, called What It Takes, and reread Richard Ben Cramer’s profile of Joe Biden. You’ll see why he will be a much better candidate than Mrs. Clinton.