Archive for the ‘Joe Biden’ category

Friends Who Are Not Friends

October 21, 2015

Recently the New York Times reported that the news media were disappointed and losing interest in Vice President Joe Biden over his apparent inability to make a decision to enter the Democrat primary. Now once again the press is on edge, “will Joe run?”

News Media interest is transparently self serving. Most recognize that Bernie Sanders cannot defeat Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democrat field is even less threatening. With Biden, the media can look forward to animated debates and plenty of printable sound bites. With Joe in, TV time and newspaper sales go up.

And Biden’s entry could not come at a better time, the media thinks. Clinton has begun to open up her lead and has almost regained her insurmountable lead she had several months ago. For Democrats (without Biden), it’s game over, Hillary wins.

Unfortunately for Biden, the nomination will still go to Hillary should he enter the race. (His “friends” unfortunately will not tell Joe that.) With his entry, however, Biden runs the risk of ending his long political career as a “loser”, someone who ran a unnecessary race and lost. If there is any difference between a Clinton or Biden Presidency, it is tissue paper thick. Hillary and Bernie Sanders present more of a choice than a Biden-Clinton match.

So why not Joe?

The agonizing aspect for Joe Biden is he most likely believes he could beat a Donald Trump or any GOP candidate. The current cast of Republican primary candidates, save one, will speak for party positions which demographically cannot win. Donald Trump is the one candidate who can side step (look at the camera and say something else) the suicidal GOP positions on immigration, healthcare, women’s rights, and taxes.

In a Trump head to head with “just being Joe” Biden, Trump just might win, whereas against Hillary, the professional politician combined with the “first woman” label, Hillary ought to win in a walk.

Real friends should be counseling Biden that his path to the Presidency lies only against a damaged Clinton (like with an FBI indictment) or a wounded Clinton (like with a medical illness). Democrats would rush to Joe Biden.

Where are those friends?

Has Hillary Won The Nomination?

October 15, 2015

Reflecting upon Hillary Clinton’s debate performance, most new analysts have come down on the side that she either won or did substantially better than most had expected. Begrudgingly, most admit that Clinton came through the debate with very Presidential marks. Not wanting to kill the golden news goose, these same reporters and analysts quickly say that the race is not over and we must look to see how average voters react. Hmmm.

As Yogi Berra once said, “it ain’t over until it’s over”. The same is true for the Democrat Presidential primary. But think about what might be being said now had Hillary given a weak performance like President Obama did in his first debate with Mitt Romney. Questions would be flying asking whether is she too old or worn out from the Benghazi Committee investigation. But that will have to wait because Clinton did not wilt.

Strategically the biggest loser might have been Joe Biden. Had he announced his intention to run for President, he would have been on stage. And almost certainly, his entrance would have been the story and overshadowed Hillary. Instead, Biden has chosen to wait, maybe forever. In doing so he will have given Clinton a chance to shine and donors a chance to commit to her campaign leaving Biden with crumbs for donations.

Should for whatever reasons, Hillary Clinton stumble in the next few months, Biden could act as the experienced (and safe) candidate who could replace her. This situation could arise should Hillary develop a sudden health problem, for example.

Life is all about what might have been. I think for Joe Biden it is time to begin thinking about retirement and for Hillary time to think about a hate and slander filled run for President.

Is Joe Ready?

September 19, 2015

Carefully placed news leaks reported that Vice President Joe Biden is about ready to announce a run for the 2016 Democrat  Presidential nomination. Timing was somewhat vague but the middle to end of October were cited. With this move, at this time, the Democrats are handing the GOP a reprieve from the side show Republicans are offering as a process to pick their standard bearer.

So far the GOP has combined un-presidential name calling and general election un-winnable policies for a sure 2016 loss with any of the current candidates. Joe’s potential move could do something similar for the Democrats.

I would imagine from Biden’s perspective it is now or never. Also it is not unreasonable for Biden to think that Hillary Clinton is damaged from the email controversy and may be beatable by someone more “genuine”. And lastly, Biden may think the Democrat deep pocket donors will switch their allegiance to him. So what’s wrong with this analysis?

First, we have to remember this is Joe Biden. He has a long record of speaking first and thinking later. Just like the problem with selecting the GOP standard bearer, Biden will be fighting for media recognition. The incentive to say memorable things could easily push Joe’s rhetoric over the line.

Second, the main Democrat field consist of Bernie Sanders (left leaning), Hillary Clinton (center sitting), and if Biden runs, someone who might fit in between the two. This will make it difficult to differentiate the candidates based upon policy without disowning the policies of the other candidates. So, what basis would Biden offer for Democrats to choose him?

Third, the Democrat with the best chance of winning the Presidential election will depend upon who the GOP nominates and what form the GOP platform takes. Sporting policies which intrude upon women’s rights, antagonize Hispanics, ignore the growing inequality of wealth, and marginalize the LBGT community, a plain vanilla Democrat should be able to win. If Biden decides he needs to trash Hillary or try to “out-Sanders” Bernie Sanders, he could easily shatter the Democrat vote and end up losing a perfectly winnable election.

If one could use sports analogies, Joe Biden is a dependable relief pitcher or backup quarterback. While it might be possible for Bernie Sanders to get the nomination, he would have no chance in a general election. His views are too left of center. Biden, on the other hand, could campaign close enough to the center to make a serious challenge to any GOP candidate. Were there to be additional and more serious revelations about Hillary, backup Biden could save the day for Democrats.

The question of the day is should Biden wait to be called, enter the race but just register present, or should Biden make an all out run and let the chips fall where they might?

Should Biden Run?

August 27, 2015

With Donald Trump shaking up the GOP Presidential primary scene, Vice President Joe Biden ponders whether he should enter the Democrat race. Should he, or should he stand to the side?

Comparing Donald Trump and Joe Biden would be a mistake. Their candidacies, however, could have similar effects upon who ultimately is selected as their party’s standard bearer.  Both could dislodge the consensus pick.

Before Trump entered the race, the GOP presumed nominee was Jeb Bush. He had credentials, well known name, and access to lots of money. Opponents like Scott Walker or Marco Rubio, while attractive in their own right, could not match Bush’s overall offering and pundits felt, would need to wait for their turn (or maybe accept the Vice Presidency). The rest of the GOP field simply were losers and in time would have had to make a concession speech.

Trump has changed all that. Trump’s fiery speech has highlighted the GOP positions on women, immigration, and indirectly on evangelical obsessions.  Trump enabled some candidates to hang themselves by agreeing with some of the Donald’s positions and a few others to put down place holders that show them as thoughtful, genuine candidates. Jeb Bush, however, while trying desperately to be viewed in the latter camp, has stumbled and made to appear irrelevant.

Thank you Donald.

On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders has done an outstanding job of articulating the concerns of many progressives. While he has underscored many legitimate American concerns (like healthcare costs, abuses of large financial institutions, and protection of entitlements for the elderly and poor), the majority of Democrats (and all Americans) appear not ready for stepping whole heartedly into the socialist pool. The primary is Hillary’s to lose and as things stand now, Hillary Clinton will become the Democrat nominee.

So what happens if Joe Biden enters?

Strategically, Biden is looking up a steep hill.  He has less resources (money and staff) and will be challenged on how to gain sufficient attention to win primary votes. It is not that Biden is necessarily a bad candidate, but from a Democrat perspective, the party already has a candidate who could win the national elections.

In all things in life there is always “what might happen next”?

Hillary will continue to be hounded by GOP controlled investigative committees. These investigations could raise a negative cloud and infer that Clinton is unfit (untrustworthy) for office. Worse, while the charges fly, Clinton could inadvertently say something that begs more questions. Consequently, the race would then be over Hillary’s worthiness (not competency), and not over the GOP’s platform. This focus will enable the GOP candidate to escape defending their platform around women’s rights, immigration, healthcare, and foreign policy. Hmmm. So is Biden the better choice.

He might be but not at this time.

With Biden entering the race, the Democrat Party will be emulating the GOP with one more white male candidate. In addition, there is the risk that in order to win, Biden might think he has to destroy Clinton’s reputation (zero sum game) and will plant the seeds for a GOP victory. And, while Hillary can be characterized as “ice cold”, Biden, on the other hand, lives in the moment and can be expected to say all sorts of things. Those “unpresidential things” could come back to haunt Biden if he were to somehow win the nomination.

The reality that both parties are facing in 2016 is that neither national party truly control the nomination process. Big money and big egos are far more dominant in the section process. This would suggest that Biden will declare his candidacy and the Democrats will have race too.

So for full disclosure, I have a dog in this fight. It is Hillary Clinton, for better or worse. She is a centrist, maybe even a little right of center and can be expected to keep government out of our personal lives. She is a woman and after a black President, the country should be ready for a woman. Hillary will come with a lot of Clintonesque baggage (secrecy, triangulation) but otherwise she is a very competent person. She will be boss.

The question of should Biden run or not is nearly impossible to answer. His candidacy could put Hillary in a better light or if she were to faulty, Biden would be in an excellent position to win the nomination and enter the Presidential race on a strong basis (not the second pick). Hmmm.

I guess we have let Joe be Joe and honor his choice.

Joe’s Thinking

June 29, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden has been “biding” his time, so to speak. He would dearly love to jump at the chance to run for President.  Sadly from Joe’s perspective, he looks to be odd man out. Hillary instead appears on course to become the first woman President and will follow the first African American President. Hmmm.

President Joe Biden would undoubtably be a “trip”. His habit of speaking folksy about whatever is on his mind both endears and irritates voters. Some of his utterances are down right politically incorrect while others seem insightful or genuinely sincere. A Biden candidacy, however, would be snatching defeat from the jaws of a November 2016 Democrat victory. The GOP should be jumping for joy over the prospects of Joe running.

The issue is not that Biden is a trivial candidate. Compared to the current and likely GOP field, Biden offers more experience and the added advantage of having been a heart beat away for the past 6 and 1/2 years. Biden is also politically astute and can sense the vulnerability of any GOP opponent. So why not Joe?

The most direct answer is there cannot be “co-Presidents” and this time Hillary will get the nomination. Having to duke it out in a primary with Biden will be a pretty ugly ordeal. Hillary would need to be at her best in a Democrat primary which included both she and Biden and would also need to keep the lookout for political rhetoric being lobbed at her from the GOP side. This could turn into a field day for the media and a nightmare for Hillary.

Both Hillary and Joe represent a generation in its last hurrah. It’s 2016 or goodnight. Only one of them can become President and at this point Hillary has the greater chance to beat the GOP.

For Biden, it must be demoralizing to know he could defeat Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders without breaking a sweat. But beating Hillary, if possible, would leave the party in shambles and probably mortally wounded for the 2016 Presidential election.

The wild card, of course, is health. Should either Biden or Clinton experience a health problem and put in question their fitness to serve 4 years, the door would open wide for the other. At this point, health seems not an issue but time could change this assessment.

It takes thick skin and enormous egos to run for President. Hillary and Biden have both. The question of the day is whether Joe Biden has the patience to wait and the good judgement to not challenge unless new information arises?

A Year Later

September 26, 2009

The current discussions swirling around whether the US should increase its Afghanistan military presence, stand pat, or reduce troop strength is in itself a refreshing example of good governance. It is an important strategic and foreign policy decision.

On one side of Afghanistan is Iran. They are experiencing internal difficulties within their ruling faction.   At the same time they are apparently moving forward to join the nuclear club. Iran could become an unstable, missile possessing, nuclear threat in the Middle East.  How would the US deal with that threat if it had 200,000 troops tied down in Afghanistan?

On the other side of Afghanistan is Pakistan. This large, relatively poor country is struggling with two external threats. India with its larger Army and nuclear weapons, and the presence of the ugly religious intolerance of Hinduism and Islam, put India and Pakistan on the knife edge poised for instant battle. Pakistan, however, must also contend with Taliban and other frontier tribes on its northwestern boarders who operate across the Afghan-Pakistan boarder. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and means to deliver them.  What would the US do if the Taliban somehow destabilized the Pakistan Government?

So you have to ask, “what is the reason, again, why the US is in Afghanistan and poised to commit so many troops”?

With the Bush Administration, there was little debate about our presence in Afghanistan. Vice President, Dick Cheney, decided we should be there and Presidential Advisor, Karl Rove added his support because the war provided excellent nation security spin for political purposes. With the Obama Administration, the nature of the Administration debate is different. Vice President Joe Biden is counseling against adding more troops. He is cautioning President Obama that more troops is about nation building and to do that you must have a partner in the Afghan Government. Biden’s concern is whether the Karzai Government is credible and strong enough to be that partner.

President Obama seems confident enough to not be hurried into a premature decision. He is wisely delaying any decision and instead domestically focusing on health care and the economy, and overseas through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, building alliances and understanding among key foreign countries.

What a difference a year can make!

Iowa Speaks

January 4, 2008

Iowa voters made it official with their selection of Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama as winners of the Republican and Democratic caucuses.  Both victories have to be described as impressive since both candidates attracted many new voters.  It remains unclear what this will mean long term but their individual candidacies have been given a shot of credibility.  Here are some other observations and possible projections.

1. The ranks of candidates should decrease sharply in the days ahead.  Already Joe Biden and Chris Dodd announced they were withdrawing.  Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich should not be far behind.  Ducan Hunter must be independently wealthy if he stays in much longer with an absolute zero chance.

2. While Romney may be qualification-wise the best Republican candidate, the Iowa vote is a strong indicator that he will lose to anyone with an ounce of charisma.

3. Rudy was able to under achieve his already low expectations.  His strategy of waiting until Florida is a very long shot and will require that the current leaders to self destruct.

4. Fred Thompson missed his opportunity to bow out and endorse John McCain.  Fred managed to get more votes than John.

5. John Edwards is holding the perverbial 2nd best hand and will plow on to a near certain defeat in each of the next states.  I do not see his presence as enhancing the choice between Hillary and Barack and therefore he will be a distraction.

6. Bill Richardson is on track to be a strong VP candidate.

7. Hillary is in for the long haul and we will soon know whether she is honorable enough to be President.  Her best chance is to appeal to voters on the basis of maturity and experience and that as a woman, she brings a new and distinctively additive view on domestic and foreign issues.  She has the resources and the organization to still win.  If, however, she stoops to slimming Barack, then for my money she is not worthy of the top position.

8. Michael Bloomberg, I would think, is very pleased with the Iowa outcome.  Bloomberg could beat a creationist who does not pay much attention to the news.  If Iowa means Hillary is mortally wounded, then Bloomberg is freed of a large worry.  But Bloomberg is not so simple as to overlook Obama’s appeal to voters.  A Bloomberg candadacy will require more insight into potential Obama weaknesses.

On to New Hampshire and the next round.