Archive for the ‘Joe Biden’ category

The Storm Ahead

May 11, 2020

Watching Master Piece Theater’s “World On Fire”, one must wonder how a modern and advanced country such as Germany could become so ruthless and misguided.  How could the German citizens allow their country to be distorted like play-doh and lose totally its moral direction?  How could one citizen speak out against another over illnesses like epilepsy or the color of ones skin, or the religion of ones birth?

The answer, of course, is human nature and anyone who thinks that other peoples are immune to the loss of their moral and ethical compass are kidding themselves.  Fear, misinformation, and illusions of grandeur are time tested methods to mold a society into the shape a pretender to leadership may want.  Only rock solid institutions built around rule of law, free speech, and freedom of the press can contain a leader from wandering down a path of authoritarianism.

In three short years, President Trump has, before Americans’ eyes, begun dismantling most all American institutions and the fundamental branches of executive power. 

  • The Justice Department is now the Trump Justice Department aligned only to the wishes of the President. 
  • The State Department is close behind with Secretary of State Pompeo echoing whatever tirade the President wish to make. 
  • The Intelligence Services are next to fall in line with whatever truth the President wishes to be the case. 
  • Regulatory agencies might as well stop functioning since they are each headed by a Trump sycophant.  

The Trump train is moving with a building sense of urgency.  The November elections are less than six months away and the potential that President Trump will become a one term President is a distinct possibility. 

But what if the President wins?    Would it be too much to expect a minority of Americans with special self interests to join Trump in seizing power.  Authoritarians and conservatives could combine and help elect someone promising to deliver their distorted dreams around “law and order”, “xenophobia”, and “religious freedom”. Is it too much to fear an authoritarian presidency?

Once reelected the Federal agencies could go from impotent to dynamically supportive of President Trump’s grand plans.

  • “Richest man in the world”,
  • “President for life”, and
  • “A place on Mt Rushmore”

The coronavirus has dealt the Trump machine an unexpected and extremely unhelpful variable.  But what if the virus just went away and the economy miraculously recovered, would Americans care about the dangerous path the country has pursued the past 3 years the incompetent and self serving leadership the President has rendered? 

And should new infections from Covid-19 continue, would President Trump conceive a way to delay the national election or distort the polling place rules so that it favored his reelection?

Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she assumed she was the most qualified candidate and a woman who was destined to become President.  In other words, Hillary Clinton fell in love with her self image and did not do the work to grind out a victory.  Joe Biden cannot repeat that miscalculation.

Donald Trump will fight in every gutter he can find, promise every group of Americans what they want to hear, and resort to every underhanded maneuver which may help  him win.  Should President Trump win reelection, the Storm Ahead will look like a walk in the park compared to what destruction a second term offers America and the American way.  

Appearance Of Impropriety

October 7, 2019

Voters are being swamped with what appears to be wholly unpresidential behavior while President Trump’s Congressional supporters are doing their best make the least of an untenable political situation.  Voters see what the President has done and then look to their elected representatives only to see Democrats pointed their finger at President Trump and Republicans pointing their finger some other direction.  Who’s right?  Hmmm.

President Trump’s total denial of having done anything wrong is consistent with his already demonstrated lack of ethics and insatiable desire to have his own way.  Congressional Republicans, most of whom know better, never the less are showing no willingness to call out the President.  Impeachment is truly beside the point.  Republicans are constantly recalibrating Trumps actions and their own individual chances for reelection.  What’s missing here?

Assume for a moment that Hunter Biden or former Vice President Biden were guilty of some impropriety in the Ukraine or in China.  In no case does it justify the President to call them (Vice President Biden his political opponent) out in public, or even worse. to coerce a foreign government into publicly announcing an investigation.  If the President had reasonable cause to suspect improprieties, his justice department is well suited to investigate in secrecy, confirm with evidence, and press charges if substantiated.  The President is simply out of place with his rhetoric and once again, inflicts a stain on America’s reputation.

But one must ask, what was Vice President Biden thinking when his son, Hunter Biden, joined boards of companies in the Ukraine and China while the Vice President was in office?  The very presence of Hunter Biden on these boards has the stench of impropriety.  Shame on both Bidens.

One need not look very far to see at least as many and probably far more incidents of potential impropriety with President Trump and his family.  Maybe Americans have just become too jaded to even speak up.  The political camps seem to be more interested in the money and governance comes second.  Hmmm.

In any large well run corporation, the “go-no go” line begins with the “appearance” of impropriety.  Much shorter than an allegation or a proof of impropriety.  President Trump is more than guilty in this case and no other mitigation can provide absolution, but at the same time, the Bidens cannot deny the “appearance” they created. 

Liberals Attack Biden

June 3, 2019

There are currently a lot of candidates running for the 2020 Democrat Presidential nomination.  Over 23 and still room for more.  One candidate, however, has a huge lead.  That candidate is Joe Biden.  Hmmm.

Each of the Democrat hopefuls has been searching for ways to gain attention and increase their standing in opinion polls.  Elizabeth Warren has offered policy after policy (read regulation).  Kamala Harris has put forward her favorites.  Kristin Gillibrand has even defended her past attacks on former Senator Al Franken over #MeToo incidents. But attacking Joe Biden as not liberal enough makes one wonder what these candidates are thinking.

Of course one can understand that the size of Biden’s lead could close out many of the other candidates before the race has hardly begun.  But common sense would suggest that “being too liberal” is not the surest way to a November 2020 Democrat win.  Even more obvious, Joe Biden stands for (and has stood for) centrist thinking which when compared to Trump and the current crop of GOP legislators, appears very liberal indeed. Slinging the charge “not liberal enough” makes no sense.

Biden may not be the best Democrat candidate, and even if elected President, may not be the best President possible.  There should be no question, however, that Joe Biden will be a far better President than Donald Trump.

Consider the absolute mess President Trump is creating each day. Trump’s divisive domestic policies championing false religious freedom claims or stimulating coal, oil, and gas production while looking the other way on renewables, is short sighted and destructive.  On the international stage, the trade wars with China, Mexico, and potentially with other countries will upset global trade, slow global growth, and in the end cost American consumers a small fortune.  Thanks to Trump, international relations are in tatters and future prospects are no better.  There will be so much to fix in the next Administration that Americans need to focus upon a rounded, broadly experienced leader.

Democrat primary contenders ought focus upon showing their individual broad set of skills.  One (or, two or three) issue candidates may appear to have sizzle, but the next President will have such a mess to clean up that broad leadership experience will be necessary.  

“Liberals” certainly include Biden if the GOP opposition is Donald Trump.

American Dream Lost?

April 28, 2019

The 2020 Presidential race is underway and President Trump continues to run hard for reelection.  No surprise since President Trump has been campaigning since he was inaugurated in 2017.  But what type of platform will the President run on?  And what ultimately will be the Democrat counter position?

President Trump has his 35% base and will tell those Americans whatever it is that they want to hear.  The President, however, most likely needs more voters in order to win reelection.  So what will he tell voters who know the President has no clothes, is a terrible example of a human being, and in all likelihood, is enriching himself while performing his duties as chief executive?

Here’s my guess

Total Success – President Trump will assert that everything his Administration has undertaken has been an unmitigated success.  The tax cuts have stimulated the economy, his tough trade policies have created jobs, and his tough border stance has made Americans safer.  All of this, the President will say, can be traced directly to the President himself.

A Valiant Leader – The President will claim that “conspirators” buried deep within government and media circles have conducted unprecedented campaigns to thwart his Administration with phony claims and false news stories.  The President will claim that despite these scurrilous forces he has be completely exonerated.  

Americans are better off – The President will point to economic growth , the stock market, and employment numbers (assuming unemployment is still low and the GDP and Stock Market are still rising), and ask Americans what could be better?

President Trump’s reelection proposition boils down to “why try something new when (because of me) the country is doing so well”?

Bernie Sanders (Medicare for All), Elizabeth Warren (Bank, School Loan regulations), and Kamala Harris (I’m for those too) to name three out of twenty candidates have identified a few issues which are badly in need of fixes but these issues cost money (read likely new taxes), apply to many voters but far from all, and open the candidate to a charge of being a socialist.

Healthcare access and affordability, student loan debt level, affordable housing, and for some, especially LBGTQ members, equal opportunity is paramount.  But how will those issues, as important as they are, build a coalition sufficient to beat Trump and the GOP?  Under what catch all phrase will Democrat candidates chose to make it easy for voters to know what Democrats stand for?  Probably not the Green New Deal.

Democrats, IMO, need not panic.  The next 12 months or so is about who the standard bearer will be.  Following the Democrat nominating convention, the standard bearer must have an easy to understand “elevator” speech compelling the voter to vote Democrat. (Hillary never had one and in the end went with “I’m With Her”.  No wonder she lost.

Democrat hopefuls can rest assured that Trump’s claim about a wonderful economy (hit a home run with first quarter GDP growth, the President claimed) is not wonderful for most Americans.  Large corporations are for sure enjoying excellent earnings but corporate leaders are weary about future ramifications from trade disputes, deteriorating relations with foreign allies, and shortage of labor.  The 10 year economic expansion will sooner or later end and tools useful in stimulating a lagging economy (like tax cuts) are unlikely to be used since the government is already running annually close to a $1 trillion deficits.

The unspoken secret hiding in plain sight in the Trump economy is steadily growing “income inequality” to record heights. 

  • The rich are getting richer and relatively speaking everyone else is getting poorer. 
  • College graduates, in addition to a large debt upon graduation, are finding jobs they thought would follow their four year degree, are just not there or if they are, these jobs do not pay what the graduate thought they would. 
  • New graduates must pay back college loans, must pay for healthcare insurance or even if provided by an employer, must cover co-pays and rising drug costs, and not to be overlooked, new graduates must find money for anticipating their retirement some 30-40 years later.  Is this the American dream?

Are there proposals or policies that can restore the American dream (upward mobility)?

  •  “Medicare for All” does not restore the American Dream. 
  • Free college education will not place the American Dream within the grasp of all Americans. 
  • And reigning in the excesses of banks and large corporations won’t solve the American Dream dilemma either.  

So the message might be “elect a party whose policies assist all Americans, not just the top 5% of the wealthiest Americans”.  Interestingly, this message could be carried by any of the current Democrat hopefuls, although it might fit more comfortably with more moderate or centrist ones.

Remind Americans of how things really are in the Trump “home run” economy.

  • Growing income inequality
  • Shortage of good paying jobs
  • Healthcare spending twice that of 20 leading countries delivering mediocre outcomes and still not covering everyone
  • Infrastructure, roads, bridges, and ports deteriorating from neglect
  • Education, K-12 producing dismal results on average
  • College education costs rising faster than inflation and producing graduates who can’t find a job which pays well

President Trump’s American Dream encompasses the top 1-2% wealthiest Americans and the Trump family.  Aiming at all Americans, including the top 1-2% will produce an Administration with sharply different priorities and a totally different view of the global community.

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!