Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Biden-Warren Won't Work

Related: Biden Warrents Another Look 

I barely glanced at this:

"Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren have a frosty past" by Annie Linskey Globe Staff  August 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — As Joe Biden mulls a presidential run, he’s aiming his legendary charm squarely at Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. For it to work, he must overcome an awkward history between the two.

A look at the public record shows that clashes between the pair began more than a decade ago. The fraught relationship has improved in recent years, but their past would complicate a potential alliance should he decide to run for president — and, as some have speculated, ask her to join him on a ticket.

Biden was an early opponent of Warren as she cut her teeth in national politics, and he became one of the first in a long list of Democrats to be called out by her for not sufficiently supporting the pro-middle class policies that she has made a reputation promoting.

There’s the lengthy letter she penned in 2002 to The New York Times. In the missive she accused him of taking a position that made it harder for women to overcome debt and suggested a reason why: His home state is a place “where many banks and credit-card issuers are incorporated,” she wrote.

Three years later they were still at it, continuing to debate on consumer debt, with Biden accusing her in 2005 of making a “mildly demagogic” argument as a witness before his Judiciary committee.

At one point Biden interrupted Warren as she testified. “That is not my question,” he snapped. “I would like you to answer my question.”

Although there has been less outright bickering between the two in recent years, they’ve hardly developed close ties. Warren hammered the Obama-Biden administration for selecting Antonio Weiss as a top Treasury Department pick. She accused Mary Jo White, President Obama’s Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman, of dragging her heels on implementing financial reforms. She railed against an Obama-backed must-pass spending bill over what she viewed as a Wall Street giveaway. She battled with the president on trade, prompting him to say that her views were “absolutely wrong.”

Biden didn’t dissent from the West Wing views, publicly at least.

And their one-on-one Saturday lunch at the US Naval Observatory was Warren’s first solo meal with the vice president and her first trip to the vice president’s official residence, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

“I’ve never heard of much of a relationship between them,” said Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts representative who worked with Warren on legislation to regulate large financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 recession.

Biden and Warren never overlapped in the Senate. Biden, who was in the midst of his own reelection campaign, didn’t help Warren in her 2012 Senate bid.

Biden and Warren both declined to comment for this story via their representatives.

Support from Warren in 2016 — or even a joint ticket, as some have speculated — offers Biden some clear advantages. He has long painted himself as a man fighting for the middle class. A nod from Warren, a person who has accused him of siding with business interests against middle-class families loaded down with credit card debt, could help ease a suspicious base.

It’s less clear how a Biden-Warren team would benefit Warren. She decided not to seek the White House herself, and has been sought out for advice by all of the major Democratic candidates.

Warren’s public clashes with Biden, which go back more than a decade, were centered on a massive overhaul to the country’s bankruptcy laws that was debated in Congress for years.

The banking and credit card industry wanted to make it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy and therefore easier for them to continue to collect debts. Warren, then a Harvard law professor known for her work studying bankruptcy, argued that consumers shouldn’t face new hurdles.

The legislation put Biden in a delicate spot; many of the largest Delaware employers, including credit card giant MBNA, were headquartered in his home state. When he supported an industry version of the bill, some liberal bloggers called him the “Senator from MBNA,” according to news accounts from the time.

In her 844-word letter to The New York Times published in May 2002, Warren equated Biden’s support of the bill to a stance against women since they disproportionately file for bankruptcy protection.

“The message is unmistakable,” Warren wrote. “On an economic issue that attracts millions of dollars of industry support, women have no real political importance.”

In a February 2005 Judiciary Committee hearing on a different version of the bill, Biden spent much of his allotted time sparring with Warren, fighting about topics that included the particularities of Delaware’s chancery court, society’s role in shouldering the costs of bankruptcy, and the interest rates that credit cards were permitted to charge.

“Your problem with credit card companies is usury rates. . . . It is not about the bankruptcy bill,” Biden said to Warren, who was at the witness table.

“Senator, if you are not going to fix that problem, you can’t take away the last shred of protection from these families,” Warren replied.

Biden dismissed the argument, but nodded to her debating skills, noting “You are very good, Professor.”

(Warren tangled on the same legislation with Hillary Rodham Clinton, who eventually changed her position and supported it. In the end, Warren was on the losing side of the bankruptcy legislation. An industry-friendly bill passed.)

Despite their uneven history, Biden and Warren do have some allies in common.

When Biden became vice president, his chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, replaced him in the Senate — and took a tough stance on financial institutions during the negotiations on the battle to pass the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul.

It was a view similar to Warren’s, and because Kaufman’s actions were widely viewed as being done with the blessing of the vice president, they helped improve Biden’s standing among Warren’s backers.

Then in 2010 Kaufman took over Warren’s job as the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, a committee created to keep a close eye on hundreds of billions of dollars being funneled through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In that role, too, his views and attitudes were similar to Warren’s.

Kaufman didn’t reply to requests for comment.

Also, there was Biden’s late son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in May. As Delaware’s attorney general, he played an aggressive role forcing mortgage lenders to pay tens of millions of dollars to his state for misleading investors about risk prior to the financial crisis.

But Warren and Biden’s paths have only occasionally crossed in public.

They gave back-to-back addresses to the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit in 2014.

Last March, they stood next to each other, clad in dark winter overcoats, listening to the Boston Children’s chorus at the dedication ceremony for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

And Biden spoke just after Warren at a service for MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers, who also bombed the Boston Marathon days before. Before he gave his eulogy, Biden planted a kiss on Warren’s cheek and acknowledged her remarks.

A kiss? Given his touchy-feely history with women?

“Elizabeth, that was beautiful,” he said.


What is this about him skipping New Hampshire?

"Biden names media director with campaign experience" by Josh Lederman Associated Press  August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden has chosen a top film industry official and former spokeswoman for John Edwards’s 2008 presidential campaign to be his new communications director, the White House said Monday.

And you thought I was being hyperbolic when I claimed it's all staged and scripted theater, this political thing we call "elections." 

I wonder how Joe will do at tribal council.

Kate Bedingfield returns to the White House from the Motion Picture Association of America, where she was vice president of corporate communications and the top spokeswoman. She previously held senior media roles in the Obama White House and also worked for Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire.


Bedingfield’s tenure at the MPAA coincided with the growth of online piracy, which has posed major problems for US film studios and prompted MPAA lawsuits.

Former senator Chris Dodd, the MPAA’s chairman, called Bedingfield a ‘‘trusted adviser and a strategic thinker.’’

The cap$tone of a career of failure; a flak for Hollywood.

Just back from two weeks of vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama held his weekly lunch with Biden on Monday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday raised the prospect that Obama could endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, though others close to the president say it is unlikely he would put his thumb on the scale if his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Biden were locked in a close contest.

In selecting between Biden and Clinton, Obama would have to make a choice between two of the most influential members of his administration.

Obama and Biden have developed a genuine friendship during their six-and-a-half years in the White House. When Biden’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer earlier this year, Obama delivered a moving eulogy in which he referred to the vice president as a ‘‘brother.’’

Earnest said Obama viewed his selection of Biden as a running mate as the smartest decision of his political career.

Obama and Clinton long ago turned their political rivalry from the 2008 primary into an alliance. Clinton left the administration in early 2013 after four years as Obama’s secretary of state, but she and the president still occasionally meet.

Biden has a busy September schedule that could showcase his potential presidential skills.

It includes upcoming votes in Congress on an Iran deal that Biden has been strongly promoting; and visits to Washington by Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He just lost the nomination.

Other issues the vice president will be involved with include the looming budget showdown, as well as administration efforts on climate change, renewing the Export-Import Bank’s charter, criminal justice reform, and closing the terrorism detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

Related: Summer Recess 

I will be returning with a post in early September.

Biden has extensive foreign-policy expertise from years running the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as powers of persuasion on legislation that Obama has often lacked.

That reminds me, how did he vote on the Iraq invasion?

Some people close to Biden say Oct. 1 would probably be the deadline for him to enter the race. The longer he waits to announce, the harder it gets for him to put together a viable organization, raise money, and qualify for primary ballots with deadlines in some states as early as November.

Setting up a campaign organization in a state may take a minimum of three to four weeks.

The first Democratic presidential debate is set for Oct. 13 in Nevada.

Mixed message.


The announcement is likely to come in the next month, and I'm on the edge of my seat!

Nothing about Hillary today. Hmmm.


"Why Biden Would Be a TERRIBLE President"  Biden's fingerprints are all over all the worst of the pile of legislation of the last 20 or so years that has led to the moral, economic and political destruction of the United States.  As difficult as it is to imagine, he is actually worse than Hillary.  --xymphora