Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Labor Behind Biden

I'm not.

"Joe Biden to march with AFL-CIO president" September 02, 2015

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden is set to march with the leader of the country’s largest union at a Labor Day event in Pennsylvania this weekend, an event that will highlight the vice president’s close ties to organized workers as he considers a presidential campaign.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka downplayed the political significance of the event. “I’m going to Pittsburgh and he’s going to Pittsburgh and I’m going to walk with the vice president of the United States,” Trumka said in Washington Tuesday morning.

“People can read into that, or out of that, what they want. I told you he is a good friend and a great champion of the working people. And he hasn’t announced anything yet.”

Related: Biden-Warren Won't Work 

He's not been that good a friend. WTF?

Biden has spent much of the last few weeks huddling with advisers and family members as he determines whether to make a third bid for the Democratic nomination.

Those deliberations have included meetings with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Trumka, and several top Washington strategists, including Anita Dunn, a former adviser to President Obama.

This week he’s heading to Florida to pitch the administration’s Iran deal and will also appear at a community college.

Trumka, speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, said Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has so far failed to excite the labor base. “She really has to figure out a way to energize workers,” he said.

Trumka said he thinks there’s plenty of opportunity for more candidates to enter the Democratic contest. “The field is still wide open,” he said. “There is still a lot of time for things to happen.”

Clinton, the former secretary of state, announced her presidential bid in April and has built a formidable organization including some of the top Democratic strategists. She has raised more than $45 million and has deep organizations in early primary states — including eight field offices in New Hampshire.

She has a significant lead in national polls but is slipping in the early states where campaigns focus most of their resources. A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll over the weekend showed Clinton dropping to within 7 points of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. That followed a survey in New Hampshire that put Sanders 7 percentage points ahead of Clinton.


"Unions hail Joe Biden at Pa. rally; Members cajole vice president to enter 2016 race" by Karoun Demirjian Washington Post  September 08, 2015

PITTSBURGH — Although he struck a tone that sounded a lot more like a man revving up the troops for a campaign fight than an outgoing administration official starting his swan song, Vice President Joe Biden shied away from calls Monday to make another White House run.

More wars coming if Joe wins. 


‘‘Run for president!’’ a man yelled at the end of a speech by Biden to a 200-strong gathering at the headquarters of United Steelworkers, part of the city’s Labor Day festivities.

‘‘I’ve got to talk to my wife about that,’’ Biden responded. It was the most direct acknowledgment that the vice president gave all day of the many calls for him to join the 2016 race.

Biden started his day by kicking off the Allegheny County Labor Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, where throngs gathered along the barricades. Labor union members escorted him down the mile-long route, offering frequent cheers of ‘‘Run, Joe, run!’’

As Biden jogged back and forth to greet people along the barricades, he inspired a few quips and jokes about whether he might also make a run for the White House.

It’s no secret that the formidable labor unions in Pittsburgh would like to see Biden mount another bid for the White House. The United Steelworkers has been endorsing him for office since he first ran for the Senate.

‘‘Heck, yeah,’’ said Bobby McAuliffe, United Steelworkers District 10 director, when asked whether he wanted Biden to run. ‘‘He’s been good to us.’’

‘‘He’s a friend, he’s a brother, he’s a great champion of working men and working women,’’ AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told a group of union workers gathered in the hot sun to hear Biden speak. But Trumka said Biden had not hinted to him which way he was leaning about a White House bid.

He comes from the most corporate-friendly state in the union and his thumbprint is all over legislation favoring banks and telecoms.

In the two addresses he gave Monday, Biden struck a personal note, talking about how labor unions had given him a leg up in life and how he believed they would be the backbone of America’s future development.

As membership declines. 

Related: The Death of Labor 

Who cares about reality? We are in the middle of a $hit-$how fooley of a presidential campaign.

Notice how the trade deals were never mentioned?

He made no mention of the White House’s recent pro-labor initiatives, such as President Obama’s announcement in Boston on Monday about paid sick leave for federal contractors.

But Biden said the administration had inherited ‘‘the worst recession short of the Depression in all of American history’’ and defended its push to make it possible for people to attend up to two years of community college for free.

At one point, the vice president credited Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, with ‘‘doing a hell of a job.’’ He gave no such shout-out to front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Meanwhile, campaigning in Iowa, Clinton said she does not have to apologize for using a private e-mail account and server while at the State Department because ‘‘what I did was allowed.’’

That's a lot different than nothing wrong and all legal!


Biden sure is creating a buzz over at the Boston Globe:

"Biden buzz has a beehive in Boston" by Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff  September 04, 2015

Massachusetts is still solidly Clinton Country, but the state is also becoming something of an apiary for that particular brand of political honey known as Joseph Robinette Biden.

Here’s the scenario: The current Biden boomlet launched at the beginning of August, with a New York Times column reporting that one of Beau Biden’s dying wishes had been for his father to run. Since then, the buzz has focused on whether Biden will, with the expectedly positive comments for one of the best-liked figures in politics.

As long as he doesn't get all touchy-feely with the women.

“There is no question in anyone’s mind that the vice president won August,” said Brad Bauman, who along with  Josh Alcorn, the former top adviser to the late Beau Biden, folded some media barnstorming into their political and fund-raising calendar with stops at the Globe, Herald, and New Hampshire outlets.

This week, the Obama administration secured enough votes in the Senate to shield the nuclear accord negotiated between Iran and world powers from heavy opposition, a pact that will serve as a keystone of Obama’s foreign policy legacy. Biden has already received ample credit from proponents of the deal, and he will surely receive more as it moves ahead.

I can't imagine Israel is too happy with him.

On Sept. 22, Pope Francis lands in Washington, where, one would imagine, the nation’s leading Catholic politician will manage to snag a photo op or two, including one nicely over the pontiff’s shoulder when he addresses Congress.

Then, a two-day papal visit to Philadelphia. Biden, conveniently, is from Pennsylvania and was sometimes referred to as the state’s “third senator” during his time representing Delaware in the Senate.

If he gets in the race, and does so before the Oct. 13 debate, he’ll be poised to receive the customary “announcement bounce.” Past debate performances have accrued to his credit, meaning that postgame coverage of the event could be another asset.

See? It's all a GAME!

And there you have it: “90 days of him having made the case,” as Bauman described it.

Of course, this surmise depends heavily on luck; Philadelphians once pelted Santa Claus with snowballs at a football game, and the reception for Francis is not assured. It also seemingly intentionally ignores the possibility for any rebound by Clinton and her major structural headstarts in the key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. And it perhaps intentionally holds at arm’s length the history that Biden’s two previous White House bids did not go particularly well.

Biden supporters, though, believe that developments in the Republican primary may have opened a door for Biden’s unvarnished style.

That has always gotten him in trouble.

“Throw out the teleprompters” has been the message behind GOP voters’ embrace of front-runner Donald Trump, said Jonathan Karush, whose Liberty Concepts is handling the Draft Biden digital work. “And if Trump is going to reframe the way this is done, who better than Joe Biden to embody that off-the-cuff style while also holding to the values that we hold dear?”



So how is he doing in the polls?

"Biden comes out on top in Quinnipiac University poll

Vice President Joe Biden does better nationally in polls against the leading three Republican candidates than Hillary Rodham Clinton and also has a higher favorability rating.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, if Biden were the Democratic candidate, he would beat Donald Trump by eight points (48 to 40 percent), former governor Jeb Bush of Florida by six points (45 to 39) and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida by three points (44 to 41).

Clinton would only beat Trump by four points (45 to 41), Bush by two points (42 to 40) and Rubio by one (44 to 43).

Eighty-three percent of Democrats view Biden favorably, compared with 76 percent and 54 percent who approve of Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, respectively.

Among all registered voters, Biden has a 48 percent favorability rating, while Clinton came in at 39 percent and Sanders at 32 percent."


Why Joe Biden could skip N.H. if he runs for president

Why Joe Biden shouldn’t run

No endorsement?

"Warren likely to endorse a candidate in 2016 primary; In interview, senator speaks on presidential hopefuls" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  September 03, 2015

Amid speculation that she may be a vice presidential candidate in 2016, US Senator Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that she will probably endorse a Democratic nominee for president during the primary and refused to say whether she will serve out her full Senate term.

Who cares?

Warren, a Democrat and the senior senator from Massachusetts, appeared on The Boston Globe interview series Political Happy Hour at Suffolk University, less than two weeks after she met privately with Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling a presidential bid.

Asked if she plans to endorse a Democrat in the primary field, which includes former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Warren answered affirmatively but gave no indication of who that might be.

“Right now that’s not where we are,” Warren said of a possible endorsement. “I imagine that’s what I’ll do.”

Warren, a consumer advocate and hero of her party’s liberal wing, did not answer directly when asked if she will complete her full six-year term, which ends in January 2019. Serving out the full term would preclude her from running as a vice presidential candidate next year.

“I truly love this job, and it’s all I’m thinking about,” Warren said.

But will she stay in the job for the duration?

“There’s nothing that has changed any of my thinking on this,” she said. “I’m working hard.”

She also shed light on her private luncheon last month with Biden, who polled well against Clinton in a recent Quinnipiac University survey of three swing states.

Warren said that she and Biden discussed several topics including helping the middle class and “the capture of this country” by the wealthy and powerful. Warren demurred when asked if there was talk, even jokingly, of her joining Biden on the Democratic ticket if he enters the primary and wins the nomination.

“It was a long conversation,” Warren said.

On Wednesday, she also hit on many of the talking points that have established her as a fiery progressive and the bane of student lenders, large banks, and corporations chafing at her calls for stricter regulation of their industries.

I was thinking of that, and she never challenges Israel. She's got her little niche where she is ineffective, and is putty in the hands of the pharmaceuticals. 

On student loans, she asserted that the federal government is “charging too much interest” and “should not be making a profit off the backs of our kids.”

She made the same speech over at Fitchburg.

She also vigorously defended the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care law that has helped millions of Americans get insurance but has also been plagued by myriad problems including a disastrous roll-out of a government website.

“Is it perfect yet? No, but I don’t require that for an A,” said Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor. “It [leads] us in the right direction, and it has provided protections that we did not have before.”

She's a party hack, that's all. 

Sorry. I know a lot of you love her, and I was hopeful when I voted for her. Times have changed.

She told the host of the event, Boston Globe reporter Joshua Miller, that a provision of the law on prescription drug coverage will help “tens of thousands” of seniors in Massachusetts. She also highlighted the fact that young people can now remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26, and cited prohibitions against denying coverage for sick people.

While Warren made no mention of the Republican candidates for president, she leveled criticism at the GOP when she described the Democrats’ recent push to expand Social Security benefits for citizens who “need it most.”

Lawmakers have clashed over Social Security in recent years, with some conservatives proposing changes to the entitlement program that have drawn criticism from liberals, who say the changes amount to cuts that would harm the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Why are all the Democrats ready to talk about Social Security?” Warren said. “Why are all the Republicans trying to find reverse on their limousines to back this up? ... It’s because people all around the country said this matters.”

Other topics included a state ballot question to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and Warren, who previously opposed such legalization, said she is now “open to it.”

Not me.

She also called for increased funding for medical research, and lamented the fact that she and her colleagues were unable to pass gun control legislation months after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.

Asked if she has found common ground with any of her Republican colleagues in Washington, Warren said she is working with Utah Senator Mike Lee on banking regulations and with Oklahoma Senator James Lankford on efforts to make settlement agreements between the government and large companies public.

There were also humorous moments, with Warren declaring her preference for light beer, which she termed the “nectar of the gods,” and her weakness for fast food.

“Sometimes we do Chipotle,” she said. “I could probably close my eyes and recite most of the McDonald’s menu.”

Doesn't eat very well, does she?


I think I'll be leaving the political coverage behind from now on.