Archive for the ‘gaffes’ Category

Obama Should Hire Hillary for International Role; Limit Biden

November 15, 2008

In the world of diplomacy, “bluring out the truth” is hardly an asset….

So the news that President-Elect Barack Obama is considering Hillary Clinton as a possible Secretary of State is delightful — showing real intellect and courage. 

While still Senator Obama,  the now future president was criticized for his lack of foreign policy experience.  So he hired as his vice presidential running mate the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a man with the reputation of a foreign policy and international affairs “expert.”

Yet sometimes, reputation doesn’t always mirror reality or facts.

Joe Biden also has a reputation for saying the wrong thing.  And he takes a lot of wind and time to say the wrong thing.  And even when he speaks the truth it is sometimes a truth that needn’t be mentioned or discussed.  Before the election when he said that some evil doer in the international community would create a crisis just to test the new president, there is no doubt that he believed that to be true.  But what did this utterance gain anyone?  I call this Joe Biden “blurting out the truth.”

In the world of diplomacy, “bluring out the truth” is hardly an asset….

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) greets Vice President-elect ... 
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) greets Vice President-elect Joe Biden at the Vice President’s residence in Washington November 13, 2008. Cheney, considered one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, welcomed Biden on Thursday for a tour of his new home to be.  It isn’t difficult to see why one might choose John Nance Garner’s “bucket of warm spit” over highly activists vice presidents….. REUTERS/Molly Riley

Hillary Clinton is well regarded in the world community and her husband is widely revered as a great president — especially in light of the last eight years many will tell you.  And now Bill Clinton is doing meritorious work on the international stage with his foundation.

Hillary would make a good Secretary of State and Barack Obama knows that.  I also have great hope that between Hillary and Barack there is enought knowledge and care for America that the two can agree to iolate Joe Biden from the international stage — especially when sensitive matters are involved.

And Hillary undoubtedly still wants Barack’s job after her rough and disappointing primary election effort….  She ran against Barack and could easlily do so again if left to her own (and Bill’s) devices.  Barack is, perhaps, taking a lesson from Abe Lincold who hired many of his foes believing “keep your friends close and your enemies closer….”

Commentator Charles Krauthammer referred to Joe Biden recently as “The Sage of Wilmington.”  Such pladitudes and more sincere sounding ones may be required in some numbers to soothe the ego of the future Vice President — but whatever it takes to keep him away from the leaders of the international community has to be done.

President-elect Barack Obama listens to Senator Hillary Clinton ... 
President-elect Barack Obama listens to Senator Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, June 27, 2008.(Jim Young/Reuters)

Obama’s statement that there can only be one President of the United States at a time shows me that he also knows that there can only be one person in charge of U.S. foreign policy: the Secretary of State.

For that reason: Joe Biden will have to be carefully managed away from meddling in the international arena.  It may be more productive and safer to allow him to meddle in something else.

Joe Biden can fulful any number of very positive roles in the Barack Obama Administration: but on foreign affairs he is best sent only to overseas funerals and weddings.  And even then there is some risk he’ll “blurt out the truth” which will require apologies and regrets all around….
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Patrick Cox, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin wrote:

“When it comes to commentary about the office of vice president of the United States, no statement is more repeated than John Nance Garner’s observation that ‘the vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.’”

Today our Vice Presidents seem to do a lot more than fill buckets with warm spit….  Maybe some of them should be handed the bucket that John “Cactus Jack” Garner spoke of….

John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner, Vice President of the United States,
(1933-41).

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I have many Joe Biden stories, some related to me and some created by my own witnessing to events.  I’ll just tell two which are really one: in 1972 or ’73, I watched Joe Biden leave a Senate meeting room.  As soon as he was gone his own staff erupted in laughter and stories about stupid things the new Senator had said.  About 30 years later I was trapped in an elevator with Senator Biden and some staff.  When he got out on his floor and the doors closed, the back stabbing and derision of 30 years before was again on display….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
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 Clinton Among Top Picks At State

By Anne E. Kornblut and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 15, 2008; Page A01

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the top contenders to become secretary of state in Barack Obama‘s administration, officials familiar with the selection process said, part of what appears to be an effort by the incoming president to reach out to former rivals and consider unexpected moves as he assembles his Cabinet.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/11/14/AR2008111403863.html

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Obama White House Potential Tinder Box

November 8, 2008

We all wish Barack Obama well.  We hope and pray for the future of America.  As my Dad used to say, “Whatever happens in America, whoever we elect, the Republic will survive.”

My Dad lived through great crises and achievements in America: sleeping in the U.S. Capitol building on December 7, 1941 following the devestating attack on Pearl Harbor that day.

Barack Obama’s White House, which in some ways started on election day and some say started even before that, will legally begin upon the swearing in of Vice President Joe Biden and Barack Obama himself as President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

Barack Obama’s White House has every potential to become a tinderbox of controversey, missteps and overreaching.  Here’s why:

-Hubris:  There have been many jokes, cartoons and other side remarks about “Barack the Messiah.”  The loftly language of Candidate Obama, Senator Obama, Professor Obama and now President Elect Obama lends itself to what I’ll call “uplift;” or a sense of loftiness.  It also lends itself to self-importance and ridicule.  President Obama, while being careful and measured and lofty might just end up sounding not presidential but sanctimonious.  This will be devestating on the world stage already filled with bufoons like Hugo Chavez and Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran.  And just as Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi referred to Barack Obama’s great “tan” and the world media seemed to say “there he goes again,” Mr. Obama’s now highly admired lofty tone can become the fodder for comedians overnight, if he isn’t careful.

President-elect Senator Barack Obama gives his victory speech ...
Above: President-elect Barack Obama

Gaffes:  Joe Biden has a well earned reputation as a gaffe machine.  But Team Obam has had him on a tight leash and nailed to a teleprompter.  But that can’t last.  Before long, the media will be saying, in all liklihood, “Say it isn’t so, Joe.”  And Vice President Biden won’t be the only one to make a gaffe, if history is any guide.  Remember Ronald reagan caught off-mike before a news confernce saying someing about bombing the Soviet Union?  Oops. 

Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Obama ...
Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Obama answers questions during a news conference in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Everone has their slip ups.  Witness Barack Obama trying to make some fun during his first press conference by referring to Nancy Reagan and her “seances.”  Say it isn’t so, Barack.  You just got your facts wrong in what conservatives see as an attack on a dead “sainted” conservative president’s wife who is elderly and ill.  Not funny, Barack (Obama phoned Mrs. Reagan to say he was sorry).

Partisanship:  Our advice: Put America first and be bi-partisan in all things.  That’s patriotic.  If you just want to be a realist: keep your enemies close so you can watch them, Barack.  That’s what Abraham Lincoln said and did.  “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  Lincoln filled his cabinet and his kitchen cabinet with the opposition: he had a civil war to win.  The result was emancipation and union.  I fear, after the selection of Rahm Emanuel, who Paul Begala said was partisan “cross between a hemorrhoid and a toothache,” we could wind up with not “snakes on a plane” but “vipers in the White House.”  We hope the new White House denizens can reach out in good will and not to throttle others by the neck.  Won’t work.

White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel listens during ... 
White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel listens during a news conference by President-elect Obama in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So, not to rain on anyone’s parade, as a veteran of Washington some many years, I thought I’d raise the flag of caution and good will — which usually serve those in power much better than “Sherman though Atlanta.”

Sherman would have loved Rahm Emanuel.  And Obama picked him.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

American Presidential Campaign: New Version of ‘World’s greatest Soap Opera’ Begins Wednesday for 2012

November 2, 2008

It’s been the year’s longest-running serialized drama, with more ups and downs than a season of “Lost” and more jilted contestants than a season and a half of “Top Model.”

And it all comes to a screeching halt after Tuesday night.

By Adam Buckman
The New York Post

The “show” is the presidential campaign. As in past election seasons, the all-news cable channels aired thousands of hours of repetitive chatter, much of it no more illuminating than a chat you or I or Joe the Plumber might have had about the candidates at a corner saloon.

The broadcast networks clawed at each other for interviews with the candidates, those all-important “gets,” not so much to inform the electorate but to showcase their anchors, in whom they have invested millions of dollars.

The highlights for better or worse, inasmuch as they helped form public perceptions, were Charlie Gibson’s and Katie Couric’s interviews with Sarah Palin. Both made news for days (if not weeks), after they were conducted, with Couric’s in particular providing more grist for Tina Fey to impersonate Palin on “Saturday Night Live.”

Gibson’s was notable mainly for the anchorman’s pomposity. Never mind what the interview revealed (if anything); most of us were too fixated on the way Charlie’s glasses were perched on the end of his nose to listen to what Gov. Palin had to say.

Comedy, with Palin positioned unfairly at the center of much of it, was once again a big part of the campaign picture, with untold numbers of voters preparing to cast their ballots on Election Day based on Jay Leno’s jokes and Jon Stewart’s sarcasm.

Stewart will be on hand to “cover” the Election Night returns on Comedy Central, with Stephen Colbert as his co-anchor, demonstrating how comedy and TV news are fast becoming synonymous.

But you could have said that four years ago, and even eight years ago. The difference this time around was this campaign’s soap opera storyline, which seemed tailor-made for TV.

Presidential campaigns are always dramatic, but this one was more so. It had race and gender and two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, who a year ago looked like shoo-ins for each of their party’s nominations, but who shattered all predictions for how this campaign would go by falling by the wayside.

Tuesday night, the TV newsers will make their last efforts to impress you enough for you to stay with them after the 2008 campaign saga concludes, and the 2012 race commences first thing Wednesday morning.

Obama’s Many “Helpers” Can’t Keep Gaffes (Or Words) To Minimum

November 1, 2008

Joe Biden is so well known for his gaffe filled language that the media hardly notices anymore.

But when it comes to easy to recall numbers, Obama and his “helpers” are all over left field.

Yesterday New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said, “What Obama wants to do is, he is basically looking at $120,000 and under, among those that are in the middle class, and there is a tax cut for those.” (KOA-AM, Interview With Gov. Bill Richardson, 10/31/08)
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Just A Few Days Ago, Biden Lowered The Ceiling For Tax Cuts To $150,000, Confirming What Obama Let Slip Earlier In The Campaign — That Americans Would See Higher Taxes Starting At $150,000:

Biden: “Spreading the wealth was not — he was talking about is all of the tax breaks have gone to the very, very wealthy. For example you have right now, this year, under the old tax policy that was just — that was put in by George Bush, people making an average $1.4 million a year, good people, decent people, patriotic — they’re going to get an $87 billion tax break. What we’re saying is that $87 billion tax break doesn’t need to go to people making an average of $1.4 million, it should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people — people making under $150,000 a year.” (WNEP-Scranton, Interview With Sen. Joe Biden, 10/27/08)

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, left, and Democratic vice presidential ... 
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, left, and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., finish a rally with a friendly handshake Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 in Mesilla, N.M.(AP Photo/The La Cruces Sun-News, Shari Vialpando)

Notice that Biden gets the number wrong and uses about twice the words as Richardson.
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What does Obama say?

 In June 2008, Obama Told Reporters He Would Raise Taxes On The Top 5 Percent Of Earners. “Speaking to reporters in St. Louis, he said he would eliminate the capital gains tax ‘for the small businesses and startups that are the backbone of our economy.’ His income tax plans, Obama said, would cut taxes for 95 percent of U.S. workers, while rolling back the Bush administration‘s tax reductions for the highest-earning 5 percent.” (Matt Apuzzo and Charles Babington, “McCain, Obama Trade Jabs On Economy, Taxes,” The Associated Press, 6/11/08)

Obama: “It Is True That Those Like Myself Who Are In The Top 5 Percent, We’re Going To See A Tax Increase. I’m Going To Roll The Bush Tax Cuts Back To The Levels They Were In The 1990s.” (Fox Business’ “Fox Business,” 6/26/08)Biden, Obama, Richardson, Tax, Taxes, gaffe, gaffes, “helpers”,

In 2006, The Cut Off For The Top 5 Percent Of Earners Began At About $150,000 — Well Below Obama’s $250,000 Threshold. “Including all tax returns that had a positive AGI, taxpayers with an AGI of $153,542 or more in 2006 constituted the nation’s top 5 percent of earners.” (Gerald Prante, “Summary Of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data,” www.taxfoundation.org, 7/18/08)