Do Good Men Have What It Takes to Be President?

American vice president Joe Biden appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, September 10
American vice president Joe Biden appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, September 10 (CBS/John Paul Filo)

A great politician isn’t necessarily a presidential one. This week, Americans saw one of their greatest politicians frankly sharing his doubts about running for the highest office and another drop out of the race.

In an emotional interview with The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden reminisced about speaking to military families shortly after losing his son, Beau, to brain cancer in May when a soldier stood up and announced himself as having served with the younger Biden in Iraq.

“I lost it,” Biden said. “You can’t do that.”

“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president,” he continued, “unless they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion.’ I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there.” Read more “Do Good Men Have What It Takes to Be President?”

India, United States Want to Quadruple Trade: Biden

American vice president Joe Biden gives a speech on board the USS Freedom in Singapore, July 27
American vice president Joe Biden gives a speech on board the USS Freedom in Singapore, July 27 (USN/Karolina A. Oseguera)

American vice president Joe Biden, the first to visit India in three decades, spoke of the two countries’ mutual desire to quadruple bilateral trade at a speech given in Delhi last week.

“Our bilateral trade has increased fivefold to $100 billion over the past thirteen years. We see tremendous opportunities (in India) and there is no reason that if our two countries make the right choices, trade cannot grow fivefold or more,” Biden said.

However, he acknowledged a lot needed to be done to remove trade barriers and that India needed to address its “inconsistent” tax system and barriers to market access. Read more “India, United States Want to Quadruple Trade: Biden”

Biden Reiterates Uncompromising Iran Policy

Joe Biden Barack Obama
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama speak with officials in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, September 11, 2012 (White House/Pete Souza)

One year ago, President Barack Obama received a standing ovation from the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) when he sternly committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Containment of Iran, the president said, is not an option, adding that on his watch, Tehran would never be allowed to construct a nuclear device without dealing with the threat of military force first.

Twelve months later, Vice President Joe Biden laid out the same policy to an AIPAC conference. As if to underscore just how serious the United States consider a nuclear armed Iran, Biden framed his remarks in a blunt but strong tone: American policy is, and will continue to be, “to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. Period. End of discussion.” Read more “Biden Reiterates Uncompromising Iran Policy”

After Obama Win, Democrats Look for Successor

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama speak with officials in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, September 11, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama speak with officials in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, September 11, 2012 (White House/Pete Souza)

Even if Barack Obama was reelected mere days ago, his Democratic Party has already to look for presidential candidates to run in 2016.

One of the reasons for Republicans’ poor showing in the 2008 election was that George W. Bush didn’t have a successor. His vice president, Dick Cheney, had always ruled out a presidential run of his own. Several high-profile Republicans, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Arizona senator John McCain and Mitt Romney, tried to secure the nomination. McCain won but failed to enthuse conservatives.

Romney, similarly, was nominated after a long primary battle this year and without fully winning the confidence of his party’s base.

Obama proved in 2008 that a long and divisive primary campaign hasn’t to stop a candidate from the winning in the general election while Al Gore’s defeat in 2000 showed that an orderly succession isn’t a guarantee for victory.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to have a presumptive nominee early, especially if the other party is locked in a fierce nominating contest as Republicans could well be again in less than four years’ time.

In a country where 40 percent of voters identifies as “moderate,” the Democratic candidate wouldn’t want to be hampered from appealing to the center while vying for left-wing primary votes. Settling on a candidate early in the process should help Democrats position themselves as the natural ruling party for the twenty-first century while chastising Republicans as old fashioned and out-of-touch as Barack Obama’s reelection campaign did successfully this year. Read more “After Obama Win, Democrats Look for Successor”

“General Motors is Alive”, But at What Cost?

Vice President Joe Biden’s case for reelecting Barack Obama in November is simple. “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” He reiterated that message at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

The president, Biden argued, “saved more than a million American jobs.”

He added,

If the president didn’t act immediately, there wouldn’t be any industry left to save.

The first statement is true, at least in the short term, but the second is patently false. Read more ““General Motors is Alive”, But at What Cost?”

American-Iraqi Strategic Partnership Emerging

In a surprising development this week, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Camp Victory in the heart of Baghdad to mark an end to the war and congratulate American and Iraqi troops on their joint success in suppressing violence across the country.

The trip, unannounced due to security precautions, was a chance for the vice president to highlight the Obama Administration’s pledge to withdraw all American soldiers from Iraq by the end of this month. Read more “American-Iraqi Strategic Partnership Emerging”

A Twenty-Four Hour Long Rapprochement

At a time when President Barack Obama is busy meeting with foreign leaders on the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia, Vice President Joseph Biden has taken the initiative in meetings with other world leaders of great consequence to the United States. First and foremost is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who just wrapped up an address in New Orleans to the Jewish Federation of North America.

That address occurred on Monday, which was why Netanyahu traveled to the United States in the first place. But on the preceding Sunday, the prime minister briefly held a face-to-face meeting with Biden on issues that we can only assume were related to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Read more “A Twenty-Four Hour Long Rapprochement”

Biden Addresses European Parliament

Vice President Joe Biden spoke before the European Parliament on Tuesday to reaffirm his country’s commitment to the historic bonds that tie Europe and the United States together.

Biden welcomed the growing power of Europe and that of the European Parliament in particular. “We, the United States, need strong allies and alliances,” he said, “to help us tackle the problems of the twenty-first century.” He mentioned climate change as one of the major challenges of the years to come. While praising the Copenhagen agreement, Biden noted that, “now we have to carry out those emissions cuts.” Read more “Biden Addresses European Parliament”

Biden: Cheney “Rewriting History”

Vice President Joe Biden appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday to respond to some of his predecessor’s recent criticism of President Barack Obama. At least four times, Biden stressed that Dick Cheney was trying to “rewrite history”. “He either is misinformed or he is misinforming.”

Contesting President Obama’s alleged “softness” on terror, Biden claimed that the Christmas Day Bomber “was treated the exact way that [Dick Cheney] suggested that the Shoe Bomber was treated. Absolutely the same way.”

Granting a terrorist the “privilege” of the American criminal justice system is a much more effective way to get him behind bars, said Biden. “Under the Bush Administration there were three trials in military courts. Two of those people are now walking the streets.” Yet of the three hundred or so terrorists convicted in civilian courts — “Prosecuted under the last administration” — none has seen the light of day.

“What about the general proposition that the president according to former Vice President Cheney doesn’t consider America to be at war” with terrorists? Biden reminded host David Gregory that the president stated very explicitly in his State of the Union address that, “We’re at war with Al Qaeda” and that the administration is “pursuing that war with a vigor like it’s never been seen before.” Al Qaeda, according to Biden, is “on the run.”

“Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow,” said Biden. “He’s entitled to his own opinion. He’s not entitled to rewrite history. He’s not entitled to his own facts.” According to the vice president, “There has never been as much emphasis and resources brought against Al Qaeda” and “the success rate exceeds anything that occurred in the last administration.” While he didn’t mean to impugn their effort, “It’s simply not true that the president of the United States is not prosecuting the war against Al Qaeda with a vigor that’s never been seen before. It’s real. It’s deep. It’s successful.”