Posts Tagged ‘Joe Biden’

What is it about the summer season that causes pundits to initiate wild tales about Hillary Clinton that are patently unlikely or untrue?    Do their brains cook in the heat?  Last summer, on these pages, we dealt with a series of Vampire Tales that refused to die.

Vampire Tales: The Story That Will Not Die

Vampire Tales II: The Return of the Toxic Memes!

Vampire Tales III: The Attack of the Unattributable

Vampire Tales IV: The Gov Myth

Vampire Tales V: I have a silver cross. Does anybody have a stake? Some garlic? Anything?

As you can see, these tales that would not die started in early July and did not die out until late January.  Now the whole circus begins again.

I left untouched, and probably should not have, the speculation that Hillary Clinton would replace Robert Gates at Defense.  It was a ridiculous scenario.  For once we have Secretaries of Defense and State who genuinely are a tight team, respect and like each other aaaannnd AGREE!  Why would ANYbody break that up?   But, of course, that little unfounded rumor had to spawn something bigger.  I present, for your careful inspection, the Hillary as VP meme.

First, we need to consider the source.  The earliest attribution I can find came from David Gewirtz on Anderson Cooper’s 360 Blog in late May.  Gewirtz describles himself politically thus:

Gewirtz claims to have voted for both Democrats and Republicans and acknowledges voting for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. According to Gewirtz, “At various times in my life, I’ve called myself a Republican and at other times, a Democrat. These days, both parties have sufficiently pissed me off that I’m pretty much an independent.”


Seems non-partisan enough. By mid-June this meme was drop-kicked first by Sally Quinn at the Washington Post and then by Colleen O’Connor at the San Diego News Network.  I do not know anything about O’Connor, but I do know that the waters have never been calm between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sally Quinn since the former FLOTUS first set foot in D.C.  One has to wonder what her agenda is in moving this story forward.

The biggest splash came with Douglas Wilder’s Op-Ed at Politico.  By last week, the story had made it all the way to the Wall Street Journal having made a stop a week ago at Chris Matthews Sunday morning network TV spot – serious discussion, I am told.  I missed it because I was watching my friend Will Bower on Fox discussing the Democratic Party’s “Change Commission” on Primary reform (which is code for no change/no reform).

So what of these sources?  All but Wilder have not held elected office,  and what his motivation might have been has borne speculation itself.  Several of the others (Quinn, Matthews & Co.) have shown protracted, open hostility to our Homegirl-in-Chief in the past.  Why would they tout her for VP?

The obvious answer is Obama’s tanking approval rating.  Their boy is in trouble, and they want one-time lifeguard, Hillary Clinton, whose approval ratings are the highest in the administration to keep him afloat.  The story has survived for more than two months and continues to make news – the mark of a truly strong Vampire Tale.

If the DNC were smart (and we know they are not), they would realize that the problem is not the Vice President.  It is Obama’s pitiful performance in office.  Would Hillary on the ticket keep him afloat? Maybe.  Maybe NOT!  If she were VP certainly she would transform that post as we all stood by dazzled.  It would assure Hillary-watchers of years of spectacle.  But, you see, neither is the Vice Presidency in need of transformation, no, not any more than Joe Biden as VP is the problem.

If Hillary Clinton were president, she would transform the executive branch in the same way that she is tranforming the State Department.  She would order reviews at all departments like Defense’s QDR and the QDDR she initiated at State.  These reviews would result in recommendations for streamlining and updating agencies and practices that have been allowed to stagnate.  She would bring the executive branch, finally, into the 21st century.  Ironic, is it not, that the candidate everyone said would be transformative is not.  But the Secretary of State, she is a change-agent extraordinaire!

Our American practice seems to be that if you fail, we provide tutoring and remediation.  We need to rethink that as an application to the highest office in the land.  We might start by killing off this vampire tale of Hillary as VP with a mighty stake,  and replacing it with a real prospect for this country, that of a truly transformative, brilliant, hard-working, and creative, dedicated candidate at the top of the ticket where she has always belonged  but now more than ever.

(I believe the adorable gifs are the handiwork of Homegirl Conanincharge. If they don’t play, try clicking on them, and they will open in a new window and play.)

From Team Hillary Clinton just for this blog:

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I have been avoiding this story like the Plague or H1N1 or BP Gas Stations – whatever – but it not only is not going away,  it is expanding like the oil in the Gulf so I have decided that the Homegirls must address it head-on for two reasons.

1. Its purveyors  appear to be coming from a particular quarter.

2. Its purveyors are increasingly appearing to be not only anti-Hillary Homegirl-in-Chief Clinton, but increasingly appear whacked!

SO!  When I saw this sweet little entry pop up on a news feed,  I suited up, picked up my my bat and glove,  and marched out to the dugout.  I’m up now.

Here is the header that caught my eye:   Bye-bye Vice President Biden?

I will not quote from this insulting article by Liz Peek except for this line.

Nor has Hillary Clinton showed great skill in foreign policy and foreign affairs in her tenure as Secretary of State.

Well, I beg to differ, and that is one big reason this blog exists – to differ with people who attack, insult, or belittle our Head Homegirl.  So that is Miss Peek’s assessment of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure at State while providing no evidence whatsoever for the statement.  Well, Miss Peek, since reading and text do not appear to be strong points of yours, here, in pictures are Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments  – just a few – as our top diplomat.

Since taking over from Condi Rice she has accomplished the following, not necessarily in this order.

Reset, quite successfully, our relationship with Russia.  This was last year.


Resulting in a New START Treaty

She has successfiully preserved our Special Relationship with the UK.

She rescued the Armenia-Turkey Accords without taking credit at all.

As well as having worked indefatiguably behind the scenes to salvage and ensure the success of the Devolution and the Hillborough Agreement.

Domestically,  a year ago she secured domestic partners of her State Department employees benefits.  This year, she provided transgendered persons a path to passport revision.

Of course, Miss Peek, FAUXNEWS, Dick(head) Morris and other promulgators of this meme that somehow reminds me of the ones that cropped  LAST year at this time, do not care much for giving the LGBT community any rights.

This week will be the anniversary of Hillary’s Broken Elbow from which she recovered winningly.

They tried to put her in the shadows then.  One has to wonder why the spotlight now!  Never trust a Republican!  Hillary will shine wherever she is.  It’s her character!  She sucks up all the light wherever she is.  She glows, glimmers, sparkles.  Homegirl-in-Chief is Wonder Woman, Turbo-Secretary, and waaaaayyyy competent.

So cut it out you right-wingnut manipulators.  Speculate all you want, but do not try to disparage her tenure at State where she has been awesome!

Now having said all that, I have to admit that I would not be averse to VP Hillary Clinton at all for a couple of reasons.

1.  Give a girl a break!  She needs to get off the travel carousel at some point.  She does it phenomenally well,  but that can’t last ad infinitum.

2. Even if VEEP has traditionally been a rather invisible job, Hillary would transform it into a VERY visible position using social networking.  So we would still SEE her ( I ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ that!) , and I will still be here blogging about her!  YES! 😉

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Hillary Clinton is nothing if not savvy.   My disappointment in some of her moves (or stock-still stances),  such as the one outlined in my last post on Honduras,  is always tempered by an underlying faith that the true Hillary is lurking just below the surface, and that her primary goal throughout these first 11 months as Secretary of State has been to shine as a team player.   From the day of her confirmation hearing, when she first set this analogy forward, through the past several weeks of rounding up support for the Obama administration’s Afghanistan plan,  she has personified her own metaphor of being out on the field rather than running to-and-fro on the sidelines wringing her hands.   She dives into crowds in much the same way we have seen at other times from other popular figures, JFK,  RFK, JPII.   She wades in and speaks the administration line with such charm, grit, wit,  and style that even when confronted by anger and opposition she comes off smelling like a rose.   (See this post from yesterday:  Video: Hillary Clinton With Six Pakistani Interviewers At One Time – Holds Her Own! AWESOME!)

So many Vampire-Tales-that-would-not-die have circulated over these 11 months (all of them addressed here many times over) that when this rumor raises its head another time after perhaps a four or five week hiatus, and with a reasoned argument,  I, for one, am on board for this prediction which would explain some of her apparent priorities.

In a UK Guardian article that popped up on the news feed tonight, the rumor that surfaced  – when?  In October?  Returned like a boomerang: Win or lose, Hillary Clinton just goes from strength to strength.

The rumor, of course, is the one that after two years as VP, Biden steps down and Hillary is nominated by Obama, giving her two years in that post, the second,  predictably, spent also as Obama’s running mate in 2012.  Now, yes, I know, as a Hillary supporter from way back, all the reasons why Hillary loyalists cringe at this idea since she obviously is eminently qualified to run for the top post,  and,  in this subordinate position, is simply Obama’s insurance.  I know, also, the argument that people vote for a president and not a vice president, which we heard aplenty regarding the McCain ticket last year.  But I do think the second on the ticket plays a role in vote-getting, and this could turn out to be a win-win.   I have a hope, in a deep cell of my heart, that this could happen.  The only misgiving I have with this article is the alternative scenario where she becomes a Supreme Court justice instead.  To that I say, “Nope!”  No black robes over those many colorful pantsuits,  and no sequestering Hillary where we neither see nor hear her.  God made Hillary to be seen and heard.  I have always said, here and elsewhere, cream always rises.  I grew up near a dairy farm and remember the days of guernsey milk.  It rises, and for my generation, Hillary Clinton is among what our elders referred to as “the cream of the crop.”   Hillary cannot help but rise.  Let’s see how high she goes.

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Given the stated mission of this Department, a few events of the past few days require some comment.

Reports that Carolyn Maloney will challenge Kirsten Gillibrand for the Senate seat vacated by Homegirl-in-Chief, Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged. Now for two strong, accomplished Homegirls to be competing for a seat once occupied by the incomparable HRC might seem the best of all possible worlds. But, evidently, not so fast, girls!

Lets take two steps back. Both names (along with others) were floated when Hillary decided to accept Secretary of State. Many would have been happy with either one given the other prominent female name out there, the stunningly inarticulate Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. In the end, Governor Paterson picked Kirsten, but everybody involved knew that this seat would be up for grabs again and the occupant would have to fight for it.

Now the way these things usually work is that the incumbent decides whether or not to run again and challengers declare themselves and we, the voters, listen and decide who to vote for. Usually. But way back in May, this story and its disturbing implications came up from AnnieNYC. She tells it so well. Obama, the White House, interfering in NY State politics – um -you know – like he did when he told Paterson to put Princess Caroline in that seat.

Well, as we see in Annie’s blog post, Israel did back down in compliance with the wishes of The One and Only. The White House exhaled palpably.

Then, this week those annoying little tweets on Hillary-compliant Twitter (yes, they delayed maintenance because she asked them to for Iran protesters to have a line of communication – I love it) first claiming that none other than Bill Clinton himself will head up a fundraiser for – are you ready? – Carolyn Maloney to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand for that Senate seat Hillary once graced. What? You ask. Didn’t she read Annie’s blog? Doesn’t she KNOW that the White House annointed Kirsten? And BILL! What is THIS about? Defying your wife’s – um – boss? (I get hives writing that).

Well, early posts in some PUMA quarters claimed that this was a mere formality based on Bill’s promise to raise funds for anyone who supported the Love-Of-His-Life and our beloved Homegirl-in-Chief. A spokesperson for Bill says Bill will not take sides in this. But wait! Charlie Rangel will! Gerri Ferraro will!

And why on earth should Carolyn NOT run? Well, I hear there has been a call from the White House – from Joe Biden. I don’t know if the WH liaisons such as Biden and Emmanuel are empowered to offer some kind of compensation for compliance with the wishes of the On High.

Clearly Carolyn has said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And Charlie Rangel, to whom we are forever grateful for having lured one Hillary Rodham Clinton (whom he refers to as “My Girlfriend” – I love Charlie) to the Great State of New York in the first place, once again puts himself in the Rebel Camp against the Obama machine. Momma Nancy is going to be mad and once again threaten to spank! Personally, I think Charlie can stand up to all of them, just like Carolyn.

So let’s have a fair fight between the Homegirls. Democracy is often messy. We like it that way!

Before closing, and this will be VERY short, the other breaking news immediately preceding Independence Day was the news of Sarah Palin’s resignation as Governor of Alaska. Was there abuse by pundits, press, comedians, etc. of Sarah and her family? Yes. Did the recent dust-up with Letterman precipitate this monumental overreaction? Perhaps. Is this her move toward the national stage? Personally, I do not see how on earth it COULD be!

What about this action is supposed to inspire confidence in her as a public servant? Well, I suppose I am hardened and unsympathetic, and jaded. And I know, I know The Department of Homegirl Security is supposed to defend sisters in distress.

But, you see, THE Homegirl, The Head Honcho Homegirl, the H Homegirl on the bumper sticker that still graces my car, she taught us all something about sticking the way that sticker sticks to my car. She was treated HORRIBLY by her own party and by Main Stream Media over a year and a half while she pursued her candidacy. I cannot, being a Hillary Clinton Homegirl, understand how QUITTING an elected post after two years in any way enhances someone’s public image as any kind of candidate or why this should encourage my support or defense of the action or the person.

To those who ask “Will Hillary be next?” HA! Hillary has a lot of work to do at the State Department and the world is in a mess on several fronts. So I ask back, “Why SHOULD she or WOULD she?” Nonsense!

You are talking about Hillary Clinton – you know, the firecracker, the one who hangs in there!

This one:

(Well, you KNEW I was going to get Hillary in here SOMEWHERE, didn’t you?)
If you think SHE would quit for some flimsy reason, you never understood her to begin with. If she ever does, it will be over a very serious issue.

Have a Happy Independence Day, Homegirls and Homeboys. Stay safe.

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Democratic vice presidential candidate U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) smile at a rally in support of Democratic

SCRANTON, PA - OCTOBER 12: Democratic vice presidential candidate U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) smile at a rally in support of Democratic

Since it has become certain that tomorrow morning, Hillary will appear with Obama in Chicago for his announcement of his National Security team,  that she will be nominated for Secretary of State, and that she will accept, there has been some wild speculation about the new relationship between Hillary and Joe Biden.  Here are some things we know about Joe: He has long experience as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Based on that,  he has been expected to have a strong voice on those issues in the Obama administration, and since Hillary’s name came up, there have been hints that territorial conflicts between the two might ensue.  We also know that the Bidens and the Clintons are personal friends, share family ties to Scanton, PA where the photo above was taken, and that Joe loves Hillary (it’s OK, Jill knows about it).

This morning, this disturbing editorial by Nicholas D. Kristof appeared in the NY Times. I am inserting the entire piece since there is no single paragraph or section that is more or less compelling than any other part.

November 30, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Terrorism That’s Personal


Terrorism in this part of the world usually means bombs exploding or hotels burning, as the latest horrific scenes from Mumbai attest. Yet alongside the brutal public terrorism that fills the television screens, there is an equally cruel form of terrorism that gets almost no attention and thrives as a result: flinging acid on a woman’s face to leave her hideously deformed.

Here in Pakistan, I’ve been investigating such acid attacks, which are commonly used to terrorize and subjugate women and girls in a swath of Asia from Afghanistan through Cambodia (men are almost never attacked with acid). Because women usually don’t matter in this part of the world, their attackers are rarely prosecuted and acid sales are usually not controlled. It’s a kind of terrorism that becomes accepted as part of the background noise in the region.

This month in Afghanistan, men on motorcycles threw acid on a group of girls who dared to attend school. One of the girls, a 17-year-old named Shamsia, told reporters from her hospital bed: “I will go to my school even if they kill me. My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”

Acid attacks and wife burnings are common in parts of Asia because the victims are the most voiceless in these societies. Naeema Azar, above, was attacked by her husband after they divorced. Her 12-year-old son, Ahmed Shah, looks after her

When I met Naeema Azar, a Pakistani woman who had once been an attractive, self-confident real estate agent, she was wearing a black cloak that enveloped her head and face. Then she removed the covering, and I flinched.

Acid had burned away her left ear and most of her right ear. It had blinded her and burned away her eyelids and most of her face, leaving just bone.

Six skin grafts with flesh from her leg have helped, but she still cannot close her eyes or her mouth; she will not eat in front of others because it is too humiliating to have food slip out as she chews.

“Look at Naeema, she has lost her eyes,” sighed Shahnaz Bukhari, a Pakistani activist who founded an organization to help such women, and who was beginning to tear up. “She makes me cry every time she comes in front of me.”

Ms. Azar had earned a good income and was supporting her three small children when she decided to divorce her husband, Azar Jamsheed, a fruit seller who rarely brought money home. He agreed to end the (arranged) marriage because he had his eye on another woman.

After the divorce was final, Mr. Jamsheed came to say goodbye to the children, and then pulled out a bottle and poured acid on his wife’s face, according to her account and that of their son.

“I screamed,” Ms. Azar recalled. “The flesh of my cheeks was falling off. The bones on my face were showing, and all of my skin was falling off.”

Neighbors came running, as smoke rose from her burning flesh and she ran about blindly, crashing into walls. Mr. Jamsheed was never arrested, and he has since disappeared. (I couldn’t reach him for his side of the story.)

Ms. Azar has survived on the charity of friends and with support from Ms. Bukhari’s group, the Progressive Women’s Association (www.pwaisbd.org). Ms. Bukhari is raising money for a lawyer to push the police to prosecute Mr. Jamsheed, and to pay for eye surgery that — with a skilled surgeon — might be able to restore sight to one eye.

Bangladesh has imposed controls on acid sales to curb such attacks, but otherwise it is fairly easy in Asia to walk into a shop and buy sulfuric or hydrochloric acid suitable for destroying a human face.

Acid attacks and wife burnings are common in parts of Asia because the victims are the most voiceless in these societies: they are poor and female. The first step is simply for the world to take note, to give voice to these women.

Since 1994, Ms. Bukhari has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.

For the last two years, Senators Joe Biden and Richard Lugar have co-sponsored an International Violence Against Women Act, which would adopt a range of measures to spotlight such brutality and nudge foreign governments to pay heed to it. Let’s hope that with Mr. Biden’s new influence the bill will pass in the next Congress.

That might help end the silence and culture of impunity surrounding this kind of terrorism.

The most haunting part of my visit with Ms. Azar, aside from seeing her face, was a remark by her 12-year-old son, Ahsan Shah, who lovingly leads her around everywhere. He told me that in one house where they stayed for a time after the attack, a man upstairs used to beat his wife every day and taunt her, saying: “You see the woman downstairs who was burned by her husband? I’ll burn you just the same way.”

We here at Homegirl Security have long known of Hillary’s interest in addressing such abuses.  It is only fair to credit the woman she is replacing, Condi Rice, with strong efforts in this area as well.   Knowing Hillary’s long history on women’s and children’s issues, many of us have anticipated the coming nomination with a certain amount of regret at losing her strong, clear voice in the Senate.  But this regret has been tempered with the confidence and trust we have in her abilities to address these issues at an international level as we saw her do in 1996 in Beijing.  And while we know that these are not the only issues she would have dealt with in the Senate or will at State,  an ambivalence remains.  She will certainly be a star at State just as she was and would have continued to be in the Senate.

It was heartening, therefore, to find this article by Kristof this morning.  It attests that others in the Senate have their eyes on these issues at the international level and inspires hope that the same is true at the domestic level.  Of course we are also losing Joe Biden to the new administration, but it is clear that it is not women alone fighting this battle.  And the bill is there, even though Joe is going.

So those of us who follow Hillary’s Senate dispatches will have to switch to another feed from her.  I have no doubt she will remain as informative as ever.  As for Joe, I am sure he will be as supportive as ever of Hillary’s efforts.  I should mention as well that Richard Lugar was on this morning with George Stephanopoulos and intends to support Hillary’s nomination at State.  (OK you can be cynical and say LOTS of Senators want her out of the Senate and at State, right now I prefer to have a little hope and faith).

So as we wish Hillary and Joe Godspeed in their new missions, and mourn the loss of our NY Turbo-Senator,  we can also rejoice that these voices will have gravity in the formation of foreign policy in the next administration.   Thanks, Joe, and Richard, for standing up for women, and thanks, Hillary, for being our hero, role model, and sister.

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