Category Archives: Joe Biden

Morning in America: Democratic Convention Day 2 & 3

 The birds are singing, a glow seeps over the eastern horizon, and kitten-cats lie contentedly across my feet. I stretch and smile, and want to break into a chorus of “This is my fight song/Take back my life song/Prove I’m alright song/My power’s turned on/Starting right now I’ll be strong/I’ll play my fight song/And I don’t really care if nobody else believes…”

Am I enjoying the Democratic convention? You betcha!

Finally, we get a little bit of an exhale after slogging through so much muck for weeks. Two straight days filled with some really stellar moments. On the one hand, I’m ecstatic. On the other, I keep thinking “102 days more of this campaign after the balloons drop…”  (Seriously, we’ve been at this since March 2015 when Ted Cruz declared he was running for president. We have got to limit these campaigns. Even elephants only have a gestation period of 22 months. )

Anyway, soak it all in, folks, because it gets uglier and uglier, and for those who have said, “it can’t get worse…” I promise you, it can always get worse.

But right now enjoy the sanity and the relief. Enjoy the nice coherent messaging from reasonable people making logical arguments.

So, side note: I apologize for not posting yesterday. I took a day off, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t fab things that happened on Day 2 of the Convention.

Calling All Delegates

Roll call was not the hot mess it might have been and thankfully no floor fights broke out. Indeed, we got the symbolic Bernie moment in which he halted the roll call in favor of Hillary, as she did eight years ago for Obama. I even teared up a little at the sight of Sanders getting verklempt when his brother referenced their parents as he cast the votes for Democrats Abroad.

My Man Bill

And then Bill. Giving not the kind of policy wonk speech that we have come to love him for, but the perfect First Lady speech where he extols the virtues of his spouse, and humanizes her with anecdotes about her work ethic and family life. He’s an ex-President with a sharp mind and a lot to say, who could have talked about himself for an hour, but he chose not to. (Take a moment to watch Bill’s ad libs for which he is justly renowned–a writer for Gawker filmed the TelePrompTer screen while he was speaking so you can see him go delightfully off-script.) As Rebecca Traister says in The Cut:

It was notable that Bill mentioned Michelle Obama so enthusiastically in his speech; in many ways, he was taking his cues from her, and he now hopes to share a category with her, a category once also occupied by his own wife — that of the brilliant and hugely overqualified presidential helpmate.

Also, have a chuckle over this assessment of Bill Clinton’s style from Jenni Avins–he wore a fetching pantsuit, clearly in tribute to his wife. Hey, the Times reported on Michelle Obama’s Christian Siriano gown and Melania Trump’s Roksanda Ilincic outfit. Fair is fair.

The best part of Bill’s speech though, was his instantly hashtag-ready refrain of “the real one.”

How did this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can’t. One is real, the other is made up.

People were getting all caught up in it and hash tagging #TheRealOne with tweets like, “I haven’t been this emotional since the ‘Fault in Our Stars.'” (Translation for us old folks: “I feel like I just watched ‘Beaches.'”) It’s good to know that he reached both millennials and Gen Xers.

So by the end of Day 2, things were feeling a little bit more on track. Could Day 3 get better? I’m so glad you asked.

Uncle Joe
JoeBiden-smOh, Joe. I love you. Having watched this man through years of ups and downs, through losses and successes, gaffes and heartfelt moments, I couldn’t listen to his speech without feeling an upswell of emotion:

As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, the world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong at the broken places. I’ve been made strong at the broken places, by my love Jill, by my heart, my son Hunter and the love of my life, my Ashley.

And by all of you, and I mean this sincerely, those of you that have been through this, you know I mean what I say. By all of you, you’re love, your prayers, your support, but you know what, we talk about, we think about the countless thousands of other people, who suffered so much more than we have, with so much less support.

So much less reason to go on. But they get up, every morning, everyday. They put one foot in front of the other. They keep going. That’s the unbreakable spirit of the people of America. That’s who we are.

In new cycle after news cycle, it’s been all about The Donald, but Joe offered a tribute to Hillary that was in a way almost as touching as Bill’s.

Hillary understands that college loan is about a lot more than getting a qualified student education. It’s about saving the mom and dad from the indignity of having to look at their talented child and say sorry, honey, I’m so sorry. The bank wouldn’t lend me the money. I can’t help you to get to school. I know that about Hillary.

Hillary understood that for years, millions of people went to bed staring at the ceiling, thinking oh my God what if I get breast cancer, or he has a heart attack. I will lose everything, what will we do then? I know about Hillary Clinton.

There’s only one person in this race who will be there, who has always been there for you, and that’s Hillary Clinton’s life story. It’s not just who she is, it’s her life story.

The Kaine-maker

Tim KaineLast night also saw the national spotlight debut of Tim Kaine, Hillary’s veep pick and he did a great job coming after a tough act like Joe. Kaine has an easy manner about him and like Joe, he comes across as very down-to-earth and practical.

He was absolutely on point with his attacks and FINALLY mentioned Trump’s tax returns with a Trump impersonation that made me giggle.  I hope that also gains some traction.

Hey, Donald, what are you hiding? And yet, Donald still says, believe me. Believe me.

Believe me? Believe me? I mean, here’s the thing, most people when they run for president, they don’t just say, believe me, they respect you enough to tell you how they will get things done.

I also hope that “Hillary es lista” catches on.  I’d like to see that on some posters.

I like Tim. He’s a fiscal conservative social progressive mix and I can live with that because he’s got the priorities I like, plus it seems like he’s a good guy. He’s making inroads with the “Couldja have a beer with him?” crowd, and I was amused by this piece on his Dad-cred:

Tim Kaine knows he probably won’t need the extended warranty, but he appreciated the salesperson’s candor and wanted to make sure they got a nice commission.

Tim Kaine could easily have afforded the next trim level up. But it didn’t add any benefit, and he doesn’t do “flashy.”

Tim Kaine secretly supercharged the minivan, but not before modifying the filtration system and full cat-back exhaust to prevent an increase in emissions.

Tim Kaine keeps a swear jar for everything above “darn” and empties it once in a while to take everyone out for ice cream.

Tim Kaine will always stop to help someone with a dead battery, and healways pretends to electrocute himself with the jumper cables.

Tim Kaine thought about getting Sirius, but then how would he be able to play all of his old Beach Boys tapes?

Bloomberg News

The Conservative Party Annual Conference Concludes With The Prime Minister's Keynote Speech

I was also pleasantly surprised by Michael Bloomberg’s speech. As one might guess, I wasn’t Hizzoner’s biggest  fan while he was New York City Mayor.  I found him to be opportunistic (you changed from lifelong Democrat to Republican just to get Rudy Giuliani’s endorsement?), tone-deaf (you bought yourself a third term by paying off Ronald Lauder so he wouldn’t block City Council from changing term limits laws?) and out of touch. Still, he didn’t wreck the city during his tenure. And he had some reasonable points to make last night.

Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders, and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.

I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one! Trump says he’ll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the US visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What’d I miss here?!

Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy. He wants you to believe that we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe that erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He’s wrong on both counts.

Still an Obama-Girl

barack-obama-dnc-convention-july-27-2016-large-169The star of last night, justifiably, though, was the President.  Damn, that guy is good.

Like the trickle of a stream headed to the ocean, Obama’s speech was informal and funny to start “Don’t boo–vote!”, sweeping into a thundering roar as it gathered steam. Loved every minute of it.

You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?

One of my favorite lines came midway through– and it got applause and laughs from Bill Clinton up in the boxes):

I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman—not me, not Bill, nobody—more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.

I hope you don’t mind, Bill, but I was just telling the truth, man.

But getting to the meat of things logically is the Obama style — make the case, lay out the argument and bring it home:

Look, Hillary has got her share of critics. She has been caricatured by the right and by some on the left. She has been accused of everything you can imagine—and some things that you cannot. But she knows that’s what happens when you’re under a microscope for 40 years. She knows that sometimes during those 40 years she’s made mistakes—just like I have; just like we all do. That’s what happens when we try. That’s what happens when you’re the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described—not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone “who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs…but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.”

Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She’s been there for us—even if we haven’t always noticed. And if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes, he will.” It’s about “yes, we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.

Yes, we can. Not “yes, she can.” Not “yes, I can.” “Yes, we can.”

IMG_6565It was a great speech. When Clinton walked out and joined him on the stage at the end of the speech, I wanted him to pull out an Olympic-style torch and hand it off to her.

I’ll be singing this all day:

hillary's fight song

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Fine Fillet Edition

So I have always suspected this: far from being the addle-pated old fool that people like to portray him as, Biden is a shrewd, savvy politician who knows how to play the “gaffe-prone” guy in order to advance a bigger objective.

It is with modified glee, that I point to tonight’s debate performances as evidence. It was a fine filleting of Rep. Paul Ryan, and sent a sigh of relief rolling through the ranks of Demos riled by Romney’s lies and Obama’s apparent indifference  to them in the last week’s debate.

But even before tonight, I had my suspicions about Joe.  Take his so-called gaffe on gay marriage.  Supposedly he just blurted out his support for gay marriage and irritated the president, putting the Obama administration in an awkward position. Know what? I think you don’t get to be a veteran politician with 40 years experience by shooting off your mouth unless it’s calculated. I see Joe in a meeting with the president saying, “Hey, let me just go out there and take the temperature of the water.  If it’s a horrible idea, it’ll just be crazy old Joe shooting off his mouth, but if it’s the right time, then you’ll find out.”

And when Obama’s gay marriage support speech rolled out,  I knew for sure that Joe is one helluva smart political strategist whose greatest advantage is that he doesn’t care what people think about him personally.

But back to the debate at hand. First off, props to Martha Raddatz.  She’s feisty right from the start, “I would like to begin with Libya.”  Whoa, Nellie! No softball question? No inane “what is the difference” queries?  Just, “Good evening, gentlemen, let me set a breakneck pace here by asking you about libyan terrorists assassinating a US Ambassador.” Yeah. I love it. In a tweetshell, as Vanity Fair put it: “Yo, Jim Lehrer, This Is What Killing It Looks Like.”

The NY Times’ Alessandra Stanley observes:

For Mr. Biden especially, the night was his chance to relive past debates and unleash his inner barroom brawler. He had to be contained and courteous when he debated Sarah Palin four years ago, lest he look like a bully. This time he let loose. And unlike the courtly Mr. Bentsen in 1988, Mr. Biden turned his temperature up, singeing the young man across the table with patronizing grins, but mostly withering retorts. His interruptive barrage was as relentless as his silent mugging for the camera.

Mr. Ryan held his own, but did look abashed when Mr. Biden mocked him for opposing the Obama stimulus, yet asking for government funds for his own district. “On two occasions, we — we — we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants,” Mr. Ryan said stiffly.

“I love that. I love that,” Mr. Biden said. “This was such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying — writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus — it will create growth and jobs.”

And if Biden looked authoritative and no-nonsense, Ryan often seemed rattled, like a punky, arrogant little kid who’s just been called out on blatant lies and is desperately trying to keep his cool and bluster his way through. His little “heh-heh” chuckle creepily reminds me of GWShrub’s grating little trademark snigger.

Oh, and by the way, these are real photos of Paul Ryan– he posed for Time Magazine, when he was the 2011 runner up for Person of the Year (???). Don’t ask.
But before I leave the topic of Ryan’s appearance, I’m going to say again… Hannover Fiste.  Remarkable. (Thanks, Todd, now I can’t see anything else…)

Anyway, pundits on the right will claim that Biden was unhinged because they can’t refute what he said, and those on the left will  rejoice that FINALLY someone is starting to call out the Romney-Ryan lie machine.

They get to Medicare entitlements and Ryan tries to drag his mom into the discussion. In his response, Biden offhandedly reminds us that he filleted Sarah Palin on the death panel debate and can fillet Ryan just as neatly.

Some favorite Biden lines:

  • “That is a bunch of malarkey!”
  • “Go on our Web site. He sent me two letters saying by the way, ‘Can you send me stimulus money? It will create growth and jobs. Those are his words. And now, he’s sitting here looking at me?”
  • “By the way, any letter you send me, I’ll entertain it.”
  • “Oh so now you’re Jack Kennedy…”

And one of my favorite Biden responses managed to wrap the 47% remark, the GM bailout,  and Romney’s veteran policies neatly into a response on unemployment figures:

Let’s look at the — let’s take a look at the facts. Let’s look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. We had — the Great Recession hit. Nine million people lost their job, 1.7 — $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes, in retirement accounts from the middle class.

We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class. And in addition to that, when that — and when that occurred, what did Romney do? Romney said, no, let Detroit go bankrupt. We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, no, let foreclosures hit the bottom.

But it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy who says 47 percent of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. My friend recently, in a speech in Washington, said 30% of the American people are takers. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax. They are elderly people who in fact are living off of Social Security. They are veterans and people fighting in Afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes.

I’ve had it up to here with this notion that 47 percent — it’s about time they take some responsibility here. And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we’re going to level the playing field. We’re going to give you a fair shot again.

Says Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast: “Biden’s affect is the most important thing tonight. He seems like the elder statesman but also a pitbull.”

And at the Economist, reaction was: “Joe Biden was easily the more memorable debater in every way; he was louder, more emotional, lucid, detailed, garrulous, grinning, teary-eyed and just Joe Biden. He sank some real barbs into Romney-Ryan. The Biden that Mr Obama hired in 2008 to excite lower-middle-class types from Scranton showed up and did his job. Ryan was cool, impressively calm given his unpredictable opponent, and detailed, but seemed reactive much of the night. He could have put Obama-Biden on the spot for their deficit failures more effectively; as it was, more time was spent on how Mr Romney’s numbers don’t add up (a potential future deficit) than the actual deficit itself.”

Sam Youngman of Reuters on PBS: Joe’s message was “Hey, welcome to my turf, rookie.”

And I won’t deny that Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker pretty much gets it right: “In a poll of Democratic voters taken immediately following Thursday night’s Vice-Presidential debate, a wide majority said they wanted Vice-President Joe Biden to appear in all remaining 2012 debates,” adding, “Obama should crush a little bit of Joe Biden into a joint and smoke it.”

So, how did Joe do? If you must know my opinion, he cleanly filleted Ryan before the guy even knew what was going on, and  then he packaged him up with a wine sauce to cover that off-flavor of hypocrisy and put a few nice clean chives on the top.

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So early voting began in California last Tuesday, and we realized that in order to vote at this juncture, we would have to wade through our positions on nearly a dozen ballot measures and another handful of local propositions. So, Californians, we are now prepared to reveal our recommendations on everything from gross receipt taxes to GMO labeling to the human trafficking.  Interested?  Send me a message and I’ll be happy to share our snarky take on this year’s props.  And when you know which way you want to vote on your local and state props,

GO VOTE. 

In-person early voting has commenced in South Dakota, Idaho,  Vermont, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana,  California, and beginning today, Arizona.

You can vote by absentee ballot already in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas,Maryland, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Michigan, Mississipi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas,Delaware, Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, North Dakota, Illinois, Washington DC, New York and Florida.

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GROUSEY CAT SEZ: 
 “Sometimes I leave malarkey in the litterbox…
and sometimes I leave malarkey on the carpet…”

 


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