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Member since: Sat Oct 29, 2005, 10:28 PM
Number of posts: 1,197

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As early as 2012, Joe Biden's influence as a Vice-President was being noted; Obama handed

him several critical assignments and he proved not only a loyal supporter, but a highly effective
negotiator. This article is but one of many which point out how Biden transformed the office to become a key player in the West Wing. It was not merely out of personal friendship that President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

From the fiscal cliff to gun control to Afghanistan, Scranton's favorite son has transformed himself from affable gaffer to West Wing powerhouse.

Barack Obama just can't get enough out of Joe Biden these days. And anybody who's been following Biden's steady ascent in stature over the last several years -- from gaffe-happy presidential contender to one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history -- couldn't be less surprised.

Perhaps the only surprise at all is that, in contrast to a year ago, it took Biden quite this long to become the president's point man on the latest round of fiscal talks. The exact reason for the delay is not clear. Perhaps it is that, only a week and a half ago, Obama had called on his vice president to lead a commission to expedite recommendations on a truly serious national issue, gun violence (as opposed to the present trumped-up issue, fiscal reform, which requires only the smidgeon of political courage necessary to depart from ideological rigidities). Maybe Obama wanted to keep his veep's powder dry for that.

Or maybe it is just that, in the awkward pattern of political dance partnerships that have emerged over the last couple of years, whenever Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner fail to execute -- as they did after the "Plan B" debacle -- it's Biden and his old Senate colleague, Mitch McConnell, who step into the spotlight. The Biden-McConnell duo didn't cut it during last year's cliffhanger over the debt limit, of course. But in a sign of just how important a figure the vice president has become in Washington, Biden's absence until now has been one reason that Republicans doubted Obama's seriousness about cutting a deal, my colleague Chris Frates reported last week.


Biden's Iraq war vote not so hard and fast. To evaluate it, we need some background

From conclusion of Mother Jones’ editorial:

Joe Biden and the Iraq War: It’s Complicated

So the story of Biden’s Iraq war vote has more facets than that of Clinton’s. He pressed the CIA for evidence to back up the White House’s fear-mongering, and when he saw the case was weak, this veteran legislator attempted to craft a bipartisan plan to slow Bush’s gallop to war and endeavored to counter the Bush-Cheney propaganda, insisting that Saddam did not pose an immediate threat. He might have succeeded had he not been sabotaged by Gephardt. Yet, when crunch time came, Biden did not say no to Bush, and he did not cast a tough vote against the go-to-war measure. Instead, Biden backed the resolution and tried to convince the public—and maybe himself—that Powell would save the day. That was a miscalculation and perhaps a sign that this Washington institutionalist put too much faith in the system, or at least in one man.

For most Democratic voters, and maybe most voters overall now, Biden ended up on the wrong side of the Iraq war vote—and on the wrong side of history. That’s the bottom line. (In 2005, Biden said he regretted his vote, remarking, “It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly.”) In his own way—the way of a skilled legislator who could work with Democrats and Republicans—he did try to impede Bush’s war. It was only after he failed that Biden yielded to the forces of conventional political reality and voted in sync with the prevailing pro-war sentiment of the moment.

(The part about Gephardt and Dem hawks interesting)


To beat Biden, his rivals must win in Iowa and New Hampshire

Poll of the week: A new Monmouth University Nevada Democratic caucuses poll finds that former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 36%. He was followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 19%, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13%, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7% and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 6%.
The poll was the first high-quality poll taken of the third-in-the-nation Nevada caucuses.
What's the point: The big question for most of the 2020 Democratic presidential field is how to beat front-runner Biden.


Speaker Pelosi moments away according to MSNBC.

Nadler puts it to Barr. And puts it good. Palmer Report says Nadler is saying Bite Me.

“The pace with which we are proceeding is consistent with the exceptional urgency of this matter: an attack on our elections that was welcomed by our President and benefited his campaign, followed by acts of obstruction by the President designed to interfere with the investigation of that attack.”


Former CIA director: Russia and China are collaborating


On Saturday, Axios reported that former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning Russia and China have formed a de facto alliance to destabilize the United States and threaten national security.

“What I consider two of our strongest adversaries are now working together to try to undermine stability in the United States of America,” said Panetta on “Axios on HBO.” “This is not like dealing with some kind of rogue nation.”

China’s intelligence services have been implicated in a number of cyberattacks on U.S. government agencies. Russia, meanwhile, was extensively involved in undermining the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with their efforts documented in detail by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Line of Duty series 4 and 5. Acorn. Well done all the way around. A bit of a challenge to follow the

plot twists, figuring out the forensics along the way—or not. But I like that it has narrative complexity and depicts a hierarchical, military-style, cut throat police culture, refreshing because it’s Brit. Lovely sense of paranoia pervades if you like that sort of thing.

McCabe talks Russian Crime and Trump, unanswered questions:

McCabe talks about going after Russian organized crime in Brighton Beach as a young agent — and how some of those characters showed up in the Mueller report.


Biden tweets on abortion issue:

Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) Tweeted:
States across the nation are passing extreme laws that violate a woman’s constitutional right to choose. These bills are a blatant attempt to overturn Roe v Wade. It's wrong. It's pernicious. We must #StopTheBans and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor. https://t.co/J4FL9nQgol

Amash extended tweet on Mueller report and Barr's misrepresentation of it. Good read.

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