Will Joe run, or will he not? That is the question. If I had to venture a guess I’d say that, before year’s end, Hillary Clinton will be either sitting on the bench or exchanging her large selection of polyester pantsuits for a selection of orange or black-and-white striped jumpsuits. Her campaign is in steep decline, and when the talking heads on the major networks, CNN, and MSNBC begin to devote major segments to the question of her political future, the end cannot be far away. But who do the Democrats have to replace her? Unlike Republicans, the Democrats have little or no “bench” strength. Bernie Sanders, the doddering old socialist from Vermont is drawing large crowds, but we can’t be sure if people come to hear his plan for turning the U.S. economy into another Greek economy, or if they come to see whether or not the Black Lives Matter storm troopers will once again drive him from the speaker’s platform.
On Saturday, August 22, Elizabeth Warren, the freshman Democrat senator from Massachusetts, was summoned to Biden’s official residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington. And while their meeting was not videotaped for public consumption, there’s not much doubt about the subject matter of their chat. They discussed the very real possibility that Hillary Clinton will soon be forced out of the race, perhaps with criminal indictments lodged against her.
So exactly who is Elizabeth Warren and what has she ever done, if anything, to make her a viable candidate for president or vice president of the United States? Warren has roughly the same presidential qualifications as Barack Obama, who was roughly as qualified as, say, Rosie O’Donnell. Yet they are the sort of candidates most liberals prefer because they’re full of you-know-what. In other words, like Obama, she has no presidential qualifications whatsoever. And wouldn’t it be fun to see Warren, who has spent her entire adult life lecturing about personal and corporate bankruptcy, debate Donald Trump, who is not only skilled at using the bankruptcy statutes to his benefit, but who has become a multi-billionaire trying not to go bankrupt?
Warren graduated from Rutgers Law School in 1978, and has since taught at a number of major law schools, including Houston, Texas, Michigan, Penn, and Harvard. During that academic career she has gained fame as a leading authority on the subject of bankruptcy law.
Warren freely admits that for most of her adult life she was a Republican. However, she has also explained that she became a Democrat in 1995 when she stopped believing in a free market economy… i.e., capitalism. In fact, it is she who has taught Barack Obama to say that, if you’ve achieved some financial success in your life, or if you’ve built a large and profitable business, “you didn’t do that yourself… someone else did that for you.”
In 2012, after announcing her candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, the Boston Herald reported that Prof. Warren had described herself on Harvard job applications as being part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian. In the debate that followed it could not be proved that she had any Indian blood whatsoever in her lineage. Instead, she supported her claim by saying that, as a young woman, she could remember her older brothers speak of their Native American heritage. And since it looked good on a Harvard job application she simply ran with it.
Warren was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2012, defeating Senator Scott Brown and regaining the Kennedy seat in the U.S. Senate. However, the fact that she was the first female senator from Massachusetts was rarely mentioned by Warren or other Democrats… presumably because they did not wish to call attention to the fact that the first black man elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts was Republican Ed Brooke, elected in 1966, some 46 years earlier.
And that brings us to vice president Joe Biden. The current vice president of the United States grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, where his father worked as a used car salesman, providing a practical grounding for Biden’s later political career. He met his first wife while he was a student at the University of Delaware and she a student at Syracuse University. Even at that early stage of their relationship he told her that his long term goal was to become a member of the United States Senate by age 30, before running for president of the United States. During his college career he majored in history and political science, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965, ranking 506th in a graduating class of 688… not necessarily the greatest predictor of long term success at the top of the political world.
After earning a law degree in 1969 Biden was elected to the Newcastle County (Delaware) Council, and just two years later he ran successfully for a seat in the U.S. Senate. However, on December 18, 1972, just days before he was to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, he suffered the first of two major family tragedies in his life. His wife and three children were involved in an auto accident while Christmas shopping in a small town west of Wilmington. His wife and year-old daughter were killed and his two sons were seriously injured, but both recovered fully.
During his Senate career, which spanned six full terms, he was a member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee where he gained a well-deserved reputation for being wrong on almost every significant foreign policy issue. He was also a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving as chairman of the committee for eight years and ranking minority member for eight years. He served as chairman in 1987 when Senate Democrats conducted the shameless public “drawing and quartering” of conservative Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, and as ranking minority member in 1982, during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, a partisan sideshow that Justice Thomas referred to as a “high-tech lynching.”
In 1987, Biden launched the first of two campaigns for the presidency. However, in September 1987 he was publicly denounced for having plagiarized several lines from a speech by Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party. His dishonesty quickly became a national issue and he was forced to abandon his presidential ambitions.
But then, beginning in 2003, Democrats began to take notice of a young man they thought might be a future Democratic presidential candidate, an attractive young black man from the south side of Chicago, a former “community organizer” and a sitting member of the Illinois state senate, a man named Barack Hussein Obama. The only problem was that, having been born with dual US-British citizenship, and having acquired dual US-Kenyan citizenship at age 2, Obama was ineligible to serve as president of the United States.
To solve that problem, Democrats introduced two resolutions in the 108th Congress in 2003, and two resolutions in the 109th Congress in 2005, all aimed at amending the U.S. Constitution to make Obama eligible for the presidency. They even went so far as to pluck him from almost total political obscurity and gave him the plum assignment of making the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was the political launching pad that sent Obama to the United States Senate in 2005 and to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
But Democratic leaders were still concerned about Obama’s lack of eligibility and his complete lack of experience. In an attempt to submerge the issue of his ineligibility, Democratic leaders caused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, chairman of the 2008 Democrat National Convention, and Alice Travis Germond, convention secretary, to delete the words, “… and that the following candidates for President and Vice President of the United States are legally qualified to serve under the provisions of the United States Constitution,” from official nominating certifications sent to 49 of the 50 states, certifications that allowed state election officials to print ballots.
Although one would think that either the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic members of the U.S. Electoral College, or at least one member of the U.S. Congress, Democrat or Republican, would care enough about the Constitution to question Obama’s eligibility, that was not the case. All failed in their constitutional obligations and in November 2008, the low-information voters of the United States caused Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be elected president and vice president of the United States, respectively.
But there was a reason Biden was selected as Obama’s running mate. Democrats knew from the outset that, not only was Obama totally without experience and qualifications, he was hopelessly naïve and was unable to utter a simple declaratory sentence without having a teleprompter telling him what to say. To resolve that problem they caused Biden to be selected as Obama’s running mate. With Biden occupying the vice president’s chair, he would be in a position to whisper in Obama’s ear, hopefully preventing him from making any really stupid mistakes.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way things worked out. Within five minutes of entering the Oval Office, Obama made it quite clear to Biden and everyone else that he didn’t need anyone’s advice. What we have witnessed since that day is much like a high school student who won a Kiwanis Club “President for a Day” contest and who arrived at the White House with no one but his high school social studies teacher (in Obama’s case, Valerie Jarrett) as his principal advisor.
On May 30, 2015, Biden suffered the second major personal family tragedy of his life. His son, 46-year-old “Beau” Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware, died of brain cancer. It is reported that the younger Biden’s deathbed wish was that his father seek the 2016 Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
With the impending demise of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, there is every reason to believe that Biden will enter the race. But there is also every reason to believe that, if he does, Democrats across the country will use Beau Biden’s death, shamelessly, as a sympathy factor to help gain support for his campaign. They used that tactic in 1964 to help LBJ win in the wake of JFK’s death, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t use the same classless tactic again in 2016.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.