Over the years, Biden has acquired a singular place in the pop culture of American politics. In a White House that privileges self-containment, Biden ambles between exuberant and self-defeating. He was barely in the West Wing before the Onion declared, in a headline, “SHIRTLESS BIDEN WASHES TRANS AM IN WHITE HOUSE DRIVEWAY,” establishing a theme—“Amtrak Joe,” the hell-raiser at the end of the bar—that is so enduring that it obscures the fact that he is a lifelong teetotaller. (Too many alcoholics in his family, he says. He grew up sharing a room with his mother’s brother, and recalled of the experience, “Even as kids, we noticed Uncle Boo-Boo drank a bit heavily.”)
Instead of raging against the indignities of the Vice-Presidency, Biden luxuriates in the job. Perched in his chair during the State of the Union address, peering down on his former congressional colleagues, Biden makes a pistol out of his finger and thumb, and blasts away, winking and gunning with no evident irony. Last year, C-SPAN taped him getting ready to swear in new senators. He greeted each senator’s family with frisky enthusiasm. To the old ladies, he’d say, “You’ve got beautiful eyes, Mom, holy mackerel.” To the young women: “Remember—no serious guys till you’re thirty!” To the little kids in their Sunday best: “Take care of your grandfather. Your most important job.” The full package—the Ray-Ban aviators, the shameless schmalz, the echoes of the Fonz—has never endeared him to the establishment, but it lends him an air of authenticity that is rare in his profession. It has also produced a whiff of cult appeal, such that his image now has more in common with Betty White than with John Boehner. In May, after a teen-ager invited Biden to her prom, he replied with a corsage and a handwritten note encouraging her to “enjoy your prom as much as I did mine.” On Twitter, people went affectionately berserk.
Very good — one more rant by Oliver showing how a nation of strivers are too busy striving to make sure that rich people aren’t paying taxes:
This is a good weekend, I’m putting off the house work activity (or I’m going to save this for some office timewasting on Monday) — The Delaware Test was created by some Delaware denizens of Reddit. It’s a bunch of questions, including a fair number of political ones. Take it and tell us: 1) your score; 2) what you think of these questions and 3) what question is missing.
New York Magazine presents a piece noting that the longstanding alliance between Teacher’s unions and Democrats may be close to over. That might make some sense, really — Democrats have been at the forefront of initiatives that specifically work at dismantling the public school system and also scapegoating teachers for a multitude of longstanding problems in schools. I’m a fan of unions exercising their political power — especially since it looks like even that is under threat. I’m not sure about the best way to go about that, but it is time to stop accommodating AND providing contributions and boots on the ground while getting nothing in return:
I had a great time last night and it was great to see everyone! Hope we’ll do another DL get-together soon.
Here are two long reads for this great Sunday Morning — this piece (in Politico, but may be the best thing they’ve ever published) is from Nick Hanauer — firmly ensconced in the 1% — talking about the trainwreck to come if income inequality isn’t dealt with. This is a brilliant — and scathing — piece. He reminds us that this kind of income inbalance is at the fulcrum of alot of painful upheaval, that supply-side economics isn’t working, and that those business interests who continue to agitate for supply-side policy are arguing for long-term failure.
But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. [...]
Here’s another great read: Tea Party’s embarrassing irony: How its ideal nation rejects basic American beliefs. This has been pretty plain to most of us who have been watching these folks have their temper tantrum, but:
What I’d argue, rather, is that the Tea Party’s philosophy of government (again, as understood by Salam) has embedded within it an aversion to basic democratic principles that goes far beyond a typical contempt for Washington, politicians and pundits. When Salam writes that Teatopia is founded on a commitment to a “robust federalism” intended to let “different states … offer different visions of the good life” and allow citizens to “vote with their feet” by moving to whichever state best reflects their values, he’s not describing a common aversion to corruption or a distaste for political theater. He’s describing a childish and essentially anti-political belief that a return to an Articles of Confederation-style U.S. order — in which each state is more of a sovereign unto itself than a member of a larger American whole — will produce 50 mini-nations where everyone basically agrees.
Yes! It’s Friday! And tonight and tomorrow night are your last chances to attend the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Tonite’s headliner is Ariel Larrieux and tomorrow’s headliner is Brian Culbertson. Grab your chair and head down to Rodney Square — this is one of the truly fantastic events in Wilmington and an awesome way to spend an evening. Or Saturday afternoon AND evening!
This Sunday’s NJ has a great series on the heroin problem in Delaware which is the perfect study in how the community most affected by an addiction changes the terms of the discussion of that drug. I read that series (and I don’t have a critique of it) and wondered all the way through how this would be addressed if they were talking about crack cocaine. The thing that is important to know is that our drug problem — all of them — is primarily a public health problem and we should be working at this level of sympathy and concern for community for all drug problems, not just heroin.
An 89-year-old British World War II veteran who went missing from his retirement home was found in France enjoying a D-Day anniversary get-together with former comrades, police said Friday.
Bernard Jordan slipped out of The Pines care home in the seaside town of Hove in southern England on Thursday wearing his medals under his raincoat.
The former Royal Navy officer then joined a coach party heading for events marking the 70th anniversary of the landings at Ouistreham in Normandy, northern France.
It is a gorgeous Saturday! What are you doing on this near perfect day? There’s lots of house projects going on here.
Over at the Daily Kos, we discover an interesting recent poll done by the Robert Sage Foundation. This poll purports to have surveyed the 1% as well as the 99% to compare attitudes to various government and political programs. (NOTE: I can’t find the actual poll results, so no idea what the internals look like. Meaning I have no idea how they define the 1%, or how the screened for this, or even the sample size. FYI) But take a look:
Happy Mother’s Day!
I’ve been following this lastest round of Benghazi bullshit from the wingnuts (apparently their All Obamacare, All of the Time strategy is bombing), and was intrigued by this story from Major Garrett (former Fox Noise WH reporter) on CBS. Apparently the Republicans changed the quotes from the email that they point to as a smoking gun — meaning that they lied to re-ignite this thing and get the attention of the media. Of course, the media will bypass the fact that they were lied to in order to get their front seats to all of the falsified spectacle (It doesn’t appear to me that CBS even tweeted out their own story on this.) Take a look:
I have mostly been ignoring the debate over Common Core education standards, pretty much because the opponents and proponents are all speaking in a language that is foreign to me. I don’t have kids so I have not been confronted by these issues. So I have left education blogging to DL’s expert, Pandora, and to Delaware’s best education bloggers, Kavips and Kilroy, as well as Mike Matthews anbd John Young and others focusing on specific school districts like Christina and Red Clay. It is fair to say that I myself have ignored the debate because it did not concern me. That thinking is wrong but it is what has happened.
And because of that, DL has gotten a reputation of being pro-Common Core or pro-Markell in this education debate, because we were less outspoken on the issue than Kavips or Kilroy or Nancy Willing. I don’t that is a fair characterization. A more fair one is that we have been ignorant.
So, I have a few questions….
If Rand Paul really really wanted to be President, he could pretty much guarantee his election right now by sticking to a Libertarian foreign policy of non-interference and continue railing against the NSA. If he did that, he would probably defeat Hillary Clinton.
But he has already tarnished his Libertarian credentials in this Ukrainian crisis. Being a true libertarian in the modern GOP takes courage when it comes to foreign policy. The bully Neocons will call you unAmerican, a Hitler lover, and a coward. So it takes real courage to stand up to that. His father had that courage. Rand Paul does not.
The always astute Paul Waldman takes to the pages of the WaPo today to diagnose what is wrong with the Sunday Yack Shows. The only reason to watch these shows is to get a handle on the news narrative that is being crafted for the upcoming week. Because the manipulation and laundering of talking points into the reporting narrative *is* what the much vaunted journalistic objectivity looks like from the political reporting machine. This really is a boring exercise — populated with the same old voices, arrayed in spectacularly silly ways — when did it get to be a thing to balance a panel of wingnuts with a journalist? And is there any reason at all for George Will or Peggy Noonan to be on TV still? I get that the Sunday Morning shows are basically Company Town TV, but you’d think that a Company Town with as much people churn as DC has would be able to reach out to more voices.
How about that Dianne Feinstein? Looks like she and her husband are making bank on the closing of some Post Offices. Coincidence? Probably not — her husband’s firms made a good deal of money during the BushCo too:
Between 2001 and 2005, Feinstein vetted and approved $1.5 billion in defense contracts for Perini Corp and URS Corporation – both owned by her husband, Richard Blum. In 2009, Feinstein successfully introduced a bill that routed an additional $25 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), some of it for the purpose of marketing foreclosed property owned by banks that had gone under with the housing and markets crash. In a curious twist, CBRE later received a $108 million FDIC contract to market foreclosed property.
Glenn Thrush has written a pretty neat profile for Politico Magazine on Vice President Joe Biden.
“The only thing I know is I ain’t changing my brand. I know what I believe. I’m confident in what I know. And I’m gonna say it. And if folks like it, wonderful. If they don’t like it, I understand.”
Vice President Joe Biden and I were riding the Amtrak to Philly on a frigid February day. I had asked about 2016 and whether America was ready, at long last, to elect a guy with such a mouth. There he was, barely cracking double digits in the polls, abandoned by the party big shots, and appearing, beyond all good sense, like he wanted nothing more than another crack at the presidency.
I feel sorry for Joe. For all intents and purposes, a sitting Vice President is the de facto frontrunner for the presidency, especially for the party in power’s primary. But not this time.
Marc Ambinder: “One undeniable truth: Iraq weakened the U.S. more than anything done since. Maybe Obama overlearned its lessons; maybe we all have. But nothing empowered Vladimir Putin more than America’s squandering of moral standing in the early part of this century.”
Today, Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) will release the first revenue forecast of 2014. In December, DEFAC added $42 million to incoming revenues, but that still left a hole of about $125 million for Gov. Jack Markell to fill in his budget.
South Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Dave Feliciano (R), a teabagging Christine O’Donnell wannabe, is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Said Feliciano: “It’s about time that South Carolina says hey, We’re tired of the ambiguously gay senator from South Carolina. We’re ready for a new leader to merge the Republican Party. We’re done with this. This is what it’s about, all of us coming together and saying, one way or the other, one of us is going to be on that ballot in November.”
Given the homophobia of the right, I bet his poll numbers go up.
Are you following the dissapearance of the Malaysian Airways plane? It is remarkable to me that somehow this flight just vanished without a trace — and that it seems that the flight may not have been on the track it should have been. Then there is the WSJ reporting today that the plane was in the air (or at least the engines were running) well past the time currently suspected.
I am up in the wonderful Clarion, Pennsylvania on business today and tomorrow, so my presence here will be limited. But here is a polling fix to sooth the pain of the special election loss down in Florida (which was entirely predictable, as I said yesterday, since it has been a Republican district and seat since the Eisenhower Administration).
PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL BACK UP–A new Bloomberg Poll has President Obama’s job performance rating at 48%, a jump of 6% since December. His favorability rating is nearly the same, at 49%.
DEMS TAKE THE LEAD IN THE GENERIC BALLOT–A new Public Policy Polling survey finds the Democrats lead the generic Congressional ballot, 43% to 40%, after trailing by two points in January.
“One key difference is that Democrats are at least happy with their own party in Congress, giving it a 66/21 approval, while Republicans give their own [party] a negative assessment at 43/48.”
So as the supposedly liberal media carps today about a coming Republican wave in November as predicted by last night’s loss in FL13, keep in mind that two prerequisites to any GOP Wave is presidential approval at or below 40% and a lead in the generic ballot. Neither of which favor the GOP at this point.