OK, there’s ONE reason I might prefer Hillary to Joe Biden


Generally, I’ve been happy, even a little excited, to hear that Joe Biden might challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Part of it is the unsavory side of the presumed front-runner that her email mess reveals, day after day. Actually, not so much “reveals” as “reminds us of.” We are reminded of the control freak, the Nixonian figure who can’t see legitimate criticism as anything other than another attempt by her enemies in the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to trump up a way to do her in.

Whereas I’ve always liked Joe. He was my fave on the Democratic side in the 2008 campaign until he dropped out. It’s hard not to like Biden; he’s just so chock-full of the best kind of Joe-ness. (What is Joe-ness? Oh, it’s many things. One example: Earlier this morning I was talking to Samuel Tenenbaum, and told him to say hi to Inez and tell her I want to talk with her about Biden. That caused Samuel to tell me about Biden calling him to wish him a happy birthday a couple of weeks back. They got to talking about books they had read recently. Samuel, who loves to share books with friends, mentioned he had wanted to send a book to the veep but couldn’t get past his staff. According to Samuel, Biden said, “My staff and the Secret Service can be a pain in the ass.” That’s one type of Joe-ness.)

However it turns out, I’ll be happy to see him get into it, if he does.

But… all of that said, I read a column this morning in The State that reminds me of at least one reason I might prefer Hillary as a commander-in-chief.

It was by Doyle McManus of the L.A. Times. In part, it said:

Biden and Clinton aren’t far apart when it comes to domestic issues, but that’s decidedly not true when it comes to international affairs.

Clinton was on the hawkish side of Obama’s team. She supported a big surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan in 2009; Obama opted for a smaller surge, with a time limit. In 2011, she called for U.S. military intervention in Libya; Obama went along. In 2012, she urged him to send military aid to Syrian rebels; Obama resisted (after Clinton left office, he changed his mind).

Biden was on the opposite end of all three debates. He didn’t think adding U.S. military force in Afghanistan would solve the country’s problems. He didn’t think Libya was central enough to U.S. interests to justify airstrikes. And he was skeptical about the idea of arming Syrian rebels.

The two even disagreed over whether the president should launch the secret 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Clinton “concluded that this was a rare opportunity and believed we should seize it,” then-CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in his memoir. “Biden argued that we still did not have enough confidence that Bin Laden was in the compound [where the CIA believed he was living], and he came out firmly in favor of waiting for more information.”

There’s a clear pattern here. Each time, Clinton argued in favor of U.S. intervention. Each time, Biden was a skeptic, warning Obama that the risks outweighed the potential gains….

This piece reminds me that one of the thing I’ve always liked about Hillary is that she is on “the hawkish side of Obama’s team.” It’s not that I’m such a hawk, as many of you believe. It’s just that I’m definitely, without question, to the hawkish side of the current POTUS. More than that, she understands America’s role in the world, that the United States is, as Madeleine Albright used to say, “the indispensable nation.”

And Joe even tried to put the brakes on the Abbottabad operation? OK, it wasn’t unreasonable to want to be more certain about Osama bin Laden being in that compound. Anyone would. Certainty is a nice thing to have. But as it turned out, Obama made the right call in going ahead, and it stands as one of the wisest decisions of his presidency.

So where do we stand here? Definitely, I prefer Joe on a personal level — he passes the “would you want to have a beer with him” test with flying colors. But there’s a lot to be said for Hillary’s approach to national and collective security — which is, you know, kinda important when picking a POTUS.

The bin Laden mission: Biden was the cautious one.

The bin Laden mission: Biden was the cautious one.

17 thoughts on “OK, there’s ONE reason I might prefer Hillary to Joe Biden

  1. Ralph Hightower

    Didn’t Hillary have links to Nixon’s Watergate investigation? I don’t mean as a part of Nixon’s circle, but as a support role in the investigation?
    Could that be where Hillary learned to control?

  2. Bob Amundson

    HRC was a staff attorney on the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry on Watergate. In an interview on the Neal Boortz Show in 2008, her boss, Jerry Zeifman (a Democrat who served as counsel and chief of staff for the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation) made this statement: “Well, let me put it this way: I terminated her, along with some other staff members who were — were no longer needed, and advised her that I would not — could not — recommend her for any further positions.”

    When pressed, Zeifman said he couldn’t recommend Hillary Rodham Clinton for future positions, “Because of her unethical conduct.” Despite that, however, Clinton was terminated because she was “no longer needed” — not because she had lied, according to Zeifman’s own account.

    Interesting story; for more information, http://www.truthorfiction.com/clinton-watergate/

  3. bud

    It’s not that I’m such a hawk, as many of you believe. It’s just that I’m definitely, without question, to the hawkish side of the current POTUS.

    Ok. I’m not sure whether you actually see yourself in that light or whether this is an attempt to rattle the cage and get some blog traffic, but hey, I’ll bite. We all have our blind spots and obviously this “It’s not that I’m such a hawk” comment is obviously yours. Given that you have consistently supported the Iraq invasion EVEN IF we had known in advance that there were no WMD, a clear violation of practically every conceivable protocol of international law, what you use to describe such a hawk? And who would qualify?

    1. Brad Warthen

      But see, you’re misunderstanding my position when you say, “EVEN IF we had known in advance that there were no WMD.”

      At no time did I think WMD were the reason to go into Iraq. Most people thought that, which is a problem since when no WMD were found, they thought we had therefor gone in for “no reason.” But that wasn’t my rationale. The WMD were an extra and unnecessary consideration…

      1. bud

        I don’t misunderstand at all. That’s exactly my point. You supported an illegal, immoral and ultimately counterproductive war for reasons that had NOTHING to do with our home security; then turn around and suggest you’re not particularly hawkish. That takes moxie. Not sure if I’ve ever known anyone MORE hawkish.

  4. bud

    This might be a good time to handicap the Democrats. Everyone has had Hillary at 90+% but I’m just not sure the people want all the Clinton drama. Even if much of it is manufactured nonsense folks would love to see someone else. Still, her poll numbers are holding up. But who? So here are my odds:

    Hillary – 58%
    Joe – 20%
    Bernie – 19%
    Others already in the race 1%
    Others not already in the race 2%

    1. Juan Caruso

      Bud, you were corret about the everlasting Hillary Clinton drama — no one wants it any longer!
      IIs ability to prevail depends entirely on legal perversions of common-sense justice; play Monopoly with the Clintons and Boardwalk ownership becomes ayour LIABILITY. This has not been news for a long time. Corruption is just that, and the Clintons manifest it in sublime fashion. Good riddance Hillary! Even Bernie Sanders kicks herr Stone Age hypocrisy.

      As Ralph Hightower and Bob Amundson have duly noted, Hillary is a damaged woman. Go Clintons!. Guess where? Good bye!

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Hillary is a “damaged woman.” Man, those are some heavy stones you are casting.
        I daresay we are all “damaged.” We just know a lot more about Hillary because she has been stalked for decades.

        1. Bart

          “Stalked” is also a heavy stone to cast considering Hillary chose to be in the public spotlight her entire life. She is no shrinking violet nor is she one to shy away from the cameras and press, she invites the attention. When the attention is invited, stalking is not the correct description of the press or notoriety she receives.

          As for being damaged, I agree all of us are damaged to some degree but even if any of the information coming out about her is no more than 25% accurate, then she is more damaged than a POTUS should be.

          Enough of the legacy hopefuls and that includes Biden. I am not a Sanders fan but at this point, I prefer him over Hillary on the Democrat side and on the Republican side, all I see is a three ring circus with Donald Trump playing the ringmaster.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            The spotlight she chose to be in turned out to be way higher wattage than the one shone on anyone else, though!

            1. Bart

              Agree the spotlight had a higher wattage but what else can she or her supporters expect when it was her choice to be in high profile positions and make outrageous claims that have been proven untrue? I understand politicians need to enhance their images but c’mon, she sought the higher wattage lights and in turn, the media gave her what she sought.

              Now, when the high intensity spotlight is on her and it is apparently uncomfortable, suddenly she is trying to avoid it unless it serves her purpose. I am not condemning Hillary, just pointing out the obvious.

              Every politician running for office should have the highest intensity light possible shone on them before the voters go to the booth to vote. No matter if he or she is Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or whatever, no aspect of their past should not be fully explored and vetted for the people they want to lead. Voting records, background fully reported, no stone unturned. If the media is not willing to do their job, then what good are they other than parrots repeating party or ideological lines the way Fox and MSNBC report their particular slant on the “news”.

              1. Kathryn Fenner

                Aw c’mon– the Ken Starr Chamber was extremely out of bounds! The time and expense and all they had to show for it was a stained blue dress? Not any hard evidence of any of the initial claims….

              2. Bart

                Blue dress? I thought Monica was wearing the blue dress with the “stain” on it. As for Ken Starr, the current president of Baylor, what does he have to do with Hillary running for office in 2016? This is old news, nothing new here. I guess rattling them old bones is still in vogue.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              More light has been shone on Hillary because, unlike the GOP candidates who divide the spotlight 17 ways, she has been (until very recently) the presumed nominee on the Democratic side. And yeah, that makes for brighter illumination.


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