The 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race is under way, with the public seeing two top contenders, Vice President Joe Biden and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, making it clear earlier this week they have a deep interest in the nomination.
Clinton finally appeared before both Senate and House committees and displayed her expertise in following Muhammed Ali’s famous “rope-a-dope” boxing tactics. She tiptoed and danced around most every question she was asked, making sure she didn’t say anything that might damage her at some future date when she may be seeking the Democratic nomination for the White House.
Republican Senate and House members tried to get Clinton to give specific answers to their questions, but she was adept at shucking any blame for what went wrong at Benghazi by saying she wasn’t directly involved and that she played no role in the administration’s explanation of the disaster. She said, as secretary of state, she was in charge of everything, but, at the same time, the way she explained it, she wasn’t actually in charge. Others were responsible and, actually, according to Clinton, Republican legislators were responsible because they had not approved substantially larger appropriations to the State Department to provide greater security for outposts such as Benghazi.
Clinton had four months to prepare her defense and design her answers to any critics who questioned what happened at Benghazi. She prepared very well while Republican senators and House members didn’t perform well in asking penetrating questions, demanding specific answers and preparing for the hearings.
In one way, the hearings didn’t accomplish much because the public still is left questioning and wondering why President Obama, Clinton and other spokespeople for the administration didn’t shoot straight with the public about the murder of four Americans.
If they could get by with lying about this situation, is there reason for the public to wonder whether they fudge the truth or outright lie about other important matters?
As Clinton said in her testimony, “We had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because guys out for a walk one night decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
It should matter to every American. Do the president, the secretary of state and others in the administration all believe it is all right to lie and mislead the public?
Or do they operate under a policy of only telling the truth when it will not reflect poorly on them and make them and their policies look good?
As for Biden, he has been hungry for the presidency for the past 25 years and now he thinks there may be a real opening. The 2016 elections appear to be his last opportunity, and he has four years to polish his image and strengthen his position within the Democratic Party — with elected officials, as well as the general public.
There have been many occasions since the November elections where Biden was able to grab attention, but when the president named him to lead the effort to investigate and propose legislation to curb gun sales and stop the use of guns in violent attacks, he was in the national spotlight.
However, the inauguration parade gave him the best opportunity to showcase and demonstrate his long, deep desire to move into the Oval Office.
The parade was slow and long, and Biden and his wife must have felt cooped up as they were in the second limo with all the attention focused on the super-fortified Obama limo.
But when the procession reached a point where Obama got out of the car and started to walk, hand-in-hand, with his wife, Michelle, Biden had the chance to show how much he wants to gain the party’s nomination and eventually move into the White House.
His enthusiasm was immense, and, if possible, it would not have been surprising if, as soon as he got out of his limo, he had raced around the car, popped the trunk, brought out a tall unicycle and started pedaling in circles and waving to the crowd.
As it was, he waved and waved, pointing to individuals he supposedly recognized, often racing over to the barricades to personally greet and say hello to those cheering the procession and even hugging some children and often shaking hands. His security detail must have been puzzled and perplexed as he darted back and forth to show his enthusiasm and to work the crowd.
There’s nothing wrong with this, and he had every reason to be happy and enthused. But observers could not remember any other vice president behaving in such a manner during an inaugural parade. It is no secret he wants the Democratic nomination.
It will be interesting to see how Obama handles this situation. If both Clinton and Biden make it clear they want the party’s nomination, how will he react and how will he decide to support one or the other?
The “Obama organization” probably is more extensive than that of any past U.S. president. Its information and fundraising bank is unsurpassed, and it could be, and would be, a huge edge for whoever was given access to this information.
Would Obama favor his vice president or his former secretary of state who fought Obama for the party’s nomination in 2008? What will make the difference? Who he likes the best, who he thinks will fight to carry on the Obama agenda or who would be the best president for this country?
Republicans have a battle of their own relative to who will be leading their party for the 2016 election, but the public will be watching an intriguing and terribly important struggle within the Democratic Party during the next few years to see if either Clinton or Biden makes it into the finals.