Archive for Saturday, January 26, 2013

Simons’ Saturday Column: Democratic presidential race is already under way

January 26, 2013


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.


Bob Forer 5 years ago

Get over it Dolph. You lost the last election. And nothing you do or say can change that.

Keith 5 years ago

The last 2 elections, but who's counting?

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

Let's face it, my money is on the Republicans in 2016. They will have a deep line-up that is young, compared to Biden and Clinton, who will be 73 and 68 in 2016.

Hardhawk1 5 years ago

Mr. Simons: Why are you so worked up over the confusion in the aftermath of the unfortunate deaths of 4 Americans when Bush and his ilk sent thousands of American soldiers to their death and maiming all based on lies? One American death is too many yet Bush and the GOP have far more blood on their hands. Where is your outrage over that?

marchon 5 years ago

That's become a convenient - but erroneous - argument applied to two very different situations. But whether you hold your argument to be true and I hold it to be false, you would be saying responsibility for government mismanagement and coverup resulting in avoidable deaths gets a pass based on precedent. That's a nonsensical position.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Months before this past election, I stated in this forum that the election of 2016 would begin the day after election day. Stating that was nothing but observing the obvious. So, LJW, let's just go ahead and do it again. The election of 2020 will begin the day after election day in 2016. And the election of 2024 will begin the day after the election of 2020.

Now that we got the obvious out of the way, got any news?

Armstrong 5 years ago

It was kind of shocking to watch Hilly have a mini meltdown in front of the House and Senate. She must really hate being held accountable

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

ROFL!!!!! She ate Rand Paul for lunch :) You really are threatened by strong women, aren't you?

Armstrong 5 years ago

Hilly got called out about Benghazi, Hilly didn't like being held accountable and went nuts ( nuttier then usual ). I would hardly call that eating Rand Paul for lunch. It was nice to see her true colors come out however.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

12 attacks and 53 deaths during Bush's tenure. Where is the outrage? Where are the investigations? 8 of those attacks happened during Rumsfeld's watch. Again I ask you, where is the outrage? Where are the investigations?

Armstrong 5 years ago

When were they denied security after 4 requests. Again, when were they denied security after 4 requests.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Talk to the Republicans who slashed the security budget. McCain talked to Stephens two weeks before. Why didn't McCain do anything? He knew of their concerns.

marchon 5 years ago

To perceive a man or woman as strong, while dishonest? Rand Paul made a clear statement easy to personalize: Imagine your employer holding you accountable for not doing your job - and letting you go because of it. Your employer tells you they don't believe the situation happened because you did it on purpose, or that they felt your intent in any way was to cause harm. However, due to your lack of oversight in doing your job and in light of a terrible and avoidable outcome that transpired, the responsibility was ultimately yours. An independent panel agrees. And you, the employee agree to accept that responsibility. Based on that reasoning the company dismisses you. That encapsulizes the bulk of Rand Paul's opening comments to Hillary Clinton as to what he would do if he were the 'employer'.

marchon 5 years ago

Hillary Clinton's statement of accepting responsibility was a forced compliance - the public release of the independent panel assessment required that - but it has not lead to accountability - just as the removal of some state department employees from their positions because of their culpability in Benghazi were simply moved into other positions, not dismissed.

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

Zzzzzz... As if the R's aren't doing the same?

Stop_the_Madness 5 years ago

What a waste of time. Let's work on the economic issues. Biden and Hillary are losers so bring on some different people.

funkdog1 5 years ago

Newsflash: every politician is a proven liar. It's just whether or not one can stomach the lies.

voevoda 5 years ago

To borrow a phrase from Hillary Clinton, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" As a country, we continue to face serious, pressing issues: the economy, poverty, environmental degradation, gun violence, and, yes, anti-American violence in too many places in the world. And you, like the Republicans grilling Hillary Clinton in Congress, want to avoid dealing with the big picture by playing partisan politics, that is, by attempting to make leaders of the rival party look bad.

Face it, Mr. Simon, you wouldn't support any Democratic candidate who is running in 2016. Instead of sniping at Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, why aren't you trying to promote the visibility of some sensible Republicans, so that they can take back their party from the radical right wing?

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Haha! I had the exact same reaction, gramaddy. "Sensible Republican" is an oxymoron.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Thanks Cait48. Yesterday's grilling of Hillary by the Regurgicans was just an attempt at destroying her credibility. Why does she scare them so badly? They've got nothing and no one. I challenge any one of them to name a credible candidate for 2016. Don't worry, I'll wait. And they are delusional if they think Hillary and Grandpa Joe are all we have.I can think of at least 5 more.

Armstrong 5 years ago

Hilary and credible that's an oxymoron

marchon 5 years ago

Why not deal with the problems you pose and the problem of a lack of transparency regarding Benghazi. Political partisanship is no more evident coming from one party than the other. The truth is not dependent on which jersey you wear unless it's fear that both the teams are corrupt, which would make the demand for truth of absolute importance. When citizens feel obligated to support corruption because it is the corruption of the group they support, the government's manipulation is complete.

verity 5 years ago

A good laugh for a dreary Sunday!

notaubermime 5 years ago

With Hillary's past statements and health issues, it seems very unlikely that she will run. While Biden may run, his extensive history of bizarre quotes will likely keep him from wrapping up a nomination.

If you want a name that undoubtedly will make a strong push for nomination, Andrew Cuomo will almost certainly put his name in. Anyone who doesn't think that he has been positioning himself since before this last election... Successful candidates have everything in place one or two election cycles ahead of time. Candidates who come second in the general presidential elections don't get a second chance.

Likewise, it doesn't take a genius to see that Christie in New Jersey and Rubio from Florida have been conducting similar positioning maneuvers for a while now.

Linda and Bill Houghton 5 years ago

It is not totally true that the losers don't get a second chance. In my lifetime there have been three that came back. In fact one of them became a disgraced President, The other two were Thomas Dewey in 1944 and 1948 and Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. The latter two were pobably pretty much considered to be sacrficial lambs.

notaubermime 5 years ago

That is true, and I rather unintentionally phrased in such a way as to construe a historical perspective. I am sorry for not being more clear, but I really meant it to be more applicable to the political system as it currently is, rather than what it was during the times of Dewey, Stevenson and Nixon.

msezdsit 5 years ago

Oh geese, yet another fact-less cry baby piece of demagoguery from adolph o. To bad he has a monopoly on the newspaper scene in larryville. Hillary answered the questions factually and didn't parrot all the crap the right wing fanatic wacko's have made the story into. To bad American lives are of no value to the pubs. They prefer to exploit the lives of these 4 Americans for their political posturing. Can anyone say, lose another election!!!!

ho hum

beatrice 5 years ago

And even before the Democrats won in 2012, Dolph had already decided that the LJWorld will back the Republican candidate in 2016.

verity 5 years ago

Another dreary Sunday morning chuckle.

Also 2020, 2024 . . .

jayhawklawrence 5 years ago

4 people killed in a literal war zone. A week or so later 4 people killed in a mall in Wisconsin. Many more killed in work place accidents, car wrecks and in military accidents and combat around the world.

Most of the American people are starting to believe that our beloved John McCain is senile and he may well be.

Benghazi is and always has been about desperate Republicans not understanding that most Americans have become smarter and wiser than the high paid political consultants are letting on.

We are not buying the BS anymore. Maybe there is a God after all but he prefers the Democratic Party.

I see no evidence yet that the Republican Party understands basic American values.

The Democrats need to demonstrate over the next 4 years that they can manage the country and cut the deficit or the next President will not be a Democrat.

Armstrong 5 years ago

jayhawklawrence - "The Democrats need to demonstrate over the next 4 years that they can manage the country and cut the deficit or the next President will not be a Democrat."

Probably the truest statement on the site

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Name one viable Presidential candidate in the Regurgican party. Just one.Don't worry, I'll wait.

marchon 5 years ago

There is no such party. Your wait will be interminable, like those Americans killed waiting for support to make its way to Benghazi. Like their families who wait to see if political posturing results in truth or dare.

Armstrong 5 years ago

Rubio and Christie and it is spelled REPUBLICAN

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

Rubio and Christie are liberal republicans and would never make it through the right wing voters in the primary. Run 'em. Let's see.

notaubermime 5 years ago

Rubio is as extreme of a conservative as it gets except when it comes to immigration.

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Trumbull 5 years ago

There was no cover-up in Benghazi. There were several rescue attempts fom bases in the Mediteranean and US. The problem was that we could not get there in time for those who perished tragically. What about those who were rescued. The heroisim there?

As far as transperacy, the lack of has been explained of as being sensitive in the early stages as intelligence was tracking down the bad guys and gathering evidence. This is what intelligence it or not.

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