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Susan Estrich
8 Oct 2014
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Say It Ain't So, Joe

Comment

Sometimes Joe Biden, bless his good intentions, doesn't know when to stop. I won't recount past instances of this — I'll leave that to the RNC — but the most recent is a painful example of what happens when a short answer will do and you give a long-winded one instead.

At a rally in New Hampshire, a questioner actually expressed his pleasure that Barack Obama had chosen Biden as his running mate over Hillary Clinton, a sentiment not universally shared among Democrats. Biden, to his credit, wanted to be sure that no one would later say that he had in any way questioned the New York senator's qualifications (as he once did his own running mate's).

"Make no mistake about this," Biden responded. "Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let's get that straight. She's a truly close personal friend, she is qualified to be president of the United States of America; she's easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America…" That was the place to stop. That was the moment in which you succeed in not making news, which is the usual goal of a vice presidential candidate, unless the news relates to the poor judgment of your opponent, not your running mate.

Biden, however, known for his occasional loquaciousness, did not stop. He then made news, questioning the judgment of the would-be president who had placed him on the ticket instead of Hillary. "And quite frankly," Biden concluded, "it might have been a better pick than me."

It's not that I disagree. She might have been. But at this point, that's an argument that helps Republicans, not Democrats, and helps McCain, who did not pass over a woman whose qualifications are open to question, as opposed to Obama, who passed over a woman whose qualifications are not.

There is something happening with women voters in America, maybe not among the most elite women who blog on liberal websites, but among women of almost every political stripe who may decide the election this fall. They identify with Sarah Palin and are recoiling at the cheap shots that Democrats, who have no reason to be so desperate but are acting as if they do, are lobbing in her direction.

Her only qualification being that she hasn't had an abortion? Ouch. Double ouch. Not just a poor choice of words, but a sexist sentiment. Say goodbye and good night to half the mothers in America on that one.

It is no time to remind voters that Obama could have, much less should have, chosen Hillary. It is no time to give them another reason to feel connected to a Republican ticket with whom they disagree on many of the issues that most directly affect their families.

Ultimately, McCain will win or lose, not Sarah Palin. Ditto for Obama. But vice presidents — and especially the choice of them — reflect significantly on the judgment of the would-be president. I remember talking to Bill Clinton a week or so before the Democratic Convention in 2000 — and given how right Clinton turned out to be, I feel perfectly comfortable telling this story now. We discussed whom Al Gore might choose to be his running mate and why Clinton had chosen Gore eight years earlier. The one person I hope he doesn't pick, the then-president told me, is Joe Lieberman.

The reason was that the choice of Lieberman, one of the first senators to speak out against Clinton, would be seen as a direct effort to distance Gore from Clinton. Of course, President Clinton said all the right things when Lieberman was picked, but he and I and everyone else in the world understood what the choice signified. In my judgment, it was that choice, and Gore's underlying successful effort to distance himself from the economic accomplishments of the preceding eight years (for which he should have been taking credit), that turned what should have been an easy victory into a 5-4 loss.

By choosing Palin, McCain effectively distanced himself from George W. Bush, the man many Democrats hoped to run against this fall. The new "couple" is McCain and Palin, not McCain and Bush. Smart.

By choosing Biden, Obama effectively distanced himself from Hillary Clinton, no matter how many campaign appearances she may be making for him now. That may or may not have been a smart choice. But it is hardly one Democrats should invite voters to revisit in this post-Palin era. The casual and sometimes unconscious sexism of so many liberals in the two weeks since Palin was picked has raised hackles, which reminders of how Hillary was passed over by Obama can only exacerbate.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

15 Comments | Post Comment
Susan, we are diametrically opposite politically, but I do find your articles thoughtful and with insight.
Comment: #1
Posted by: KG
Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:15 AM
As with the above poster I truly enjoy reading your articles even though we are on different sides of the spectrum. I wish both sides had individuals such as yourself speaking reason.
Comment: #2
Posted by: barbara
Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:18 AM
Susan, I read another one of your articles and was impressed with the fairness in print. I vote independent as I think both parties care more for themselves than the people in reality, but, having said I voted for Reagan and then voted for Clinton as he is to the center.

As I work and live in Germany I read all the different views and opinions published around the world. I could not believe how the MSM went to bat for Senator Obama along with the leadership in the DNC. Sure Hilliary Clinton has some baggage as they state, but, she proved to be a tough fighter for which she gained my respect. However, I just do not see Senator Obama as a real fighter for what is right as he seems to want to talk about it and talk about it some more. He has to take a stand one day or else the republician party will eat him for a snack, not even a main course. I believe this is already happening with McCain placing Palin on his ticket.

Oh well, as they say, back to the drawing board for the next election.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Gene44
Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:58 AM
I was 'born' a knee-jerk liberal but even in those days,
I crossed parties for candidates who impressed me.
And then along came Jimmy Carter for whom I have no
words (certainly no good words -- except for his HUD
work). Since then, I have taken a good long look at
both parties.

Neither party is terrific and neither seemed vastly
different on social issues then. The difference I
found was attitudinal and it was the Democrats
who I found to 'pander' to their minority voters
and I really did not like that. (From then on, I
have voted Republican - except my unfailing
votes for Patrick Moynahan.)

More recently, they have gone way over the edge.
I'm afraid Obama will turn us into Europe pushing
us toward cradle-to-grave socialism and Neville
Chamberlain appeasement.

Then comes his speech to a Jewish group where
he said he 'favored' making Jerusalem the
capitol of Israel followed by his speech to a non-Jewish
group two hours later when he said the opposite.

Interestingly, during your primary, I went from
really loathing Hillary to being impressed by her.
In the end, I thought she was winning the popular
vote and then along came your super delegates
and voted him in despite the clear shift toward
Hillary--what is that about?

I thought about voting Obama but I don't think he is
what he says. How do you sit in Wright's church
for 20 years and don't have a clue that he is preaching
hate? Even if that is true, how can we elect
a president who could be that clueless?

I disliked the blatant favoritism of the MSM.

But ultimately, the attacks on Sarah Palin (from
both the MSM and Obama surrogates) put paid
to that and I will now be voting McCain.

I would not give absolute odds that you won't be.*


* I'm pro-choice and we both know this is a
made-up issue. What might happen is a rejection
of partial birth abortion and a few strictures (for
a start, how about limiting serial abortions ie
abortion as birth control).

Comment: #4
Posted by: Liz
Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Susan, I along with the other posters agree that you are more often then not even handed in opinions. Thank you for that. We Conservatives find it hard to find a liberal writer who is fair minded.. I think you are. When I totally disagree with you on some points I realize that in some ways we are coming from a radically (sometimes) different background of experience and that's ok. It makes life interesting if the writer is sensitive to the faults of their own political party as well as the faults of the opposing political party. That is why your articles are not put down quickly. We know you are not mean spirited.

Your disappointment in Hillary not being chosen as a candidate for VP is obvious. This of course was also a shock to every Conservative. However, we look at Hillary's lack of experience as your party looks at Sarah Palin. Neither one of us would ever understand the other's argument. What on earth was Obama thinking of? His own comfort zone? Humm. Keep up the good work, Susan. One more thing:

You really caught my interest in your writing when you spoke about your parents. I felt I was a soul sister. I know what it is like to lose a parent. I have lost two now. They don't teach you how to handle that, do they. My father was a minister, the light of my life. He wrote religious poetry with humor. Knowing how you love to laugh, I know you would have liked him. At least I have all his sermon outlines and his poetry. His words live on as yours will, Susan. What a special gift you have.
Comment: #5
Posted by: dona leverett
Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:39 AM
Susan, I along with the other posters agree that you are more often then not even handed in opinions. Thank you for that. We Conservatives find it hard to find a liberal writer who is fair minded.. I think you are. When I totally disagree with you on some points I realize that in some ways we are coming from a radically (sometimes) different background of experience and that's ok. It makes life interesting if the writer is sensitive to the faults of their own political party as well as the faults of the opposing political party. That is why your articles are not put down quickly. We know you are not mean spirited.

Your disappointment in Hillary not being chosen as a candidate for VP is obvious. This of course was also a shock to every Conservative. However, we look at Hillary's lack of experience as your party looks at Sarah Palin. Neither one of us would ever understand the other's argument. What on earth was Obama thinking of? His own comfort zone? Humm. Keep up the good work, Susan. One more thing:

You really caught my interest in your writing when you spoke about your parents. I felt I was a soul sister. I know what it is like to lose a parent. I have lost two now. They don't teach you how to handle that, do they. My father was a minister, the light of my life. He wrote religious poetry with humor. Knowing how you love to laugh, I know you would have liked him. At least I have all his sermon outlines and his poetry. His words live on as yours will, Susan. What a special gift you have.
Comment: #6
Posted by: dona leverett
Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:41 AM
Great article. You (and Senator Biden) could not have said it better-Obama lost when he refused to add Hillary to the ticket. He has allowed personal dislike to cloud his judgement. To me, his failure indicates a fear of dealing with the powerful Clintons-hardly a resume for the leader of the free world. I am sure none of this is lost on the more thoughtful independent voters who typically make up the block that puts a candidate over the top. Now we will have at least 4 more years of Republican governing.
Comment: #7
Posted by: tjh182
Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:30 PM
Great article. But I'm left puzzled with how we can avoid talking about this. Everyone had been scratching their heads for weeks wondering why Obama wasn't blowing McCain out of the water in this environment. Then he finally hit the big 5-0 in the polls, as you pointed out in an earlier piece. But McCain responded with a brilliant POLITICAL move that energized Repubs, and was at least partly a pitch to Dems and Independents not totally committed to Obama--many of whom had supported Hillary.
Just as people were excited by the historic nature of his candidacy, many (women & men, young & old, blue collar workers, Catholics) were likewise thrilled by the historic nature of her candidacy. By "passing over her", he basically told her to be a nice girl and go sit in the back of the bus. He, of all people, should understand the power of a dream deferred. Obama created a vacuum that Palin fills nicely for many. Don't get me wrong, Biden is a great public servant; but he didn't generate much interest in the primaries. And he certainly doesn't represent change.
Comment: #8
Posted by: cadbury
Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:19 AM
Even when Biden is candid - he lies, or more precisely, his actions are different from his words, so choose your invective (liar, hypocrite, two faced, whatever). If he truly believed Hillary is better qualified to be VP, why didnt he refuse on principle? Wait, I think I have my answer - liberal - principles....
Comment: #9
Posted by: Bob
Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:53 AM
Hillary Rodham Clinton for The Supreme Court!!!!! via Obama-Biden '08!!
The polls are being manipulated....
One day we'll all wake-up and come from the center which is the only place where authentic and positive change on behalf of every American will take place.
Robert Kennedy ~
"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents".
John McCain has proven himself to be brash, viral, poisonous (a Viper) and desperate to win the White House at all costs. He's demonstrated himself to be so desperate he now hides "behind the skirt of a delusional and arrogant woman". It is hard to imagine the most destructive nuclear arsenal on Earth could be placed in the hands of a woman who believes the world began 5,000 years ago and by the "will of God" is headed to a final destruction in which all earthly existence is extinguished and only the true believers are saved.
G-d Save America from her own religious nutcases!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Soleil
Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:27 AM
Ok - but get off the high horse on sexism, Ms Estrich. Robert Kennedy did not use his children as an attribute to be President. He and Ethel did not use their apparent lusty fertility as bonus credentials. If Governor Palin wants to play in this arena, she should stop hiding behind her own skirts. I did not like having to shell out taxpayer money to have a fleet of paramedics and a doctor go on hunting trips with Dick Cheney because he had heart problems. I do not want to hear about Sarah Palin's accommodations to her family. Lots of women do it. Suck it up. It is not a qualifier for public office. Having a downs syndrome child is not a special qualifier for special office, either. John Kennedy did not run his campaign based on having a handicapped sister. I work with lots of women who have handicapped children - they are not qualified to make decisions on international relations even though some have PhD's in education. I am tired of seeing pictures of her with bloodied and dead animals. I was completely turned off by John Kerry when he decided to do the dead duck routine at the end of the campaign. I don't like having her religion being used as a qualifier for public office. And - PLEASE stop putting forth candidates who are proud of their lack of success in school and then want to overturn the public education system and make the Dept. of Education extinct. Are you kidding me? Another president who was less than a hook student (Bush now McCain)??? Another VP who bounced through (five?) colleges similar to Cheney who had his own problems staying in college. What? This is the criteria for our top executives? To heck with sexism - how about good old intellect and education. Why not Jesse Ventura for President? Shuckey darn, he was a governor and put together a crowd. NO - this woman is not the best and brightest female to put up for the highest executive office. There is a very good chance that McCain may not finish his term in office - either because of death or incapacitation. THIS SARAH PALIN is the best candidate with a uterus that they could find in America? Really? And - because I once had a uterus, I too need to show deference and tenderness to this "mother of five." No - I don't care about her litter, her clothes, her lipstick, her family problems. Everyone I know has these issues. No, I care about her qualifications - intellect - yes,. International background, - yes. I despise her environmental thought process. I am sickened by her wildlife policies. No, just because we are of the same gender - I will not give her a pass on public scrutiny. Sexism? This woman has been catapulted to the front lines on something other than her qualifications. Just as I do with every male that runs for public office, if I want to call attention to that fact, I will. Don't tell me I can't call her out because she is a "sister." There are no sisters and brothers in politics. We are not electing Mr. and Mrs. America with a First Dude. We are selecting humans who hold the economic and educational future of my family and the environment in their hands. When having bypass surgery I don't care if the surgeon wears lipstick, gave birth once, twice, or twenty times. I care about their credentials.
Comment: #11
Posted by: HansaGruber
Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:25 PM
Susan, While I do not agree with most of thinking at least you can "think" which is more than so many liberals in the spotlight seem to be capable of.

I emailed Chris Matthews several weeks before he got booted and explained while I liked him I no longer could trust him.

I recently wrote Charlie Gibson and said the same thing.

Freedom in the press should be just that, freedom...freedom from bias and well as government oppression.

Comment: #12
Posted by: jim potts
Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:59 AM
Hey, McCain at 50%. Ahead of Obama in every poll. Pretty cool, don't you think?
By the way, why do you keep saying that Hillary's experience is not open to question? Does this mean that Laura Bush should run in 2012? Or Cindy McCain in 2018? The only significant legislation I can remember Hillary Clinton being associated with was the 1992 Hillarycare debacle she and Ira Magaziner put together. Went down in flames as I recall.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Roger
Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:39 PM
Yes you do think and you make more sense than all the other libs combined. All other libs and conservatives should have to go through Susan E. 101 prior to writing. Thanks for presenting a more balanced view even with an obvious left slant. You actually focus on the issue, not the emotion. Jeff H.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Jeff Hendrix
Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:40 AM
I like Hilary Clinton, but I would never vote for her, not yet, she's not ready. She had a poorly run campaign, they mismanaged their monies, she cried and showed weakness during the campaign (what would she do if the country needed her), and she was called out on so many ridiculous lies "landing under gunfire" ad nauseum, there is no way I could support her for President or Vice President. If she ran with Obama and he won the Presidency, I've a feeling something awful would have happened to Obama. Just a feeling.
Comment: #15
Posted by: liz
Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:20 PM
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