The real turf battle might not be between Hillary and Barack
Sitting in yesterday’s New York Times Talks panel, “Obama’s First 100 Days”, with Jeff Zeleny, Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, I was struck by something the panelists said and then quickly veered away from. Someone — and, given the darkened theatre, my notes are sketchy on this point — mentioned that the real administration ...
Sitting in yesterday’s New York Times Talks panel, “Obama’s First 100 Days”, with Jeff Zeleny, Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, I was struck by something the panelists said and then quickly veered away from. Someone — and, given the darkened theatre, my notes are sketchy on this point — mentioned that the real administration fight over foreign policy dominance is unlikely to be between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It’s actually likely to be between Hillary Clinton and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden.
On one hand, the Times people point out, Biden has been quite critical — as have many other people — of the role current Vice President Dick “Svengali” Cheney has played in this administration and in some of its more controversial foreign and defense policy positions. On the other hand, in the November 2007 Democratic debates, he wiped the floor with both Clinton and Obama on foreign policy issues, chastising them both for failing to come out strongly enough against martial law in Pakistan or in favor of cutting funding for Gitmo.
And while Biden is “ready on day one” to chair Obama’s White House Task Force on Working Families, he spent his last few days as senator roaming around Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and he wasn’t just seeing the sights.
Had things worked out a little differently, Biden — instead of Sen. John Kerry — would be chairing Hillary’s confirmation hearing tomorrow, though he is still allowed a vote, an opening statement, and a question period if he’s in attendance (which his staff could not confirm at this time). One assumes that, publicly at least, he’s bound to be one of Clinton’s biggest cheerleaders for the time being. But will the man the Times reporters dubbed “The Man Who Can’t Shut Up” really be content shelving his years of foreign policy experience to chair a wishy-washy White House Task Force when there are negotiations to be had, foreign leaders to meet, and foreign policy advice to be offered? One has to wonder.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
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