Category Archives: Uncategorized

Benghazi obsession has a logo and everything now

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Got a release today from a group called “Benghazi Accountability Coalition.” It says in part:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) held the first public hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi last week.
While the session yielded some persistent questioning regarding failed security procedures in Benghazi and at other State Department embassies and installations world-wide, it did not get to the heart of the events of September 11, 2012, nor did it begin to address the lack of accountability for decisions that led to the deaths of four Americans that night. Particularly glaring was the failure to address the breaking story just two days before the hearing of former State Department official Raymond Maxwell’s account of witnessing the culling and potential manipulation or destruction of Benghazi-related documents in a basement room of Foggy Bottom.
The hearing, the topic of which was selected by Democrats and agreed to by Gowdy (“Implementation of the Accountability Review Board recommendations”), produced a tedious discussion of technical security procedures and, in large measure, assisted the Democrats’ slow-roll strategy to frustrate the investigation before leaving town for the November election (with the always-ready complicity, and in this case, dereliction, of the mainstream media). Having given such huge deference to the Democrats in this opening round of the committee’s public hearings, it begs the question if in fact Chairman Gowdy and/or the Republican leadership are committed to thorough and full accounting for the Benghazi attacks….

This group has a logo and everything.

This thing continues to have legs. Maybe Gowdy’s effort could turn into a standing congressional committee. Forty years from now, senior members of Congress would be jockeying for seats on the powerful “Benghazi Committee”…

Sen. Gregory makes the case for gas tax increase

Meant to post this yesterday, but got sidetracked.

On the same day that Tom Ervin was telling me how he had changed his mind and was now pushing for a gasoline tax increase to address the state’s road needs, Sen. “Greg” Gregory, R-Lancaster, had an op-ed piece in The State in which he used numbers to demonstrate why such an increase is needed.

An excerpt:

4: South Carolina’s rank among 50 states in miles of state-maintained roads.

41,460: The number of those miles.

47: Where S.C. fuel tax ranks among the states.

1: Recent ranking of Rock Hill for the nation’s cheapest fuel.

16.75 cents: South Carolina’s fuel tax per gallon.

1987: When the state’s fuel tax last was increased.

7.8 cents: Purchasing power of the tax today compared to 1987.

33 cents: What the per-gallon tax would be today if it had been adjusted for inflation since 1987.

6 cents: S.C. fuel tax in 1937, when paving began on many of what were then farm-to-market roads.

36.5 cents: North Carolina’s fuel tax.

$560 million: Transportation Department’s revenue from state taxes this fiscal year.

$451 million: Portion of that revenue derived from taxes on fuel.

62 percent: Increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled in South Carolina since 1987.

14: Average mpg for new cars in 1975.

33: Average mpg for new cars today.

54: Mandated average mpg for 2025…

And so on. The numbers made it pretty plain that for a number of reasons, the current tax is inadequate for providing roads that can stand up to today’s traffic.

My only beef is that he copped out slightly at the end, partly invoking some of the magical thinking that has informed the statements of other pols on the subject:

Inflation has reduced the purchasing power of our fuel tax by more than 50 percent since it was last increased in 1987. Higher-mileage vehicles have decreased it by another 25 percent. These trends are irreversible. These facts mean that South Carolina must increase funding for our roads if only to stave off further decline. From where should it come? Some say an increased fuel tax. Others say from growth in the state’s general fund. Both are correct.

“Growth in the state’s general fund,” as in Nikki Haley’s “money tree,” as in Vincent Sheheen’s proposal to rely on the revenue growth that occurs every year as a result of inflation and population increases. I refer you to the way Cindi Scoppe eviscerated that Sheheen plan:

If our Legislature decided next year to divert all the revenue growth to infrastructure, it wouldn’t be able to hire those 200 caseworkers that the Department of Social Services says it needs — and Gov. Haley says she supports — to get staffing up to pre-recession levels, and maybe keep a few kids from being killed by their parents.

And just as with the individual, it’s not merely a case of being unable to do anything new. Diverting all the revenue growth to roads and bridges means there’s no money to cover inflation — much less population growth.

We wouldn’t just be unable to hire those additional case workers; we’d have to further reduce the number we have, even as the number of families who need DSS supervision grows. We wouldn’t just be unable to expand 4K and hire reading specialists; we’d have to lay off teachers, even as the number of students increases.

No, you don’t necessarily have to cut government programs if you divert all the new revenue — for one year. But by year two, you have to start making some cuts. By year 20, well, you probably don’t want to think about how big those cuts would be. And you’d still have half the job left undone.

We do NOT have to further cannibalize the other, badly underfunded, essential services of state government in order to fix our road system. We have a mechanism for that, an eminently fair system that charges the most to those who use the roads the most.

It’s called the gasoline tax.

Get better soon, Burl!

Burl posted this alarming image during his stay in hospital, saying, " ?????? Does this mean I'm flatlining?"

Burl posted this alarming image during his stay in hospital, saying, “?????? Does this mean I’m flatlining?”

Just FYI, I see that one of our regulars was hospitalized over the weekend.

Burl Burlingame gave terse updates via Facebook, which I just now saw:

  • OK, here’s the deal. Blood clot in the right lung. Classic pulmonary embolism. Pumped full of anti coagulants and likely be released tomorrow.
  • Update– getting discharged in the hour! I’ll have some permanent lung impairment, so no more marathon running. Thanks everybody.

That last one was 23 hours ago. So, going by my own experiences with family members in the hospital, since they said he’d be getting out “in the hour,” he’s probably being released right about now.

I told Burl on FB that to show solidarity I hereby give up running marathons, too. There’s no need for him to thank me. I’m just that kind of guy…

At least he had a nice view from his hospital room in Kailua.

At least he had a nice view from his hospital room in Kailua.

I’m not quite as strong on fraud, but I AM willing to learn

fraudabuse

And now that my temper is up, I may as well go on and abuse every body I can think of.
– Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

I’ve made fun in the past of the awful job-matching algorithm at The Ladders. Here’s my favorite email of that sort in recent days.

“Director of Fraud and Abuse.” True, I have plenty of experience abusing various politicos — some of you have remarked on the fact — but I’m a babe in the woods when it comes to fraud. I am, however, willing to learn. Would they send me someplace special?

What’s wrong with Sheheen’s road plan, in no uncertain terms

Today, Cindi Scoppe did what I should have done — tear apart Vincent Sheheen’s roads plan and show why, if anything, it’s worse than Nikki Haley’s complete refusal to tell us what her plan is.

For my part, I more or less just looked at it when it came out and saw it didn’t have a gas tax increase in it, and walked away dissatisfied. Cindi, who still gets paid to spend time doing this sort of thing (my only defense), did far more:

Technically, Sen. Sheheen has a plan. And Gov. Haley says she has a new plan, although she won’t reveal it until after the election. Unless she’s playing with semantics, her no-new-tax pledge leaves her no place to go besides where Sen. Sheheen has gone.

That’s because once you decide to take on the state’s $29 billion infrastructure backlog, you have only two options: Raise taxes or starve government.

I suspect that if the Republican-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate were to send a bill to a Gov. Sheheen to raise the gas tax, he would treat it the same way Gov. Carroll Campbell treated the Legislature’s last gas-tax increase, a quarter century ago: Sign it into law. Of course, we have no idea whether the Legislature would do such a thing, because most lawmakers who support a gas-tax increase say there’s no reason to even try it as long as we have a governor who is promising a veto.

But candidate Sheheen isn’t proposing to raise the gas tax. He proposes instead to divert 5 percent of the state’s general fund and surplus revenue to the Transportation Department, and rely on unspecified new revenue, to reduce the backlog by about a third to a half.

He says he wouldn’t have to cut existing programs to do this because he would rely on the revenue growth that occurs every year as a result of inflation and population increases.

That’s certainly not a new approach. To anything….

She then goes on to explain how it’s the same old approach and a bad one. Devoting new growth in revenues to roads means making the recession-caused cuts of the last few years permanent, and deeper, as inflation and population growth take more and more out of the general fund. And despite what the Grover Norquist acolytes will tell you, those cuts have not served our state well.

Here’s the ending:

If our Legislature decided next year to divert all the revenue growth to infrastructure, it wouldn’t be able to hire those 200 caseworkers that the Department of Social Services says it needs — and Gov. Haley says she supports — to get staffing up to pre-recession levels, and maybe keep a few kids from being killed by their parents.

And just as with the individual, it’s not merely a case of being unable to do anything new. Diverting all the revenue growth to roads and bridges means there’s no money to cover inflation — much less population growth.

We wouldn’t just be unable to hire those additional case workers; we’d have to further reduce the number we have, even as the number of families who need DSS supervision grows. We wouldn’t just be unable to expand 4K and hire reading specialists; we’d have to lay off teachers, even as the number of students increases.

No, you don’t necessarily have to cut government programs if you divert all the new revenue — for one year. But by year two, you have to start making some cuts. By year 20, well, you probably don’t want to think about how big those cuts would be. And you’d still have half the job left undone.

Well, yeah — there might be offshore drilling if we FIND something

The Conservation Voters of South Carolina are upset about oil and gas exploration off the SC coast:

Sonic cannons: Is offshore drilling next?

Conservation Voters,

On Friday, the federal government announced its approval for use of sonic cannons to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, from Delaware to Florida. Sonic cannons blast loud noises underwater, disturbing marine mammals, including the endangered North American Right Whale. This method of exploration has serious impacts, and it is the first step to drilling off our coast.

Past projections indicate too little oil and gas, too much risk and too little benefit for South Carolinians. We have serious concerns about the use of sonic cannons in our waters despite the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) “mitigation measures.” The fact that BOEM will not share the results of the studies compounds our misgivings. This process is as opaque as our waters will be if there’s drilling offshore.

Regardless of the results, the fundamental geology of our coastline suggests that offshore oil and gas would be a drop in the bucket, especially with our country’s exploding natural gas production. These are global commodities, and any oil or gas produced off our coast would not lead to lower energy costs here.

We urge Governor Haley to reject the “drill, baby, drill” rhetoric of the past.  We disagree with her assessment that drilling could be a “tremendous boon to South Carolina.”  Instead, we ask state leaders to support clean energy policies that bring jobs and lower power bills, without the risks that we saw so vividly in the BP Gulf Oil disaster. We cannot turn our coast into an industrial zone for oil companies’ profits and federal government royalties. Converting McClellanville, Pawleys Island, or Beaufort into a home for large refineries and industrial-scale natural gas infrastructure would imperil the tourism and fishing industries that sustain these special places.

Stay tuned.We’ll be following this issue closely in the months to come.

The answer to the question, “Is offshore drilling next?,” would seem to be Yeah — if we find anything that makes the effort worthwhile.

I’m a tree-hugger from way back — I participated in the first Earth Day when I was in high school — but I’m also founder of the Energy Party, and that means I’m going to have to hear more arguments before I’m opposed to this exploration off our coast (although the “sonic cannon” bit does sound a little wild).

The point isn’t “lower energy costs.” The point is energy independence. And unless you have a plan for us to be independent and stay independent without exploring for oil — because until hydrogen cars or some other breakthrough are here and mass-produced and affordable, our economy is going to need oil — then we need to go get it where we can find it. And that requires looking for it first.

Tom Erwin adds staff

I kind of like it when candidates send out helpful memos like this, to make it easier for me to keep up with who is running their campaigns. It keeps me from having to ask around, which, let’s face it, is kinda like work:

Ervin Campaign Announces the Addition of Press Secretary Christian Hertenstein and Senior Advisor Matt David.

Greenville, SC — The Tom Ervin campaign announced today its most recent additions to the campaign’s staff, press secretary Christian Hertenstein and senior advisor Matt David.20140525_0138-300x300

“We are recruiting top talent to our campaign team so that we continue our momentum and claim victory in November,” said Tom Ervin, the Independent Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina. “We want the entire state to understand our plan to grow the economy, ensure every child has access to a quality education, and implement tough ethics reform in Columbia; this is the team we need to do it.”

Matt David is a partner at Outland Creative Works in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to this he held a number of roles in Republican politics, both in state government and campaigns. David was the deputy chief of staff and communications director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. David’s experience in South Carolina includes work in two Republican presidential primaries: deputy communications director for Sen. McCain in 2008 and campaign manager for Gov. Huntsman in 2012.

“South Carolina is in need of a chief executive that both reflects the values of the state and has a clear vision for its future. I’m thrilled to help Tom in his mission to make a better South Carolina,” said David.

Christian Hertenstein is serving as press secretary and has both private sector and political communications experience. Most recently, Hertenstein managed communications for a financial institution. Prior to his private sector work, Hertenstein was the communications director for the South Carolina Republican Party.

But they should provide links. I added the two above. I hope I linked to the right people of those names…

We don’t need casinos to fund our roads

This came in today from the SC House Democratic Caucus:

Rutherford to propose legislation allowing casinos in Myrtle Beach to fix roads
Columbia, SC – House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford announced today that he plans to introduce legislation next year to allow well-regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area and use the new tax revenue to fix South Carolina’s ailing roads and bridges. On the June 10th primary ballot, 80% of Democratic voters supported the idea of modernizing our state’s gaming laws to fund road repairs instead of raising taxes. Rutherford said Governor Nikki Haley is being disingenuous by promising to tackle our roads without proposing a funding strategy.todd-rutherford
“Governor Haley doesn’t have a plan to fix our roads. She’s against everything and for nothing. That kind of stubbornness won’t fill our potholes, widen I-26, or create I-73. It’s time to get serious about how we’re going to pay for these repairs and Governor Haley’s mystical “money tree” is not a serious plan.
Allowing well regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area would create a new annual multi-billion dollar revenue stream that will allow us to fix our state’s crumbling roads, create thousands of good jobs, and keep taxes low. House Democrats will continue to push for innovative solutions to the problems Governor Haley and her Tea Party allies have created and now refuse to address.”
Rutherford says voters are taxed enough already and this proposal provides an alternative to a gas tax increase, which has no chance of passing the legislature.
“The people support this. Businesses support this. Many Republicans in the legislature are open to casinos. Anyone who loves individual freedom, personal liberty, and lower taxes should get behind this issue 110%.”
Rutherford also challenged those who may oppose casinos in Myrtle Beach to offer up an alternative plan that accomplishes the goal of repairing our roads.
“For those who oppose this idea, I challenge you to come up with another way to fund our road repairs without raising taxes. It’s time for fresh ideas and Governor Haley continues to offer up nothing but rhetoric and policies that are as broken as our roads.”
####

Folks, you really need to stop straining so hard for ways to fund road construction and maintenance in SC. We have a way — the gasoline tax. It hasn’t been raised in ages, and absurdly, it’s set as a per-gallon amount, instead of being set as a percentage, the way a sales tax would be.

It’s a pretty straightforward way of taxing those who are using the roads — both residents and out-of-staters. It makes sense, and it’s currently artificially low.

So stop straining to find an alternative. The answer is right in front of you.

Bryan Caskey’s shotgun tie

Caskey tie

I had lunch today with Bryan Caskey at his club.

We’d had drinks at my club recently, so it was his turn.tie closeup

We talked about the kinds of things gentlemen talk about at real gentlemen’s clubs (as opposed to the trashy kind) — politics, whether one can actually travel ’round the world in 80 days, shooting for sport, etc. Then in the middle of the shooting part, I noticed his shotgun-shell tie.

So I thought it only right to share it here.

Then we went back to harrumphing about those political chaps, most of them vile Whigs and Jacobins, don’t you know…

Whaddawe want? When do we want it?

Really digging these two protest posters — presumably from the anti-austerity protests in London, but I’m not sure — posted on Twitter by Anita Anand, known over there as a presenter on the telly but who describes herself initially in her profile as “Mum to small person and wife to taller variety.”

I especially like the rushed, anarchic penmanship of the “evidence-based change” sign. Contrasts so deliciously with the mock moderation of the message…

Columbia designated as ‘Playful City’ — and no, I’m not just playing around with you

Playful+City+USA+Map+Graphic

Something new to be, um, proud of:

The City of Columbia was honored as a 2014 Playful City USA designation for the first time by KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation.

“The City of Columbia is proud to be designated as a Playful City.  We are committed to providing services and programs in our parks that will benefit our citizens, especially our youth.  This is great news and we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy our wonderful parks this summer,” City Manager Teresa Wilson said.

The City of Columbia is among 212 cities and towns across the United States named as 2014 Playful City USA honorees. These communities are leaders in playability – the extent to which a city makes it easy for kids to get balanced and active play – and are making play part of the solution that can move the needle on countless urban challenges….

I feel like channeling Joe Pesci here. Whaddyez mean by dat? Playful how? Just how is it you t’ink I’m playin’ wit’choo?

After all, there’s playful and there’s playful.

In any case, we’re apparently not all that playful, since there are 212 other cities just as fun-loving as we are.

But how many of those others are Famously Hot? Huh? I didn’t think so…

Lillian Koller resigns from DSS

Here’s the news:

Lillian Koller, Director of S.C. Department of Social Services, has resigned from her post leading the state’s child-welfare agency, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced Monday.

Amber Gillum, Deputy State Director for Economic Services, will serve as interim director until Haley makes a permanent appointment to the Cabinet post….

It’s interesting that this member of the Haley administration is echoing the language of the Obama administration (Obama insisted that Shinseki had done a great job, but had decided he was a “distraction”).

So will this be seen as a solution? Or will this be understood as the beginning of a solution? And most of all, can anyone solve the problem, and keep kids safe?

Rand Paul for president (yes, this is satire)

I added the parenthetical because I was briefly, briefly alarmed when I saw the headline, “Rand Paul for President,” atop one of the three opinion pages in The Wall Street Journal this morning.

But then I was reassured, and entertained, when I read the column by Bret Stephens. An excerpt:

Republicans, let’s get it over with. Fast forward to the finish line. Avoid the long and winding primary road. It can only weaken the nominee. And we know who he—yes, he—has to be.

Not Jeb Bush, who plainly is unsuited to be president. He is insufficiently hostile to Mexicans. He holds heretical views on the Common Core, which, as we well know, is the defining issue of our time. And he’s a Bush. Another installment of a political dynasty just isn’t going to fly with the American people, who want some fresh blood in their politics….

No, what we need as the Republican nominee in 2016 is a man of more glaring disqualifications. Someone so nakedly unacceptable to the overwhelming majority of sane Americans that only the GOP could think of nominating him.

This man is Rand Paul, the junior senator from a state with eight electoral votes. The man who, as of this writing, has three years worth of experience in elected office. Barack Obama had more political experience when he ran for president. That’s worked out well….

Stephens goes on to have some fun with the fact that Paul is going around telling conservatives how they need to reach out to minority voters, while his friend, former aide (until last July) and co-author Jack “The Southern Avenger” Hunter once published a column on his blog headlined “John Wilkes Booth Was Right.” An excerpt from that:

"The Southern Avenger"

“The Southern Avenger”

This Wednesday, April 14th, is the 139th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr. American heroes like Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee have been unfairly attacked in recent years, but Abraham Lincoln is still regarded as a saint. Well, he wasn’t it – far from it. In fact, not only was Abraham Lincoln the worst President, but one of the worst figures in American history….

But I digress. Mr. Stephens concludes his column in the WSJ thusly:

This man wants to be the Republican nominee for president.

And so he should be. Because maybe what the GOP needs is another humbling landslide defeat. When moderation on a subject like immigration is ideologically disqualifying, but bark-at-the-moon lunacy about Halliburton is not, then the party has worse problems than merely its choice of nominee.

Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not much big happening outside of Ukraine, but here goes:

  1. UN declares Crimea vote illegal (BBC) — Likely response from Putin: “Illegal, schmillegal.” The vote was nonbinding, and backed up by essentially nothing. But still, the UN took a stand, which is something.
  2. Congress Backs New Sanctions, Kiev Aid  (WSJ) — The U.S. provides $1 billion in loan guarantees, while the IMF ponies up $14-18 billion.
  3. Health-care enrollment hits goal of 6 million (WashPost) — That’s the adjusted goal, mind you. But it hardly fits the GOP narrative of a total, bungled failure, does it?
  4. Obama meets pope on Vatican visit (The Guardian) — As far as I know, Russell Crowe’s new movie about Noah was not discussed. POTUS kept gushing, “It’s wonderful meeting you. It’s wonderful meeting you,” Obama began. “Thank you so much for receiving me.” Further proof of what a rock star this pope is.
  5. McMaster files for lieutenant governor (thestate.com) — Four years ago, he was the presumptive front-runner for governor — before scandal sympathy and the Tea Party boosted Nikki Haley past him. Can we go ahead and call him the front-runner for Gov Lite? I think so. In any case, if the governor doesn’t back him, she knows not what loyalty is. He’s been a good soldier for her ever since his crushing defeat at her hands.
  6. Obama formally outlines NSA reform (The Guardian) — Using the word “reform” loosely, of course. I read the explanation, and remain confused as to what POTUS wants to do now. What is described in this story doesn’t sound terribly useful, but perhaps I’m reading it wrong. By the way, in my quick overview of news sites, only The Guardian was giving this significant play.

It is completely wrong for this country to change ANY policy in response to Edward Snowden’s actions

Slatest got straight to the heart of the matter:

Edward Snowden was the first to declare victory. On Monday night, the Obama administration had, via the New York Times, announced the imminent end of the bulk collection of metadata and proposed new rules requiring the National Security Agency to get warrants before grabbing individual records. It was far less than what civil libertarians had wanted. But Snowden calledthe White House announcement a “turning point” and the “beginning of a new effort to reclaim our rights from the NSA.”

The race to the bandwagon had begun. By Tuesday morning the Republican-run House Intelligence Committee was polishing and promoting the End Bulk Collection Act of 2014, which would grudgingly achieve much of what the White House grudgingly asked for. On Tuesday afternoon, Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, and Mark Udall strolled into a Senate hallway bustling with reporters to accept the NSA’s partial surrender….

Never mind Rand Paul, et al. The Washington Post reports “an emerging consensus” from the White House to the Hill that the collection of metadata must cease.

This is an utter outrage.

A former junior employee of a government contractor, traveling with stolen national security secrets, broadcasts what he knows to the world. The President of the United States says the programs Snowden is on about are legal, measured, accountable and appropriate. Responsible members of Congress back him up.

A mere few months later, after a drip-drip-drip campaign by this self-appointed king of America (what else to call someone who is not elected, but takes it upon himself to subvert the policies and procedures arrived at by the duly constituted authorities in all three branches of our government?) and his fellow travelers, enough emotion and semi-conscious twitches of discomfort have been detected among the American public that the president, and the Congress, are ready to abandon policies that they know to be just fine as they are.

And the new “decider” for America is so obviously deluded, so obviously a fantasist with no sense of perspective, that it’s appalling to think of him deciding anything.

There are some who agree with Snowden’s fantasy that he is a defender of our Constitution. And yet, what he has done is presume to subvert the system of decision-making and checks and balances that our Constitution was written to set up.

This is disgusting. And it is an open invitation to the next self-aggrandizing, malcontent punk with a far-too-high security clearance who wants to undo American policy all by his lonesome. Just throw a wrench into the works! The United States government will bow down before you!

The only proper governmental response to Edward Snowden was to pursue him, to apprehend him if possible, to try him, and to lock him away.

Instead, this is what our elected leaders have done…

Obama with Galifianakis on ‘Between Two Ferns’

Just thought you might enjoy this. It’s the leader of the Free World (do we still say that, after the Cold War?) on Zach Galifianakis’ mock talk show on Funny or Die, “Between Two Ferns.”

Slate reports that the episode “works pretty well not only as a pitch for healthcare.gov, which gets an extensive plug, but also as an episode of Between Two Ferns.”

See what you think. Personally, I found it a little disconcerting to watch POTUS trash-talking a little fat guy whom we’ve been conditioned to feel sorry for. Maybe, since it’s a fake talk show, they should have fake presidents as guests. Such as Josiah Bartlet, or Garrett Walker.

The world has just gotten weirder and weirder ever since SNL introduced irony to television in the ’70s…

Enjoying Joe Biden for being himself

Vice President Joe Biden

Politico has collected some of the very best Bidenisms. Go over and check them out:

On ambition:
“I never had an interest in being a mayor ’cause that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.” —March 29, 2012

On the campaign trail:
“You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” Jan. 31, 2007

“There’s a gigantic difference between John McCain and Barack Obama, and between me and I suspect my vice presidential opponent. … She’s good-looking.” —Aug. 31, 2008

And so forth.

God love him, I’ve just gotta say this: We make fun, but Joe Biden is no dummy. I’ve had the privilege of sitting and talking with him at length a number of times (any time you sit and talk with Joe, it’s “at length,” only he’s the one talking). And Joe says lots of smart stuff. It’s just that he talks so much, and so freely, and with so little hesitation, that occasionally it’s not going to come out right. Or as he would say:

“If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong.” Feb. 6, 2009

Of course, some of the things he says are not just mistakes, but revelatory of character. And I’ve gotta say this, too: I enjoy the character that it reveals. To find someone so genuine at the top of the heap is no small thing these days; it’s a BFD. We need more real people in politics.