For eight years, we’ve had a wise, Draconian VEEP who took Walter Mondale’s concept of expanding the office of the vice presidency and peppered his legacy with unprecedented powers that ranged as far and wide as the birdshot on Harry Whittington’s face. With his far-sweeping foreign policy arm and his aura of behind-the-scenes mystery, Papa Cheney leaves tough shoes to fill. In this series, we take a look at both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin as budding protege for this forever-changed office.
Part One: Joe Biden
1. They both possess serious leadership qualities.
â€“ Like Papa Cheney, Joeâ€™s ready to bat at the pro level as VP. He doesnâ€™t want to be the crow hanging over Obamaâ€™s shoulder or a useless bucket of warm spit! He wants to oversee foreign policy decisions, take high-profile trips around the world and advise Barack on a number of issues. In June, Joe said, â€œI’d make a great president. I’d make a great Secretary of State. I’d make a great vice presidentâ€ â€“ but is he angling for all three simultaneously? If so, he may be able to play that Darth Vader role the all-powerful Dick Cheney plays so well.
2. Theyâ€™re both old white guys.
-Cheney was chosen to be Bushâ€™s running mate because he was seen as an elder statesman, a well-respected member of the establishment that could rev up the Party base.Â Similarly, Biden has the Washington connections to get things done and has the experience to lend added credibility to the ticket. By now, itâ€™s no secret that old white guys run the show in America.
3. They both deferred war-time serviceâ€¦ five times.
-Cheney sought five Vietnam deferments to finish school at Yale and before he knew it, he had turned 26 â€“ too old to be drafted. Similarly, Biden received five student draft deferments as well â€“ and ultimately cited teenage asthma as his reason for being disqualified.
4. Theyâ€™ve had questionable past business connections.
-By now we all know Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995 â€“ 2000. As VP, he handed over scores of big-budget defense contracts to his former company. Biden, presiding over the credit card capitol of America (Wilmington, Delaware), has close ties with MBNA/Bank of America. As Senator, Biden helped push through the Bankruptcy Bill of 2005â€¦ and MBNA remains one of the largest contributors to his campaign.
5. They have a lust for foreign policy.
-Whenever Cheneyâ€™s on a trip, heâ€™s reading some sort of foreign policy / historical nonfiction book. Itâ€™s no secret that Cheney has ambitions on leaving his secret, odious legacy behind on many different world theatres. Whether heâ€™s supporting Israeli strikes on Iran or proposing a natural gas pipeline that skips over Russia, you can bet Cheneyâ€™s got his paws in everyoneâ€™s pudding.Â While itâ€™s unclear whether Joe Biden will be as meddlesome as his possible predecessor, we do know that he works on the foreign relations committee, once proposed a plan for dividing Iraq and heâ€™s called on NATO to end genocide in Darfur.
6. Theyâ€™re survivors.
-Perhaps no one is more resilient than Dick Cheney, who has survived: four heart attacks (1978, 1984, 1988 and 2000), quadruple bypass surgery, a coronary stent prop and a pacemaker installation surgery. Joe Biden doesnâ€™t have quite so many notches in his biometric belt, but he did suffer a near-fatal aneurysm in February 1988, which required surgery — and endured another corrective surgery in May 1988 to fix a second ballooning aneurysm. Heâ€™s also suffered intense personal trauma when his first wife and infant daughter were killed in a 1972 car crash.
8. They can give witty speeches.
-Dick loves to crack up Republicans telling how Lynne loves his nickname of â€œDarth Vaderâ€ because â€œit almost humanizesâ€ him. Joe Biden likes to excite his constituents by picking on Rudy Giuliani, saying, “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun, a verb, and 9/11!” On more than one occasion, these two wordsmiths like to hear themselves talk at length, starting lightly with humor, but following up with serious initiatives.
9. Both are tough on crime and terror.
-As you know, Cheney supports the most Draconian anti-terrorism measures, whether itâ€™s waterboarding, confining suspected terrorists in secret offshore prisons or performing warrant-less searches. What you may not know is that Joe Biden introduced many crime bills. For instance, the 1995 Omnibus Counter-terrorism Act (drafted just after the Oklahoma City bombing) proposed wiretaps and giving the Executive Branch sweeping powers to detain citizens without judicial review (in much the same way the Patriot Act has). In 1997, a Biden-Feinstein amendment passed to make it a felony (punishable up to 20 years in prison) for people to post bomb-making information on the Internet. Additionally, heâ€™s cracked down on all-night rave parties and ecstacy use among youth, heâ€™s proposed spending $1 billion to police peer-2-peer networks for copyright infringement and child pornography and he put a federal ban on 19 semi-automatic firearms in his 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
10. The possibility of either running for the presidency was always slim.
-Since Biden will be 73 for the election of 2016, itâ€™s unlikely heâ€™d run for the presidency after serving two terms as president. Similarly, the 67â€“year-old Cheney isnâ€™t making a grab for the White House either. In some ways, this would make their vice presidencies untouchable in a sense. They can live for today without fear of political ruins tomorrow.
Part Two on SARAH PALIN coming soon!