Day: October 14, 2009

The Growing Influence Of Vice President Joe Biden In Foreign Policy

Vice President Joe Biden is rapidly becoming as influential Vice President close to the level of former Vice President Dick Cheney, but politically the exact opposite of Cheney.

Cheney promoted a hawkish view of foreign policy, while Biden is promoting a more dovish view, that we should not promote more troops in Afghanistan, but rather depend on drones and intelligence in Pakistan to hunt down Al Qaeda while, for the time being, NOT withdrawing the 68,000 troops already in Afghanistan. The history of Afghanistan is that no nation has ever, going back to ancient times, conquered or won in an intervention in that country.

This is wise advice in my view, and it is hoped that President Obama will listen to the Vice President. But the suggestion by Ariana Huffington that Biden should resign if he loses the battle over troop increases in Afghanistan is preposterous.

The way to change policy over time is to stick it out and work to change the President’s mind, even if not possible immediately.

Biden is one of the major assets of the Obama Administration, and he is a man of much wisdom!

The Two Maine Senators: Again Open To Bipartisanship

Again, the two women Republican Senators from Maine–Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins–seem to be on the way to bipartisan support of the health care bill, as they were of the economic stimulus bill last winter.

Snowe voted for the Baucus Senate Finance Committee bill, and Collins now hints she may also be willing to support the bill on the Senate floor.

The problem for both is their unwillingness to support a public option as costing too much and adding to the debt, so if the House bill or the Senate Health Committee (Tom Harkin of Iowa) wins out over the Baucus bill, they may yet vote no, but even the possibility of support is appealing to the Obama Administration.

Some observers also think that George Voinovich of Ohio, another moderate and getting ready to retire from the Senate in 2010, might be a possible vote for a health care overhaul.

At the same time, there is no hint that even one GOP congressman will vote for it when the House gets to the final roll call.

The growing impact of Maine and its independent streak politically, as evidenced through its two GOP senators and otherwise, may yet be the story of the year, depending on events yet to be foretold.

Robert Wexler To Leave Congress: Sad Day For His District in South Florida

The sad news has emerged that Congressman Robert Wexler of Boca Raton, Florida, my Congressman, is leaving the House of Representatives, effective January 3, 2010.

Wexler will become the President of the Center For Middle East Peace, a think tank dedicated to the search for a  solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Wexler will play an important role in the quest for peace in the most tumultuous area on earth. He leaves behind a great legacy in the halls of Congress for the past 13 years.

Wexler is best remembered for his defense of President Bill Clinton in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of the President in late 1998. He was also the first Congressman in South Florida to back Senator Barack Obama when he announced his run for President. He brought about large scale Jewish support for Obama in the presidential race in 2008.

Wexler also worked constantly and with great loyalty for his constituents, heavily senior citizens, in his district, and was always a man of principle in his views and voting record on domestic and foreign policy issues.

He is noted for displaying courage and steadfastness when he came under attack, and was proud to write his memoir on his years in Congress with the title “Firebreathing Liberal”!

Who could not admire a political leader who was proud to call himself a liberal, in a time when most politicians and intellectuals have been unwilling to promote what they believe in, because of the constant attacks on liberalism and progressivism?

As a professor myself proud to be a progressive and a liberal, I salute Robert Wexler for his service to the nation and wish him God speed in his work in his new position!

I have a feeling we will hear more about Robert Wexler in a public sphere in future years! 🙂