What Joe Biden Learned at the Last Two Impeachments

Until Wednesday, he had resisted calling for President Trump’s impeachment. His experience as a senator helps explain his restraint.

Comments: 39

  1. Joe wasn't there when AJ was impeached? Coulda fooled me!

  2. Given how many senior moments Biden has regularly, I thought he was old enough to be there for the Johnson impeachment. Biden should have never entered the race. His campaign keeps him in hiding - even as Trump systemically attacks and destroys Biden and Biden’s son on baseless accusations using means that will get Trump impeached - an impeachment that Trump richly deserves, an impeachment that is crucial in defending our Constitution, the rule of law, the truth and the country. Biden has disappeared because his campaign is afraid that Biden will have another senior moment or gaffe (that’s a life-long liability, but now compounded with age in Biden’s case. Note that the other 70+ crowd - Warren, Sanders, even Trump First don’t have the same age related mental decline as Biden; Warren, in particular is as sharp as she ever was, has not lost a step), so Biden has no ability to effectively defend himself, his honor, his son, his family. It’s both tragic and pathetic. Biden needs to drop out of the Presidential race before he further embarrasses and humiliates himself.

  3. Joe Biden seemed like a smart guy, he knew what was coming and how the story unfolds. Yet he was at the forefront asking for Congress to do their impeachment job on yet another president. Only this time it is about his actions on behalf of his son, and his actions to get his son on the boards of two companies while he was the VP. Now his reputation is tarnished for ever, and if he was to win, the GOP will investigate him and his son for the next four years. He can’t even cry witch hunt then as that is what his people are doing to get him elected. And if some one comes forward and testifies Joe did in fact bully, cajole, ask, beg, asked for a favor, etc to get his son on these boards, the guy will be impeached the same way as Trump is being roasted right now. It is starting to look like Trump/Warren showdown and that will be a bloodbath. He must be wondering why Nancy Pelosi was so incredibly blind when she decided to act. And the DNC must be wondering who forgot to brain that fateful day when they sealed Joe Biden’s fate to Trump’s.

  4. Everything about Mr. Biden's conduct screams lack of conviction and apprehension. He is the wrong candidate for presidency. His approach to impeachment, and the sentiment conveyed in this article are wrong, wrong, wrong. Impeachment was put in the constitution for a purpose - there has never been a stronger cause for putting it in motion than the behavior of the current president. Every minute he is still in office results in more damage to the US and our allies. He needs to go now.

  5. I am a non-partisan who disagrees with all of those of both parties who treat impeachment as a grave legal process and apply similar criteria to it as is applied to criminal trials. Impeachment is a thoroughly political process. The Constitutionally defined criteria are very vague and uncertain. The Constitutional process established exclusively appoints only politicians to conduct the process and only politicians as jurors. The Constitution specifies no trial process, no rules of evidence, and no rules of law. And the history of impeachment is that the behavior of nearly every one of those politicians has repeatedly been to strictly tow the party line....opposition politicians nearly all condemning the president and his own party's politicians nearly all supporting him (only once in history have many of the politicians of either party risen above partisanship to condemn a president of their own party, those were Republicans in 1973). I am 71 years old. I watched the Nixon saga unfold. I was heartened to witness discipline meted out to the enormously powerful presidency, and to see the arrogant abuser of that power consigned to a shameful oblivion. I hope I get to see it happen again now. Democrats failed to rise above partisanship during Clinton's impeachment. Republicans did rise above it but did so only once in 1973. I have no confidence that they will do so again, but I deeply hope they will.

  6. Joe Biden's so-called "strength as a stateman" has never been anything more than a strict adherence to whatever the prevailing conventional wisdom was at the time and a staunch defense of the status quo. Even his long-time aide and friend Ted Kaufman noted that "it was not until August, days before Mr. Nixon’s resignation, that Mr. Biden became convinced that the president must go." That's not leading, that's following -- but typical of a man who, in Kaufman's words, "stuck with kind of an institutional approach to things . . . his whole career." That kind approach is the very last thing this country needs right now, as we see the status quo collapsing all around us and indeed throughout the world. It is not ever coming back. It will either be replaced by a regime from the democratic left that places the needs of ordinary people first, or by an authoritarian, anti-democratic regime that serves the narrope needs of an elitist oligarchy. Biden's "institutional approach" is to reach across the aisle to the very people who seek to destroy democracy. There is a time for compromise and a time to fight for first principles. Like it or not, we are living in a time to fight. To refuse to do so is to simply surrender.

  7. I was a tentative Biden supporter. I'm not any longer. I'm tired of his inability or reluctance to speak out against a number of issues forcefully. He will not win the Primary.

  8. I think it’s important to remember that Trump didn’t have to do any of this. He had just essentially won the Mueller investigation, demonstrating that for a lot of people it didn’t really matter whether he took support from the Russians, and he could have settled down to be a fairly typical Republican president. But he didn’t. And not only did he continue to break the law his staff rushed to cover the whole thing up. And now he’s obstructing the impeachment process. Trump needs to be impeached because of what he continues to do as president. Members of the House need to impeach Trump because it is quite literally their job under these circumstances. But the only reason this is happening is because of the actions of Donald Trump and his enablers.

  9. @M : Trump needs to be impeached because he is a New Yorker. Eric Garner was executed for selling single cigarettes, can you imagine what they would have done to the little match girl. Taxi medallions cost over $500,000. Do taxi drivers live at the Hamptons? The dollar has won.

  10. Knowing a little about aviation, "Airmanship" like "Statemenship" is an esoteric quality. You know what it looks like, when you need it most it's usually in dire consequences. It's very difficult to aptly describe. Probably most importantly, you must meeter out enough to overwhelm any dilemma without destroying everything. Learning every event is different and needs an appropriate response. A balancing act, acting promptly with appropriate measure factors into your response overall. Knowing inaction or less action than required will compound, prolong and possible doom the outcome. Though this article focuses on the t-rump impeachment and Joe Biden's perspective through the lens of history, my thought is history or historical inaction has brought us to this point. Regain and Meese broke the law and got away with it, G.W. Bush started a war on a false premise, killed ten's of thousands and got away with it. One can only accept caution as an excuse for enabling parliamentary decorum for so long. Enough of the facts are in, however, this started long before Ukraine, demonstrating repeatedly an extraordinary lack of fitness to serve. Personally, I believe t-rump has overplayed his hand and revealed to early what his game is if he wins a second term. Rule by decree, obscure the truth, protection by his minions and maneuver to be king. Hopefully, our "restraint" in this case will send the pendulum in the opposite direction, toward the middle for a very long time.

  11. Like another Democratic presidential candidate who was also involved in past impeachments, VP Biden is running a reboot of the 2016 Hilary Clinton campaign. Like Mrs. Clinton, Mr, Biden has been late in responding to accusations and innuendo and allowing them calcify in the media. Like Mrs. Clinton, the VP is running like it’s his turn. It didn’t work in 2016, it won’t work in 2020. Last week, Mr. Biden met with his top 100 major donors to provide them with a briefing on his campaign; his supporters are still waiting. This shows how symmetrical to Mrs. Clinton the VP Is and how disengaged from voters he is. His folksy stories are about his father saying to him, “ Hey Joey....”. don’t really work. We need to understand if he’s listening to voters. While his son’s Ukraine business dealings don’t seem to be illegal, it is nonetheless swampy; and swampy won’t work in 2020.

  12. I expect Trump supporters to come up with a conspiracy theory as to why Biden was not involved in the Johnson impeachment sooner than accepting the obvious facts.

  13. Almost 56 years in office, and old Joe soldiers on, offering us romanticized "bipartisan" 20th Century politics in the face of 21st Century problems including rising fascism, existential climate threat, multi-national corporate oligarchy, the death of human rights, and technology revolution which has brought about the end of privacy: problems that seemed like science fiction when Joe first arrived on Capital Hill. Whether or not Joe or his kids did anything wrong in China or Ukraine or Wilminginston or Malta is immaterial....his time of relevance has come and GONE. Just say NO to lifelong politicians and start saying YES to people who have lived, loved, succeeded and navigated the changing socio-economic trends of the 21st Century. Joe is the last of the Boomer Power Brokers....a species that should become extinct if millenials and GenXers are to have a fair shot to live with dignity and economic opportunity.

  14. Biden’s 50 years of taxpayer income has made him a very soft target.

  15. Just what kind of Constitutional malfeasance by the Executive would it take for Mr. Biden to support the only remedy available, namely impeachment and removal? If Trump mowed down White House tourists with an automatic weapon and then tweeted about it with his still-bloody fingers, would that do it? Or would he still urge restraint? If there was ever any doubt that Mr. Biden’s time has come and gone, his failure to publicly condemn the lawless criminal occupying the White House utterly dispels it. Sorry Joe. Nice to know you. Enjoy that pension and senior discount on the Amtrak. Love to the grandkids.

  16. Very refreshing to hear the call for patience and deference from the very person against whom these vicious, unsubstantiated lies have been hurled; runs counter to the very heart of the problem. Everyone, including Democrats as well as Republicans, wants to continue believing exactly what they've already made up their minds about: Democrats want to believe this unworthy liar cheated his way to the presidency and must be removed by any means possible, and Republicans want to believe the time has come for a populist champion to finally slay the elitist dragons who've nearly enslaved average working people and has simply been forced to "fight fire with fire." There's no doubt this impeachment issue has already disrupted governing as usual and the president's removal, whether voluntary or by force will severely strain our very existence in most every important life aspect including economic, social and continuing respect for the "rule of law." But aren't we better than this... shouldn't we at least be able to have an intellectually honest discussion about what actually happened so the healing process might finally begin? But what's now going on is shameful: the WH refusing to cooperate at any level risks a full-blown constitutional crisis for which the courts seem grossly unprepared to deal. What do we do now: sit and wait for 13-months until the next presidential election? I don't think so...

  17. The charge against Joe Biden reminds me of the 2004 election in which John Kerry was swift-boated: destroyed by a story that was barely true but inflamed to the point of utter hysteria in the media and republican opponents. Now, who among us wouldn’t trade John Kerry for George W Bush for president?

  18. So, Vice President Biden didn’t think Ms. Lewinsky was deserving of his support? Clinton was responsible for his actions, taking advantage of his position, abusing an intern and she wasn’t as “good” as Biden’s hypothetical daughter. Women don’t need their wacky uncle defending them with punches, we need Senators to do their jobs. Vice President Biden completely mucked up the Clarence Thomas hearings, he did not defend Anita Hill, he allowed a group of male, white Republicans to further harass her on national television. Other women were not allowed to testify. The Kavanaugh hearing was just as ridiculous. There is merit in being cautious but there is no merit in incompetence and cowardice. Doing the right thing is not always politically expedient but worth our time. I’d like him to get out of the way and let someone else who wants to do the job, even when it’s hard, to do what’s needed.

  19. Joe Biden was wrong about Nixon and he’s wrong yet again with Trump. Trump has had his say to the voters and he’s lied just like the previous thousands of times Trump has lied since becoming president. Trump needs to face impeachment so that the depth of his corruption can be exposed. And, Joe Biden should not be the Democratic candidate to run against Trump.

  20. Yes, Joe Biden is from a different era. But the opposition party isn’t from a different era. They are using tactics that take the disharmony in Washington to a new level. They refuse to confirm a President’s nominee for the SC, they flagrantly break long standing rules of order, they enable a corrupt President who operates as a dictator because he cut taxes for corporations and the 1% and allows them to seat the most conservative judges since the 1950s. And the latest is defending the Republican President for abandoning long standing allies to satisfy our country’s main adversary who used Russia to influence our election for the current president. And this isn’t the whole list. Sorry Joe, maybe in a kinder, gentler time you were electable, but that day is not today.

  21. This is where I agree in part with Joe Biden. I was not one to jump on the impeachment wagon early. Just because the majority of the people dislike an elected official, doesn't mean we have the right to remove him or her. That's what elections are for. But I draw the line when an elected official pursues activities that are blatantly illegal -- or appear to be so. That is what an impeachment inquiry is designed to find out. And impeachment and eventual removal from office are designed to remedy. This is where Biden's conservative view of the role of government can do real harm. It's good to be cautious when wielding any government power, particularly impeachment. But it's dangerous to ignore what's going on around you when someone is pretending that he or she is immune from that power. And right now America is paying for that kind of defiance from the White House.

  22. Restraint, and a methodical inquiry, is the only way impeachment has a chance of being successful. Unfortunately restraint isn't an attribute of the current Democratic party in terms of removing Trump, either by impeachment or the ballot box.

  23. And did Pelosi rush to impeachment?

  24. He has faith in the institutions and the ability of members to render due diligence. Nothing controversial or extreme about that position.

  25. @glorybe Some may say it's naive in this day and age, but where does that leave us?

  26. Polls strongly indicate that Biden would beat Trump in Wisconsin, the swing States, and in the electoral college by a very substantial margin. These same polls indicate much greater Trump strength in any contest with Elizabeth Warren. It is plausible, even likely, that Warren would be defeated by Trump in 2020. In this scenario the real existential threat to America would be the Democratic nomination of Warren followed by the reelection of Trump.

  27. @David polls don't mean anything now. Remember, polls said Trump would never win in 2016, so I don't understand why we should be taking polls so seriously so far out from the General Election and I hardly believe Warren's defeat is "likely".

  28. It’s beyond clear that most modern polling is faulty. Especially polling data that still depends on landline phone contact with prospective voters. This is how the New York Times amongst others severely overestimated Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory. This is how British pollsters failed to predict the Brexit vote breaking the way it did. Regardless, the election is over a year away. A lot can and will happen between now and then. I’d like to see some polling data on a theoretical matchup between a generic Democrat and President Pence. I bet it wouldn’t even be close.

  29. @David I am a non-partisan. Our very partisan system presents voters with only 2 choices for president. One consequence is that many voters find themselves choosing the lesser of evils. All the major alternative possible Democrat nominees are part of the looney far left except Biden. I think the thought of a looney far left person being president horrifies a great many people. For them, Trump is a lesser evil.

  30. Biden is not the only one who has ignored the first impeachment of Andrew Johnson. WH counsel, Cipollone, ignored it as well, because there was no vote to begin an impeachment inquiry. The first impeachment in US history, if it is not the precedent, must be distinguished in any legal argument. Instead WH counsel ignored it. Trump is going to be impeached. He has dared Pelosi to do it. His chances in the Senate are worse than he or most believe. Politicians, even Republicans, will turn on him in a minute if the wind does a 180.

  31. How Biden can still hold or state any belief in the Senate as an institution after what the majority of the Senate did to Obama and Merrick Garland is mind boggling. Turning the clock back tilting at windmills

  32. So Biden, whose only rationale for running is to be the dragonslayer, has finally decided to unsheathe his sword. Or, if you prefer, Achilles has decided to come out of his tent. This is the High Noon, mano-a-mano showdown that Americans (and the media) seem to crave, so let’s have at it. And if Biden proves wanting, may the Dems turn to someone who can get the job done.

  33. This administration is the definition of an impeachment case. Using a foreign country for political advantages. No legitimate president would call foreign countries head of state to assist them in an election effort. Cybercrime’s committed by Russian bots should nullify this past presidential election. No democracy should install a head of state with foreign fingerprints all over its electoral process. Was this country too lazy to perform a do over election to achieve a just result?

  34. "The only major impeachment debate he missed...." , except Johnson--well ya know, that's true of all of us over about 55.

  35. Restraint is all well and good when first looking at a problem, but the Trump impeachment has been on the horizon since the day he was inaugurated and emolument questions were raised ... Biden is dangerously late on this. He might want the public to think it's because he is prudent and fair-minded, but it is much more likely he knew his son's Ukraine and China dealings (all legal, but as many have reported, unethical) would eventually come up and weighing in on impeachment would look self-serving. Once again, we Dems are having to revisit the risks of nominating someone with a long and sometimes questionable record that makes them hugely vulnerable to the Trump machine, and if in office, will hedge one too many times. We need to think long and hard whether Biden is really worth backing, and wether we can count on him to be decisive and fully committed to action on a moment's notice? I think not.

  36. @Bodhi L, you're making this determination based on ONE decision Mr. Biden made?

  37. One more reason why I won't be voting for Biden in the primary - he's just been in politics way too long - all of his adult life. He's too old and for him to be trying yet again, for the 3rd time, to be president, reeks of an ego problem. At this point in time we desperately need new blood, someone not tainted by a lifetime of service in this increasingly dysfunctional government. At this point my vote is for Buttigieg. But I will vote for the Democrat who wins the primary - even Biden.

  38. I get it. But here’s the blind spot: Biden is arguably playing by the rules while Trump never has. You can’t expect to shame Trump into resignation, he is shameless. While restraint has a purpose, i.e. to provide time to gather the facts and build the case, that time is over. Biden sees that which is why he’s called for impeachment. Hopefully, others see this end of restraint as a time of leadership.

  39. I do not understand these apologetic Biden pieces. Voters, and the Democrats in Congress, clearly didn't care what Joe Biden thought, and for good reason. I can only hope his political career is winding down so that ambitious Democrats can take his place.