Opinion

Joe Biden should apologize or resign

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Brian Darling
Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
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      Brian Darling

      Brian Darling is a senior fellow for government studies at The Heritage Foundation. He writes a weekly “Legislative Lowdown” column for The Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianHDarling.

Vice President Joe Biden’s antics are getting old. His offensive and silly comments were amusing at first, but I don’t think many Americans feel comfortable with Biden being a heartbeat away from the presidency. I met Biden when he was a senator, and I like him personally, but he’s proving to the American people that he is unfit to continue in office.

The latest outrage came in the speech he recently gave in Virginia in which he declared Republicans “are going to put you all in chains.” Conn Carroll of The Washington Examiner points out that “Joe Biden went off script,” because the prepared remarks were different from his allegation that “Romney” wanted to put people in chains. But invoking slavery and accusing either Mitt Romney or the Republican Party of wanting to put African-Americans “in chains” is beyond the pale. Biden needs to apologize or resign.

Instead of distancing the campaign from the racially charged rhetoric, Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama-Biden campaign, embraced it during an MSNBC appearance: “We have no problem with those comments.” This is the same Cutter who once accused Romney of potentially committing a felony.

David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign adviser, called Rep. Paul Ryan “a hard right ideologue” on CBS Chicago. Robert Gibbs, another Obama hit man, last month called Romney a “prep school bully.” President Obama himself accused Republicans of being “hostage takers.” Mitt Romney was spot on when he responded, “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”

The Obama campaign should apologize for the division and anger they are peddling. This is a campaign of personal destruction — and it’s devoid of ideas. Biden’s latest gaffe is beyond the boundaries of reasonable debate.

The farm bill

Conservatives worry that liberals will try to ram a farm bill through when Congress comes back in September or in a lame-duck session after the election. The same game was played on conservatives with the transportation bill this past summer.

The House and Senate couldn’t agree on competing long-term transportation bills a few months ago. Conservatives didn’t want to allow a five-year, $260 billion monstrosity of a highway bill onto the House floor, so big-spending liberals found a way around the usual process. After the Senate passed a short-term, $109 billion, 18-month extension of highway programs and gas taxes, the House agreed to a conference.

The House and Senate leadership used the transportation conference report to carry a $6 billion extension of a 3.4% interest rate on student loans for one year and an extension of flood insurance programs for five years. Conservatives felt burned by the fact that the transportation bill became a Christmas tree for unrelated spending.

Now the House has committed a drought relief bill to conference. Many conservatives worry that liberals will use it to attach a version of the $970 billion, 10-year, Senate-passed farm bill. The farm bill should not become another vehicle to pass a massive new food-stamp program and other unrelated items.