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.
Internet sales tax
Money-hungry states have come to Congress to get them to pass legislation to allow taxation without representation. In 1992, the Supreme Court held that states can’t force retailers who don’t have a physical presence in a state to collect out-of-state taxes. This idea violates the idea that a foreign sovereign state can impose a tax on those residing in other states.
The legislation, S. 1832, the Marketplace Fairness Act, would empower states to force other states to collect sales taxes. This would allow the government of one state to force another state to collect taxes on people who are not allowed to vote in the taxing state. Section seven of the bill contains a severability clause — tacit recognition of the possibility that elements of the bill may come under constitutional attack and end up, again, in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rep. Paul Ryan is considered one of the most able and intelligent members of the House of Representatives. It is sad to see the Obama campaign waste no time in commencing an attack on Ryan. In an attack website titled “The Go Back Team,” the Obama campaign alleges that “Paul Ryan is a career Washington, D.C., insider.” Ironic that they post this rubbish when President Obama’s gaffe-prone vice president has been in federal office ever since Paul Ryan was a two-year-old in diapers.
Brian Darling is Senior Fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).