Someone dug up this clip and put it online today annnnnnnd it’s not going over so well in Leftistan.
Not the first time Biden has gotten in trouble with the left for praising the decency of a Republican vice president, although Cheney and Pence are night and day for progressives. They detest the latter for his socially conservative views about gays (a position which Cheney himself notably doesn’t share) but until the rise of Trump there was probably no figure in modern American political history whom they loathed more deeply than Cheney, mainly for his influence over the decision to go to war in Iraq. For Biden to praise him — not even for his intelligence or his political acumen but for his decency — is pure hate-fuel for lefties.
Joe Biden: "I actually like Dick Cheney… I get on with him. I think he's a decent man."
He adds that Cheney was "extremely helpful" about the "legal parameters" of the VP office. Without irony.
Mondale then says his view of Cheney is "a little bit different." The crowd laughs pic.twitter.com/udjSlSCrZV
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) May 2, 2019
No, really, progressives are handling it pretty well:
You can put that clip in the same category as Biden’s handsiness with women as something that’s been out there for years and never seemed problematic to the left until the moment Biden began to pose a political threat to Bernie Sanders, at which point it suddenly became a Major Problem. In all likelihood the clip will remain the province of online activists like Kos who already hate Biden and will spend the next year grasping for further reasons to hate him. But if the candidate gets a question about it in a big spot, like a national debate, that could be interesting. I don’t think rank-and-file liberals will care much about him praising Cheney: Biden is, as one supporter said to the Atlantic in defending his handsiness, a “human golden retriever,” someone inclined to like everyone he meets (perhaps a bit too much). Thinking Dick Cheney is a nice guy is true to the back-slapping Uncle Joe persona. But Cheney is no ordinary Republican, as I say. Biden could get away with calling Bush a “decent” guy with only some minor grumbling but praising Cheney might give even ordinary Democratic voters pause. I doubt it, but we won’t know until we know.
I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten more flak for his relationship with Pence. Not only does he regard him as “decent,” they were at one point regular phone buddies.
The aide said Pence “shares a warm relationship” with Biden, “and they’ve spoken many times, particularly on foreign affairs matters.”
The outreach between Biden and Pence flows both ways.
Pence has called Biden before each of his foreign trips to get his views on the policies and personalities at play in the countries he was visiting. Biden, in turn, has spoken with Pence before his own overseas trips to inquire if the White House has any messages it would like him to deliver, or if there were any sensitivities around the administration’s policy efforts.
Biden also offers his advice based on his relationships with leaders Pence will encounter, and about the domestic political situations that might affect their thinking, people familiar with the discussions said.
That was written in November 2017. Now that Biden’s the frontrunner for the nomination, I assume the calls have become less regular. I hope so, for Pence’s sake: Imagine Trump’s paranoia if Biden and his own VP were still having monthly chats.
It’s actually Trump, not Pence, who needs to spend less time talking about Biden. Exit quotation: “I’ve personally asked him — to stop. It’s not helping us. It’s helping Biden,” said an unnamed Trump advisor to Politico about POTUS’s habit of dogging Biden on Twitter lately. “We don’t think Biden can make it out of the woke Democrat primary. But he will if the president gives him oxygen.” I made that point myself recently. Why would Trump want to elevate Biden by focusing his public comments on him when Biden’s allegedly the Democrat he’s most worried about facing next year?