Biden: Hope and change didn't happen, by the way

But hey, progressives … don’t stop believing, or something. Joe Biden spoke to a national convention of progressives about the state of the nation and the status of Hope and Change. That status is kaput, according to Biden, but that’s because progressives haven’t been the “drivers” … which seems a bit puzzling, coming from the two-term VP representing the most “progressive” administration in decades.


I’ll bet this won’t make the White House’s “Being Biden” audio series, but it should:

It appears Vice President Joe Biden admitted that President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan of “hope and change” never happened.

Speaking during a Generation Progress event Wednesday, Biden told the crowd that he and Obama tried for change in 2008.

“Look folks, this is within our power to change. Everybody says because we tried in ’08 and it didn’t happen, it’s not possible,” Biden said. “Wrong. We’ve gone through these periods before.”

Biden continued: “But folks, this is totally within our power. Change. Change for the better is absolutely possible and I believe it’s close to inevitable if you’re the drivers of it.”

Well, who exactly has been in the driver’s seat? Obama and Biden have been in charge for the last five and a half years, and Democrats have controlled the Senate for the last seven and half years. They had two years of total control of Washington DC. If there have been few progressive administrations, this one had plenty of opportunities to pursue “hope and change.”

Maybe Biden means no one has been in the driver’s seat over the last few years. He certainly appears to think he and Obama haven’t been in it, and frankly a lot of people at home and abroad are beginning to agree.


Ron Fournier called this a “really bad moment” for the White House on CNN:

The real message from this speech is that Biden and Barack Obama have essentially given up, just eighteen months into the second term for which they campaigned, and for which they cheerfully committed character assassination against their opponent. If “hope and change” is dead, it’s largely because they killed it themselves, with Harry Reid gibbering alongside as an accomplice.

In my column for The Fiscal Times, I predict that no matter the outcome of the midterms, Obama’s surrender is so profound now that he’ll have the longest lame-duck presidency in history:

Obama seems to welcome the idea of making the midterms a referendum on himself and his personal battles, even if Democrats want the focus to be almost anywhere else. Meanwhile, nothing gets done unless it rises to a crisis level, and then only after endless rounds of brinksmanship. We’re back to the status quo of 2011-13.

Essentially, we have a lame-duck presidency already in action. Contrast that with the final two years of the Bush administration after the Democratic midterm sweep of 2006. There was plenty of personal animosity, accusations of incompetence and executive abuse of power, and threats of investigations. However, Bush still worked with the opposition well enough to get a budget passed, added troops in Iraq for the surge, and eventually launched TARP on a bipartisan basis. Bush didn’t get everything he wanted, but he kept business running in Washington DC.

This latest strategy shows that the lame-duck presidency will persist until 2017. The Washington Post’s Election Lab says the GOP has an 86 percent chance of winning control of the Senate and a 99 percent chance of holding the House. If that comes to pass, the drama will move from Capitol Hill, where Senate Democrats have stifled Republican economic policy, to the White House, where Obama has issued only a handful of vetoes. Rather than acknowledge that voters want a change in direction, Obama will almost certainly opt to keep up the pretense that Congress just dislikes him personally, and play for the 2016 elections.

If Democrats beat the odds and keep control of the Senate, all that will mean is a continuation of the current status quo and stalemate on Capitol Hill. Obama will claim that as a mandate to stay the course and ignore both voter priorities and his opposition. The only way this calculus changes is if Democrats manage to win both chambers of Congress, but with Obama’s approval ratings in the low 40s and heading downward, the chances of that happening are somewhere between slim and none – and much closer to none.


To use one of his favorite first-term analogies, Obama and Biden have driven the car into the ditch, and now Biden wants everyone to forget who was at the wheel.

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