Biden: Out of Sight, Out of Trouble?

Remember how Veep Joe Biden boasted in the last campaign that “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead!”?  Not so fast, Uncle Joe. 

Slogans have a way of biting the hand that fed them to a gullible public.  The same goes for the use of symbolism, such as drawing foreign policy lines in the sand.  Cartoonists have had a field day with President Obama’s red lines, for example, depicting them as a mess of red tape or spilled blood.  His overheard open-mic remark to Putin about having greater “flexibility” after his re-election was another bit of manna from heaven for cartoonists, who picture Obama being flexed into contorted poses by strongman Vlad. 

But back to Hidin’ Biden.  Where is that guy since Iraq erupted, anyway?  One of the vice president’s responsibilities all along has been to monitor developments in that country.  The big problem, perhaps, is that “responsibility” is not a word this administration seems to grasp.  To be fair, the folks at Politico insist that the vice president’s assessment of the deteriorating situation in Iraq has been more on the mark than most.  He was the one who wanted to divide the country into separate fiefdoms managed by various competing factions.  The fact that such a reconfiguration didn’t happen is indicative of Biden’s dubious clout within this administration. 

As it is, we have seen neither hide nor silver hair of patrician Joe since he showed up in Ukraine to calm the agitated masses.  At that time, he gave assurances that the United States, while determined to keep boots off the ground under the current commander in chief, would offer all the humanitarian and logistical aid we could  in the event that Putin further flexed his famous  muscles. 

Russia’s president is unperturbed.  After all, Obama owes him one for pulling the U.S. president’s fat out of the fire after the president had drawn a big red line in Syria that he had no intentions of defending.  We “needed” statesman Putin then, and even trusted him – imagine! – to manage Assad’s stockpile of WMD, possibly the same ones that in the past had languished under wraps in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. 

Well, Joe, wherever you are, the big news is that bin Laden is dead, but his Jihadist movement is not.  Your boss’s claim to the contrary, al-Qaeda and affiliates are not “on the run,” unless you count their bloody marathon into Mosul and the speedy pace with which they seem headed for the heart of Baghdad.   Or maybe the recent “run” of five Jihadists from Guantánamo Bay, in exchange for a single American POW, possibly a deserter. 

Come to think of it, that’s one way to fulfill Obama’s long-ago campaign pledge to close down that camp in Cuba.  Empty it.  Send its prisoners back to the Middle East where they came from.  To paraphrase an old proverb: He who fights and is traded away lives to fight another day.

 Clearing out Gitmo in that manner would be easier than finding a suitable substitute stateside facility for the dangerous prisoners who remain.  The willing community west of Chicago might be disappointed, of course, considering the cornucopia of “high-paying jobs” such a transfer promised to create – prison guards, laundry personnel, dieticians, etc. – all in the noble profession of serving our enemies’ needs. 

Now to the matter of General Motors being alive.  Alive, yes.  Well, no.  The U.S. government lost $11.2 billion of the 50-billion-dollar bailout it made to General Motors.  This was more than the $10.3 billion the Treasury had estimated when it sold its remaining shares last December.  This figure includes a write-off of the government’s remaining $828-million investment in the “old” GM.

In recent months, GM has had plenty of negative publicity from its massive recall of cars, including a half-million Chevy Camaros , that were all factory-equipped with a poorly designed and dangerous ignition switch.  This is reportedly the largest recall in automotive history.  Officials knew about the problem long ago but did nothing.  Can a parallel be drawn between this shameful neglect and that of our government’s turning a blind eye to the resurgent terrorism of the ISIS?

Anyway, wherever Joe Biden is sequestered these days, he’s likely safer than the rest of us in today’s world.