Posts Tagged ‘Joe Biden’

After a bitterly contested election season, facing portents of a dark and deadly winter, America turns toward an uncertain future

November 9, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 9, 2020

It took until Saturday morning, roughly three and a half seemingly endless days after the polls closed, for the numbers to resolve beyond any reasonable doubt. But finally, the election returns showed that Americans had chosen Joe Biden, Democratic former U.S. senator and vice president from Delaware, to be the next president of the United States. When multiple news organizations made the call late Saturday morning, impromptu celebrations broke out across the nation.

The incumbent, Republican Donald Trump, would need to overturn the results in multiple states in order to retain power. So far, no court or group of independent experts feel that the president has identified electoral malfeasance that could have tainted the outcome to any significant degree. That hasn’t stopped Trump and his most ardent defenders from grousing about imaginary fraud.

This tactic that will almost surely fail. If the election hinged on a few hundred votes in a single state, as was the case in Florida in 2000, the threat to American democracy would be much higher. This isn’t the case. The president’s conspiracy theories have faced some — not a lot, but some — pushback from other Republicans, who have begun assessing a future in which their party no longer controls the White House. Some — not all, but some — Fox News television personalities quickly began referring to Biden as the president-elect.

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An America-firster abroad: Considering Trump’s foreign-policy record

November 3, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2020

At the first presidential debate of the 2016 general election cycle, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, criticized Republican nominee Donald Trump, a New York real-estate developer, for having generally poor judgment and a lax attitude toward the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons in particular. In one of the campaign’s most memorable statements, Clinton said: “[A] man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

There are very few things I can credit President Trump for being or doing; I think that if he’s re-elected today, it will be a calamity for the nation. As I tweeted on Friday after casting my ballot, I voted for former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

While I think that Trump’s foreign policy has been seriously misguided, I do believe that he’s done a few things right in this area. First and foremost is that Trump hasn’t engaged in any major wars or foreign entanglements.

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Cheeps and Chirps: Oct. 15–30, 2020

October 31, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2020

You want more tweets? All right, you can have more tweets. Enjoy, friends!

The second debate 

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Cheeps and Chirps: Sept. 29–Oct. 15, 2020

October 31, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2020

Today on Cheeps and Chirps, we revisit Sept. 29 through Oct. 15.

October 2020 was a hectic month even going by the standards of this extraordinary year, so you’ll have to wait for another post to sample my microblogging from the past two weeks. Although, of course, you could always seek out these pearls of wisdom right from the source.

The first debate

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The discussion was more civil, but the men on the ballot haven’t changed: Reflections on the last presidential debate of 2020

October 25, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 25, 2020

Thursday evening’s presidential debate was a much more civil affair than the previous meeting between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The affair, moderated by NBC News anchor Kristen Welker at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., showcased a Republican incumbent who, despite his habitual scowl, was more collected than the interruption-prone man we saw at the Cleveland Clinic on Sept. 29. The Democratic challenger, Biden, seemed more at ease than he was on that occasion, although not as comfortable as he was during the solo town hall that took place on Oct. 15 in place of what was originally supposed to be a joint town tall with both of the major-party nominees.

Thursday’s conversation didn’t surface a great deal of new information. One of the few novel subjects arose when Trump accused Biden of receiving money from Russia; Biden categorically denied taking any foreign funds and countered by raising the New York Times report that the president had had a previously undisclosed Chinese bank account.

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The presidential debate that wasn’t: Impressions from (parts of) dueling town halls

October 17, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 17, 2020

When competing town halls featuring each of the major-party presidential candidates were staged on Thursday evening, I opted to watch neither. However, I later decided to sample the first 25 minutes or so of the two events.

A few things stuck out right away. First, Savannah Guthrie, the NBC news anchor who hosted the town hall with President Donald Trump, opened her hour-long program with some pointed questions for the commander in chief. Guthrie asked why he had declined to condemn white supremacy (he said he had; she said that he hadn’t done so when Chris Wallace invited him to make a declaration during the first presidential debate). Guthrie also asked the president why he had retweeted a baseless conspiracy theory involving Seal Team 6. The president’s attitude quickly turned scrappy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden got no such grilling from George Stephanopoulos, the ABC news anchor who hosted the other town hall. (The event starts an hour into this video.) Instead, audience members began asking the Democrat questions almost immediately, although Stephanopoulos did pose a few follow-up queries as the event wore on.

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Style over substance: Did Tuesday’s debate provide undecided voters with the information they need to make a choice at the polls?

September 30, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 30, 2020

Last night’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was a tawdry affair, containing lots of verbal fireworks but shedding relatively little light on the substantive policy differences between the men. The most dispiriting aspect of the event is how unlikely it is to affect the outcome of the election.

Neither candidate seemed particularly sharp. Trump was the more cantankerous of the two, interrupting Biden far more than the other way around. But the Democratic nominee intruded on the president’s speaking time enough that a supposed undecided voter might not necessarily view the former vice president as better mannered. Early on, an exasperated Biden asked, “Will you shut up, man?,” which wasn’t a very high-minded way of pointing out the Republican’s tendency to talk during his opponent’s time.

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Donald Trump’s superficial grasp of history and slick salesmanship showed in his nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night

August 29, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 29, 2020

“We want our sons and daughters to know the truth,” President Donald Trump said Thursday night toward the end of a 70-minute-long speech in which he formally accepted the Republican Party nomination. “America is the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world! Our country wasn’t built by cancel culture, speech codes and soul-crushing conformity. We are not a nation of timid spirits. We are a nation of fierce, proud and independent American patriots.”

Trump’s story about America certainly has its appeal. America isn’t just great, he tells his followers; it’s the greatest country in the history of the world! He’s right that the United States is stocked with remarkable individuals and a people who have accomplished tremendous things. But Trump’s complete unwillingness — or is it inability? — to consider possible mistakes makes his tale ring hollow.

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Super Tuesday aftermath: It looks like we’re down to Biden vs. Sanders, plus — maybe? — Democrats vs. Trump

March 5, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 5, 2020

Joe Biden swept the South on Super Tuesday and did well in the Northeast and Midwest, taking the delegate lead and becoming the Democrats’ clear frontrunner. Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Utah and possibly California and finished a close second to Biden in Texas and other states, positioning him as the party’s most viable alternative to the former vice president.

Elizabeth Warren finished third behind Biden and Sanders in Massachusetts, her home state; her 22 percent share of the vote there was her best showing, leaving her campaign in serious jeopardy. Michael Bloomberg, who spent half a billion-with-a-B dollars, dropped out Wednesday after winning the American Samoa caucus and nothing else. The media mogul and former New York City mayor endorsed Biden.

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Surveying the Democratic presidential campaign

March 3, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 3, 2020

As the rain fell this afternoon, I drove to a nearby elementary school and cast a ballot in North Carolina’s primary election.

I am not a Democrat; back in the spring of 2004, shortly after my move to the Old North State, I registered as an unaffiliated voter. But since I’ve resided in two heavily Democratic counties over the past 16 years, I’ve now voted in eight Democratic primaries. In even-numbered years, there typically aren’t enough candidates for local Republican, Libertarian or nonpartisan — meaning county and school board — offices for there to be a contested primary.

I’ve cast zero Republican or Libertarian ballots and five nonpartisan ones in primary elections; those five were all in odd-numbered Durham city races, which formally eschew political parties.

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Yes, the opposition to Obama is fierce and often ugly — but no, racism is not the primary factor behind it

October 16, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 16, 2013

As the latest Washington imbroglio, Congress’ wrangling over the debt ceiling, rolls toward what will almost certainly be a messy last-minute resolution, I wanted to comment on one corner of America’s not-so-civil discourse.

Specifically, I wanted to examine a fairly widely held contention on the left: That much of the animus toward President Obama is rooted in racism.

Now, I have no doubt that a not-insignificant tranche of opposition to the former senator from Kenya — er, I mean Illinois — is motivated by bigotry. (Search Twitter for the president’s last name and the extremely offensive slur nigger if you feel the need to prove that point, or to shake your faith in the character of the American people.) But there are many conservatives who gainsay Obama based on a panoply of other far less objectionable motivations.

The best way to demonstrate that much of the fervent conservative hatred of Barack Hussein Obama has no basis in racism is to look at the rhetoric toward prominent white Democrats.

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Begging the question: Obama and Libya

December 6, 2012

Last night I finished reading “Obama’s Way,” a lengthy feature on Barack Obama, the Libyan military intervention and the president’s decision-making process. Michael Lewis’ article has a publication date of Oct. 5 of this year, so I am definitely behind the curve on this; Vanity Fair’s nearly 14,000-word opus was meant to make a big pre-election splash.

I don’t think Lewis breaks any major news in his story. Rather, he fills in some details. Based on news accounts as well as Mark Bowden’s book The Finish (which ironically was published after Lewis’ piece), I’ve always considered Obama to be a very deliberate, cool and calculating decision-maker, despite the many forces that frequently put competing claims on the president.

That’s just what Lewis portrays. And he adds numerous colorful details, some pulled from one or more flights aboard Air Force One, others from at least one visit to Obama’s favored work and living spaces at the White House, and still more from one of the president’s nigh-legendary hard-fought, sharp-elbowed recreational basketball games.

One of the most fascinating things in the article comes around the two-thirds point, as Lewis gives a comprehensive (and incredibly divergent) account of two March 15, 2011, meetings between Obama and his security team. Both gatherings concerned the Libyan civil war and how, if at all, the United States should respond to it.

Early on, the first meeting went off track. The two options on the table were establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and doing nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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