For months, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been telling crowds, the news media, and anyone else who will listen that she “always thought this would be a competitive race.”
But she did not, at least until this past weekend, seriously anticipate the competition would include Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Mr. Biden has not yet announced whether he will join the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, but reports over the weekend that the 72-year-old former Delaware senator was seriously exploring a bid reignited discussion among Mrs. Clinton’s advisers about what his potential candidacy would mean for the contest ahead.At The Daily Beast last October, Lloyd Green noted some problems for Biden:
But it’s not just Biden placing loyalty over competence that makes him who he is, his tropism toward plagiarism, or even his tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. It’s Biden’s willingness to turn a blind eye in the face of his family members trading on Biden’s job as vice president for fun, profit, and disgrace that completes the picture.
Take Hunter Biden, the veep’s younger son. Just last week, it was reported that the 44-year-old Hunter was discharged from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine. But here’s the thing. To get into the Navy, Hunter needed a separate waiver on account of his prior drug use. History does repeat itself.
And then there’s that matter of Hunter and Ukraine. Back in May, Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private natural-gas producer, announced that Hunter had joined its board. To which the White House could only reply, “Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president.”
And then there’s James Biden, the vice president’s brother, who made a go at winning public-housing contracts in Iraq. As reported in the waning days of the 2012 presidential campaign, after Joe became vice president, James joined New Jersey-based Hill International as its executive vice president.
So what? So this. Hill’s business is managing construction projects in the Middle East and the United States, and lo and behold, six months after James joined Hill in 2010, the company won a $1.5 billion contract to build at least 100,000 affordable homes in Iraq. Talk about coincidence.
Or not. According to published reports, the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, and the Iraqi government were instrumental in Hill winning the contract. Also at the time, Biden was Obama’s point person on Iraq, and like Klain, who is no expert on public health, James Biden was no maven on public housing.