CN Sept 24, 2015

Let’s not bury the lede.

Here’s the presidential matchup for 2016. It’s Marco Rubio vs. Joe Biden.  Who says so?  Beyond the Beltway’s Bruce DuMont and Chicago Magazine’s Carol Felsenthal.

Bruce DuMont said last week that Biden’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s new show was ‘the most significant appearance by a politician on US television ever.” And that’s from the founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Why so significant?

“Most people mourn and go through the grief process alone,” he explains. “so the fact that he went on the show to me is yet another or another example that he is thinking seriously and is about to announce that he is going to run, so that’s one interpretation. I thought the fact that he was able to reveal himself unlike any candidate, and he also had a very sympathetic interviewer that was talking to him and sharing some of the sympathy and some of the problems that he has had in his career, so I thought it was a remarkable interview.”

In addition, Biden has been vey prominently adjacent to the pope during his Washington visit, greeting him as he landed, seated behind him during the joint session and attending the mass on Wednesday afternoon. DuMont sees a pattern.

“That is probably another example of Biden being in the right place and the President is aware that they want to get the right photo ops with Joe Biden'” he tells us.

DuMont believes that Obama has decided to go with Biden.

“I have always thought that one of the reasons why Joe Biden has been pushed out there and I think encouraged by the Obama administration, is I can’t believe there aren’t people in the United States government right now high up in justice and FBI they know exactly what’s on those (server) tapes, and they know that what’s on there is maybe not criminally incriminating, but it is politically dynamite. And I think that’s why they want Joe Biden because they know Hillary’s going down; it’s just a matter of time.”

“And remember what Obama said,” adds Felsenthal, “and his Press Secretary relayed this to the public, that the smartest decision he ever made in politics was selecting Joe Biden as Vice President.”

“But you don’t have your Press Secretary go out there,” DuMont concludes, “unless you really want to underscore that message. And so I think the fingerprints of the Obama administration on the draft Biden movement I think are very very thick.”

“Hillary’s people are beyond worried about this,” asserts Felsenthal.” So they are beginning to try to criticize Biden …Hillary did it. She did the other day, she came out and talked about Joe Biden when he was in the Senate and she was in the Senate as not being helpful on the bankruptcy bill.”

But if Biden wants it, he’s not going to have an easy time capturing it, both agree.

“He basically saved Clarence Thomas (during his nomination hearing) and I don’t think anyone is ever going to forget that,” DuMont claims. “They’re going to have to be reminded of it, but he had a very significant role and certainly liberals know that.”

“When you see those clips from those hearings it’s not going to work to his advantage and he didn’t put on witnesses, so some people blame him for Clarence Thomas” adds Felsenthal.

And there’s more. Our pundits think the full ticket could be emerging already.

“Last night Elizabeth Warren was on Stephen Colbert. She was knocking it out of the park,” DuMont states. “I mean she says she’s not running for President of the United States. That was probably the more powerful insofar as just getting out there and making her case. I mean she was going at 78 RPM.”

So if she doesn’t run for president, what about Biden/Warren?

“Well, that would definitely propel him I think past Hillary if he were to announce that,” DuMont opines.

And to be sure we understand that Hillary’s candidacy is troubled, DuMont discusses her record as Secretary of State.

“…all one really has to do is look at where we are in the world right now. Look at the advancement of Russia. Look at the aggressiveness of Russia. Look at Syria. Look at the Syrian refugees. Look at what’s happening in Libya. Look at all the areas where she was allegedly involved. What happened on her watch has led to exactly what we have today, and if anyone wants to argue that that’s a successful record I don’t know how you do it. And a way to stop a democrat in any conversation is say ‘all right she was a great Secretary of State. What did she do?’ They have no answer for that.”

Turning to State politics, things are getting ugly in the Democratic effort to unseat Mark Kirk. Carol Felsenthal wrote about it last month in Chicago Magazine.

“…a Washington group, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Commission, came out early and endorsed Tammy Duckworth and ignored the moves that Andrea Zopp was making to run against her in the primary,” Felsenthal explains. “Andrea Zopp is African American. Tammy Duckworth her father was Caucasian; her mother was from Thailand, I believe. And she’s suburban. She lives in Schaumburg. She has a national reputation, even somewhat of an international reputation because she was so gravely injured …while piloting a helicopter in Iraq. She worked in the Obama administration. Andrea Zopp was head of the Urban League here but she is unknown. As soon as the DSCC made this ham-handed move because in 35 years they had not endorsed in a primary in Illinois, then that got the Reverend Jackson and it got John Rogers and it got Melody Hobson and Leon Finney and all of these prominent black leaders in Chicago to say, ‘She’s being disrespected, why are they doing that?’ So it galvanized groups of people in her favor, and I think in the end Tammy will win, but Andrea Zopp is going to have a shot at it that she wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

You can’t have a political discussion with two veteran political animals without talking Rahm Emanuel. His nearly $600 million in proposed new taxes is a massive political gamble. But he might be the right guy to do it, according to Felsenthal, since she’s sure he won’t run again.

“He doesn’t want to run again,” she claims. “I have never thought he wanted to run. I follow him so closely. He’s a two-term mayor. He’s not Rich Daley or Richard J. Daley who thought there was no better job in the universe than being Mayor of Chicago. He’s got other things on his mind and when he tells these aldermen to think of the larger picture, be heroes, Rahm Emanuel is a wealthy man and when he leaves office as Mayor his wealth is going to grow exponentially.”

“I think it is an act of courage,” adds DuMont.”He inherited an absolute mess from an alleged political messiah who destroyed the financial stability of this City and he bit the bullet. He barely got through a re-election effort and once I think he got through that re-election he decided I have no other option but to do exactly what needs to be done. The people are not going to like it. I’m not worried if I’m going to get re-elected again, but I’m going to right the financial stability of this City. That takes courage.”

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About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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