Dr. Politics on Biden's big chance
Ask Dr. Politics! You are fair, and we are unbalanced!
Dear Dr. Politics: Is President Barack Obama going to be impeached?
Answer: Only if the Republicans go totally nuts -- which means it's possible.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has said: "We see thuggery going on in the White House. We're not going to take it."
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has said: "From my standpoint, if the president (enacts more executive actions on immigration), we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives."
GOP intellectual Sarah Palin, who would have been a heartbeat away from the presidency if Americans could have stopped laughing at the prospect, has said that "the many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored" and that if "he's not impeachable, then no one is."
And Obama's senior aide Dan Pfeiffer told reporters recently he would not discount the possibility of impeachment. He thinks House Speaker John Boehner "has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future."
But who would benefit most from an Obama impeachment? It wouldn't be the Republicans. It would be Vice President Joe Biden.
If Obama were to be impeached by the House and removed by the Senate, Biden would become president right at the start of the 2016 presidential race. And he would be in a very strong position to run for election as an incumbent.
It is possible Hillary Clinton might even decline to run against a sitting Democratic president. Maybe Biden would offer her the vice presidency. Maybe Biden, who will turn 72 this year, would agree to run for only one term so Hillary could run in 2020.
All of which is highly unlikely -- which is why it might happen.
Dear Dr. Politics: Should Obama have gone to the Mexican border to visit all those sad migrant children? Wouldn't that have been good optics?
Answer: Optics is a tricky thing. First, the press has become obsessed with how events are staged, which is not surprising, seeing as serving in public office has become an extended theatrical performance, an elaborate roadshow. So when staging goes wrong, it becomes a story unto itself.
Remember when George W. Bush, wearing a flight suit, climbed out of a Lockheed S-3 Viking jet after landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003?
Even if you don't remember that, I'll bet you do remember one thing: the banner behind him, which said, "Mission Accomplished." That was optics, but it was the worst kind of optics.
So what would have happened if President Obama had gone to one of those grim, overcrowded detention centers where migrant children are being kept along our border with Mexico? The kids would have crowded around him, their faces beaming. Those who spoke English might have said, "We love you!"
And President Obama might have said: "I love you back! Which is why I have asked Congress for billions of dollars to speed your deportation!"
The kids might have been a little downcast at that. And downcast kids usually don't make for good TV.
"But don't worry," President Obama might have said. "Once you return home to your dangerous, poverty-stricken countries, you will be free to get in line and apply for refugee status to come to the United States. Sure hope you make it. Goodbye and good luck!"
Then, as the kids burst into tears, Obama could have gone down the rope line, posing for selfies with them.
Good optics? I think he was better off golfing.
Dear Dr. Politics: Did Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., really mistake two senior U.S. officials testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee as officials from India and make a complete jackass out of himself?
Answer: You be the judge. Even though members of the committee had been given biographical information about the two witnesses and even though Clawson has said he is an expert on the Indian subcontinent and loves Bollywood movies, he found himself faced with two people named Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar.
So naturally, Clawson assumed they were Indians. After all, they had Indian names and dark skin. Clawson forgot that not all Americans have pale skin and names like Clawson.
In fact, Biswal is the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, and Kumar is the assistant secretary of commerce for global markets and director general of the U.S. Commercial Service. Both, needless to say, are American citizens.
But how could Clawson have known that? Sure, it was on a piece of paper in front of him, but both names sounded as if they could have been those of Bollywood movie stars.
“I'm familiar with your country; I love your country," Clawson told them as his colleagues sat aghast. "Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I'm willing and enthusiastic about doing so."
When afterward Clawson found out about his mistake, he did what elected officials do: He blamed his staff.
"I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize," he said in a statement. "I'm a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball."
Dr. Politics would like to help Clawson avoid further air balls. If he is wandering the halls of Congress and meets a guy named Chaka Fattah, Clawson shouldn't welcome him to America. Fattah was born in Philadelphia.
(Daily Corinthian columnist Roger Simon is chief political columnist of politico.com, an award-winning journalist and a New York Times best selling author.)