Joe Biden update: He visits China, ignites no war
Vice President Joe Biden was so phenomenally successful in driving the economic stimulus package to create a fraction of the jobs he promised and then headed several recent budget/deficit negotiations between congressional Democrats and Republicans, such that both sides now feel screwed.
As a reward, Joe was dispatched to Asia at this peak American vacation period. He just spent four days in China ostensibly to continue building a relationship with China's expected next leader, current vice president Xi Jingping.
But the real reason was to reassure Chinese leaders that their $1.2 trillion in U.S. federal debt was safe. And that it was one powerful wing of some political party other than his Democrats that caused all the trouble, which wouldn't be finally settled until Nov. 6, 2012.
Biden's pro forma reassurance, in light of Biden's famous predictions all last year of Democrats holding their large majorities in both houses of Congress, brings to mind a little-known Danish proverb, tillid, men kontrollere. (Trust, but verify.)
Joe also tried on a fresh public fashion look in China. Of course, he did not change his penchant for dark suits and dark shoes and wearing his hair up. But he donned eyeglasses that made some people think of someone else. But her name escapes us right now.
Today, JB is in Mongolia for a few hours because these vice presidential foreign junkets need three stops to look worthy and sufficiently productive to be paid by taxpayers. Monday night the Democrat will arrive in Tokyo for two days of reassuring our top northern Asia ally, as American officials must whenever they seem to pay more attention to Beijing.
But it was Biden's time in China that was key. He showed up at a Georgetown University basketball competition with a local team that included some undiplomatic confrontations. He had considerable private facetime with Xi Jingping. Like too many American officials overseas not named Jon Huntsman, Biden found himself having to apologize for not speaking Chinese.
He answered some questions from students, suggesting that Americans have ingenuity built into their DNA and that openness in government tends to make societies more stable, not less. This from the fellow who's met with the administration's head of transparency efforts and closed the meetings both times.
Biden also watched high school students play on basketball courts built by the NBA. And then the vice president himself took a half-dozen shots. He missed all but one, crediting the AFL-CIO with the lone basket and blaming the missed five on Republicans protecting their wealthy donors.
Just kidding. Although no one asked Biden, he blamed the missed shots on "jet lag."
Caused by Republicans.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photos: Lintao Zhang / Getty Images AsiaPac (Biden in China); Getty Images (Palin).