January 7, 2017

It's like this:

And Joe Biden knows it.

I love his use of "inherit the whirlwind." It's an Old Testament thing from Hosea: "They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind." If you plan to stir up massive trouble for others thinking it will have no consequences for you? Just wait, it will bite you.

It was used against the Nazis by Arthur "Bomber" Harris in response to the Blitz of 1940 when he said: "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now, they are going to reap the whirlwind."

Here's the opening of his interview with the PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff. (We ran another segment here.)

Bomb's away.

-- transcript --

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS NEWSHOUR: Now to my conversation with Vice President Joe Biden. We sat down at the White House earlier today and began by discussing the future of the Obama administration's signature legislative achievement-- the Affordable Care Act.

BIDEN: I don't know what's going the happen. I think as I said last night, it was reported in the press speaking to newly elected members of the House, they're going to inherit the whirlwind. All the things they say they dislike about the Affordable Care Act, they're all able to be adjusted. We knew when we passed the act that we'd have to constantly see how it worked and improve it. For example, making sure that there were more subsidies for young people to be able to get into the Affordable Care Act, bringing down overall costs. But anyway, I think they're going to find when they repeal it, you're going to be reporting on your program one night on PBS about so and so died because they got their insurance cut off -- it would no longer cover them. Women are paying more than men again for the same insurance. You're going to find out that preexisting conditions are able to disqualify you or make the cost of insurance prohibitive, and so they're going to have... That's why they're having a problem now. That have no replacement.

WOODRUFF: Do you think democrats should work with them?

BIDEN: I think Democrats should say, look, let's take a look at what you have right now. What don't you like about it? Let's see if we can fix it. Talk to us. Tell us what your ideas are. But this wholesale, the numb disagreement most Republicans have is they don't think health care is a right. They think it is a privilege, not a right. We believe health care is a basic right. If you're entitled to an education, why wouldn't you be entitled to adequate health care? Period.

WOODRUFF: But based on conversations, we know the President, we spoke to President-elect Trump about this, based on that, what parts do you think may survive?

BIDEN: None of the good parts can survive without the funding pieces of it. The part they say they don't like is the funding! There is a reason why. There's a reason why it's constructed the way it is. You can't go to insurance companies and say, you know what, we're not going to change anything having to do with the pool from which you draw you people. We're not going to do anything, but guess what, you can no longer allow for preexisting conditions and disqualify somebody. They go, oh, okay, how do I pay for that? So, you know, they talk... It's obvious they don't know much about it. Mr. Trump's a good man, but he doesn't know much about the health care system.

WOODRUFF: But they're very serious about undoing it.

BIDEN: Oh, they're very serious about undoing it. So lots of luck. Undo it. See what happens.

WOODRUFF: More broadly, the Republicans are saying they want to dismantle much of the entire Obama-Biden legacy, legislation, regulation. What are you most worried they may do?

BIDEN: I think they're kidding themselves if they think they can do away with legislation leading to the progressive values we've built into the law. The public has proven they don't like politicians. I'm not worried about them repealing protections for the LGBT Community. The public is beyond that. I'm not worried about them being able to change the way in which we have reached out to and provided many more opportunities for women. But here's what does concern me: it concerns me that they will make some judgments in the form of policy area without having thought it through that may cause a lot of problems. For example, Ukraine or the Northern Triangle here in this hemisphere or dealing with Colombia, unless you are very sophisticated about what your actions or... Let me say it another way. I was asked to go down to Australia several months ago to meet with the same Prime Minister but with a new coalition and to make sure that we maintained a close relationship. While I was there I got a call from the President of Latvia saying, 'you have to come to the Baltic States, because Mr. Trump during the campaign said that, you know, they may not protect us against the Russians.' So words matter. I'm not suggesting that's his position, but you have a lot of folks around the world that have relationships with us now that based on some of the rhetoric that's occurred, if they follow through with the rhetoric by non-action, it could cause serious diplomatic and physical consequences. That's what worries me.

WOODRUFF: You're worried more about foreign policy?

BIDEN: I am.

WOODRUFF: The environment and the rest of it?

BIDEN: Look, they will probably do some very rash things relative to the environment, but they again will reap the wrath. The public has proved beyond the position that these fellas have taken. So in the near term, that may happen, but they'll pay a heavy price if they do that. For example, they could come along and decide that they're not going to have to enforce the clean air standards. They could do that, but there will be a backlash.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask about the Supreme Court. You chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight years. You know very well what it means when the Republican-controlled Senate sat on the nomination of Merrick Garland to fill that ninth seat. The court sat on it for almost ten months.

BIDEN: First time ever.

WOODRUFF: Then-President Trump, once he chooses someone, should the Democrats do the same thing and oppose and refuse to go along?


WOODRUFF: Or should they think, you need to fill that vacancy on the court?

BIDEN: I think... Look, the Constitution says the President shall nominate, not maybe could maybe can. He shall nominate. Implicit in the Constitution is that the Senate will act on its Constitutional responsibility, will give his advice and consent. No one has required to vote for the nominee, but they, in my view, are required to give the nominee a hearing and a vote. It's been my policy since I've been in the United States Senate. I have presided over more Supreme Court nominees than anyone living. Never once, even the ones I've disagreed with, have they been denied a hearing. So I think the Democrats should not take up what I think is a fundamentally unconstitutional notion that the Republicans initiated ten months ago. I think they should see who they nominate and vote on them.

WOODRUFF: You've seen the list of names that the President-elect Trump has put out there. Are any of them to you acceptable and are any unacceptable?

BIDEN: I'm not going to comment. To be honest, I don't know all that he's put out there. I've been having trouble enough following some other things.

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