Year 4, Month 5, Day 21: The Conservative Id, Yes, The Conservative Id

We have a minority vice-president. WaPo:

Environmentalists have seized on a comment Vice President Biden made while working a rope line in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, in which he told an activist he is “in the minority” within the administration when it comes to opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.

Elaine Cooper, who serves on the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s South Caroline chapter, said in an interview Wednesday that Biden shared his thoughts with her during Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) annual fish fry.

Buzzfeed first reported the vice president’s remarks late Tuesday, based on an e-mail a colleague of Cooper had sent to fellow environmentalists.

Cooper, who was wearing a black-and-white leather hat, said she attracted the vice president’s attention and was able to ask him about the controversial proposal to ship heavy crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.

” ‘Sir, do you support rejecting the Keystone pipeline?’ ” Cooper recalled asking Biden. “And he responded, ‘Yes, I do support rejecting the Keystone pipeline, but I’m in the minority.’ And he smiled back at me.”

Good for Joe. How about good for us? May 9:

It’s an enduring irony: in a corporatized political system, the only position in government offering almost complete freedom of expression is the one John Nance Garner so memorably characterized as “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” Vice-Presidents have for years expressed their constituents’ true sentiments in ways that chief executives cannot; think of Nixon under Eisenhower, and Spiro Agnew’s turn as “Nixon’s Nixon” a decade later, the voice of the conservative American id.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, channels our collective superego, as witness his emergence as an eloquent and compassionate advocate of marriage equality. Nowhere is Mr. Biden’s finely-honed moral sensibility more evident than in his recent outspoken opposition to that planetary disaster-in-the-making, the Keystone XL pipeline. Unlike some who’ve held his office, Joe Biden elevates the vice-presidency with an eloquent expression of the better angels of our nature. Let’s hope he has the president’s ear.

Warren Senders

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