Warren stammers on Biden ethics issue

I got a kick out of this report by the Daily Caller:

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared to stammer and waffle Wednesday when a reporter asked her if it would be ethical if her hypothetical vice president’s son served on the board of a foreign company.

“No,” Warren told a reporter at a campaign stop in New Hampshire before pausing to reconsider her answer. Warren added, “I don’t know. I mean I’d have to go back and look at the details.”

For Warren, this was less a question of ethics than a question of whether (or how hard) she wants to go after Joe Biden over his son’s entanglement in possible Ukraine-related corruption. The temptation would be to use the issue against Joe Biden. However, there are reasons why Warren might choose not to.

First, Democrats want the entire focus of the Ukrainian inquiry to be on President Trump. If Warren goes after Biden on this matter, it will divert the focus from Trump. Warren does not want to be seen as pushing what will be Trump’s major talking point in the coming weeks (and maybe months) — Joe Biden’s corruption.

Second, Warren would like to be seen as a unifying figure within her party. Personal attacks on Biden would run counter to that objective.

Third, Warren may believe that Biden is going to fade without any need for her to attack him vigorously. Most of the smart people I know believe that Biden can’t get across the finish in the Democratic race. Warren, who is also smart, may share this belief.

Given the disadvantages of attacking Biden for corruption, it makes sense for Warren to forebear if she is pretty sure she will overtake the former vice president anyway. But Warren, who keeps railing against corruption, didn’t want, when asked a direct question, to take a cavalier attitude to the corruption issue that Biden faces.

Hence the “stammering.”

On the merits of the ethics question, I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with a vice president’s son serving on the board of a foreign country [note: I meant foreign company]. But I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with the vice president taking a lead role in America’s dealings with a foreign country with which his son is engaged in business — as Joe Biden did with Ukraine and, as I understand it, China.

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