Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has launched an inquiry into the former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged involvement in Ukraine and Burisma. Like an impeachment inquiry that’s absolutely a lawful undertaking. However, Sen. Graham and company may come to regret it.
Let me pretend that I have Biden’s ear:
Mr. vice president, here’s a draft of a public response for your consideration:
“I welcome the Judiciary Committee’s inquiry. Rather than obstruct its progress, I will facilitate it. While I expect you’ll call me to testify, I hereby formally offer myself as a witness. I will promptly produce any documents or other records relevant to your inquiry, subject to the guidance of my attorneys ... and I will ask my attorneys to be very open-minded on the question of relevance.
“I will urge my family members, and any current or former staff, accountants, or business associates having relevant documents or testimony to be similarly cooperative. Of course, I’ve already made my tax records public, if you need them. I only ask that you move ahead promptly. I’d like the people of this country to see what someone who has nothing to hide looks like.”
How does that sound, Mr. vice president? Sure, you’ll need to take time off the campaign trail to prepare for and give your testimony. But think about all the free, front-and-center news coverage you’ll receive that your Democratic primary competitors won’t get.
What if we add this?
“I further pledge that neither I nor my staff will intentionally engage in name-calling or slander against any member of the committee, their staff, or other witnesses or implicated parties.”
I had thought to add “or threaten” to that sentence, but — no offense intended, Mr. vice president — you don’t currently have all that much power to abuse, do you?
“I’m certain that the behavior of the inquiry participants — and the facts presented — will enable the American public to form their own opinion of the character and motivations of those individuals.”
Think of how honoring such commitments might distinguish you from certain other actors on the national stage. I can even picture a two-panel political cartoon in response: The first panel shows “a guy” defensively spread-eagled in front of a heavily barred and padlocked door with smoke and sludge seeping out around the edges; he’s bellowing “Everything is perfect behind this beautiful door. Believe me.”
The second shows “another guy” (OK ... you) beneath an “Open House” banner; he’s holding open a glass-paned door leading into a brightly lit interior, smiling and saying, “Come on in. Take a good look around.”
But, here’s the thing: You may choose not to make statements similar to my suggestions. Fine. But, if you could not honestly do so — if you’re really not that different from those other actors — please withdraw from the race. I’ve had enough of those others. I’m looking for a candidate whose words and deeds will foster respect for that individual, the office of the presidency and the United States.