Vice President Joe Biden told key members of the Democratic National Committee’s National Finance Committee and National Advisory Board today to “keep the faith,” promising that President Obama still stands for “real change” and saying that 60 Senate seats wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, anyway.
“When we had sixty votes there was the expectation left, right, and center that we could do everything we wanted to do, which was never realistic. Never,” Biden told the crowd of about 100 people. “Yes it’s had a practical impact, but I’m not so sure what a blessing 60 votes was.”
Biden said at the event, held at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, that reports of the Democratic party’s demise are “premature.” TPMDC was the pool reporter for the event.
“It’s time everybody take a deep breath, take a deep breath, let’s put this in perspective. Yeah, we took a hit and the frustration was aggravated by the fact that Teddy’s seat was lost,” Biden said. “That makes it sound more profound than it is.”Biden said that when they had 59 seats in the Senate “no one though that somehow we were destined to fail … Nobody thought we would not be able to get anything done.
“We were energized by the possibilities that came with a strong majority and we still are,” he said.
“Look, we understand that people are frustrated,” Biden said. “If the Lord Almighty were president why wouldn’t they be frustrated? There’s over 10 million people unemployed.
“We didn’t need a public opinion poll or a tough loss in Massachusetts to tell us that,” Biden said. “There is a message in this loss” that people expect the government to understand their problems.
Biden said thanks in part to “the really good negative campaign run by our friends on the other side there is a sense that the only thing we cared about was health care and bailing out banks.”
Biden said the new political calculation also has consequences for the Republicans.
“They are going to have to be accountable as well.” He cited the procedural drag Republicans have forced this year, claiming the GOP forced filibusters “over 100 times” on some legislation that didn’t merit such action.
“I can never remember a time when virtually every vote even those of not great consequence required a supermajority,” he said.
“Republicans are betting that obstruction will trump leadership,” Biden said.
“The fact of the matter is we’re in a position that if we persist, our efforts are going to bear fruit. Any of you think that given the problems we were left with that we’d be able to turn this ship of state around in 12 months?
“Did anybody think the American people wouldn’t be frustrated?”
Biden said, “I actually believe that we’re going to be in a position … our candidates, they are are going to have a story to tell. They are going to be able to tell people exactly what they did and why it worked.”
Specifically the candidates would be able to point to “tens of thousands of troops” coming home from Iraq. “Johnny is going to come marching home.”
“It’s not all bad we only have 59 votes, it’s one more we had than when we started this administration,” he said.
“We’re not backing off a single thing we believe in,” Biden said.
“When it’s 60 the Republicans can afford to say they need not participate at all,” Biden said. “I am still as convinced as I was in the beginning, the leadership and resolve of this man, President Barack Obama, is going to be made absolutely clear by all the American people by next election day,” Biden said. “So folks, I ask you only one thing: Keep the faith, keep the faith. There is no reason for us to be down.
“We still have a historic majority in both the House and the Senate,” he said.
“People have the right to hold us accountable,” he said. “I believe we’ll add up to that accounting. I am more certain than I ever have been in my career, we’re going to pull it off we’re going to get it done.”