Recently, Vice President Joe Biden was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (with distinction). Mr Biden is now among the ranks of John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Colin Powell (all of whom earned the medal with distinction as well). Whether or not Mr Biden is qualified to earn the medal is up for debate. That discussion, however, is not the intent of this article.
My contention is that Mr Obama’s giving of the highest civilian honor to his Vice President seems to be his administration patting themselves on the back. There is a sentiment among many conservative Republicans that Mr Obama has a better-than-thou “vibe”, so to speak. They believe that he takes too much credit for too little action. In an era where partisan rifts have ended friendships, led to violence, and decreased trust in our fellow Americans, the sitting president needs to be doing everything possible to foster some sort of healing. Maybe it’s hosting a town hall with voters from both sides that’s aired on both Fox News and CNN (just an idea). Obviously, it is too late to plan that.
I am not saying that Mr Obama should give in to the impending Republican takeover; in fact, he should do the opposite (as should a Republican politician giving way to a Democrat). I am saying that Mr Obama did not help the image of his party with this medal ceremony.
The last thing Mr Obama should’ve done in his last two weeks in office was award one of his own with the highest honor available to civilians. That being said, Mr Biden has had a long career of public service and certainly deserves recognition; I am simply making the point that this recognition came at the wrong time in the wrong form.