Sorry, but Democrats need to talk about Hunter Biden

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    It wasn’t illegal for Hunter Biden to take that job. But Hunter Biden himself has admitted it was “poor judgment.” It’s reminiscent of nothing so much as the $675,000 Hillary Clinton took for giving speeches to Goldman Sachs: not illegal, but a kind of soft corruption that voters find loathsome.

    Clinton and Biden both make the same argument: The money — in Clinton’s case direct, in Biden’s case to his son — didn’t affect their decisions. I believe Biden on this. But these are huge sums and represent a kind of DC back-scratching and influence-trading that voters dislike. Getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing basically no work is a rare gift, and the cost of accepting that gift or of letting a family member accept it is it can be used against you in a future election.

    None of this is news to Biden. As the Intercept’s Ryan Grim documented, Biden has faced attacks for decades over not just Hunter’s work, but his brother James’s efforts to cash in on his name, so he knew this was a vulnerability long before Burisma. Biden’s answer here seems to have been to create a personal firewall about the topics he’d discuss with Hunter. “I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having do with Ukraine,” he said. “No one has indicated I have. We kept everything separate.”

    What’s unusual about this case is Hunter Biden appears to have inadvertently done his country a great service: He lured Donald Trump into openly extorting a foreign country to investigate the son of a domestic political rival. It’s an important revelation that has launched an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump and may help Democrats win back the White House. But is Joe Biden going to be the strongest Democratic contender in this conversation? Or will his ability to make the case be compromised, as every time he attacks Trump for soliciting foreign assistance, Trump will counter with allegations about why exactly Hunter Biden was being paid so much money by a Ukrainian natural gas giant?

    Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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