Vice President Biden gets a laugh from the crowd at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s A Century of Service event, honoring former Senators Bob Dole and Howard Baker.
A few weeks ago, at a Bipartisan Policy Center event honoring former Senators Bob Dole and Howard Baker for their combined century of service, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the crowd and thanked the two men for all they had done for this country.
Always a raconteur, Biden regaled the audience with a few funny anecdotes—there was that embarrassing incident with President Reagan and Baker in the White House dining room, for example—but he also spoke from the heart about what these men exemplify. They are, he noted, the embodiment of goodness, their mission in life the betterment of human kind. “Both risked their political careers at times over the years to stand up for what they believe in,” Biden said. “Their empathy, decency, and understanding of others, in my estimation, is true power.” What struck me while listening to his remarks was that the audience, a group of mightily influential people, was paying close attention. (Rare these days, it seems.)
Seated in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium were former Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle, as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with nearly every living Senate minority and majority leader—all heavyweight Republicans and Democrats, rapt as Biden came to his conclusion: Finding common ground without losing sacred ground is what Dole and Baker accomplished, and what politics should be all about. It’s an old message, but one that is doubly true today. Now more than ever, power is not just about how much money you have (or can raise); it’s about how much consensus you can build, how much you can relate to others, and how magnanimous you can strive to become. But that’s not all.
In this issue we explore the myriad definitions of power in Washington and around the US and the globe. A piece written by DC Central Kitchen founder Robert Egger, along with a feature spotlighting notable local couples, shows that love and soulful connections can build strength and ties that bind. Our feature on Sidwell Friends School illuminates the power of discretion in Washington’s most elite circles, and our cover story on Claire Danes delves into Homeland’s broad appeal. Not since The West Wing has a political drama harnessed such power to capture our collective attention and imagination; so many movers and shakers in the District, from President Obama to the Clintons, are even tuning in to follow Danes’s wild ride as an embattled CIA agent. As the presidential race draws near and the hum of the election cycle brings out interminable passion from both sides of the aisle, I hope this timely issue becomes a source of inspiration and conversation in the months ahead.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOMINIQUE FIERRO (BIDEN); ALFREDO FLORES (WEBRE)
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.