Features Australia

Nowhere Man

Joe Biden is the president who isn’t there

23 January 2021

9:00 AM

23 January 2021

9:00 AM

‘The virtual inauguration of Joe Biden is a fitting culmination to a campaign which was notable for its absences; a candidate who ‘put a lid’ on his activities by noon most days; a convention without delegates, rallies without fans, press conferences without journalists, journalists without questions.

The most striking absence however was that of Biden himself. There were occasional glimpses of the man who once called himself a ‘gaffe-machine’ and has a long history of angry outbursts. He was spotted last February when he humiliated a young woman, calling her a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’ on national television. In March, he told a Michigan construction worker he was ‘full of sh-t’. In May, he told radio host Charlamagne Tha God that, ‘if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black’. As the ballot drew closer the appearances faded away, except for an occasional apparition on television, accompanied by the ghostly reflection of a teleprompter on a camera lens. If you told me Biden was a hologram, I’d believe you, tweeted one bewildered American.

So, it is fitting that the inauguration of a ghost should take place in a ghost town. Jubilant throngs of victorious Democrats lining the streets of Washington DC have been replaced by 25,000 soldiers from the National Guard. How ironic that the party of perpetual protest, which called for the defunding of the police, now only feels safe to celebrate its ‘victory’ in the presence of the military and, even then, only after every soldier has been vetted by the FBI. Hillary Clinton’s dismissive contempt for Trump’s deplorables, prior to the 2016 election has morphed into terror of the mob.

It is a potent tribute to Project Fear, the zeitgeist which perpetually animates the Left these days, whether the existential threat is framed as a climate catastrophe, a Covi-demic, or the Second Coming of the Third Reich.

As the representatives of the educated elite, the Democrats see themselves as the natural party of government. That they lost in 2016 to Donald J. Trump — a game-show host, beauty pageant-owner, property developer and former Democrat donor — was a source of profound trauma, which manifested itself in more or less florid cases of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Those who point out that Trump sowed the seeds of his destruction, his ‘Trumpdammerung’, miss an essential point. It is true that Trump rarely behaved in a manner befitting a president, that he has, as Henry Ergas put it, all the vices of Johnson and Nixon — paranoia, an inability to distinguish disagreement from betrayal, an almost bewildering lack of loyalty to his associates — and none of their virtues. But even if Trump had been the most wise and virtuous of presidents, his opponents would never have accepted the legitimacy of his 2016 electoral victory and had no intention of allowing him to repeat it.

Even more astonishing than Trump’s failings, which are incessantly analysed, exaggerated and distorted, are the lengths to which Democrats were prepared to go, to ensure they regained control of the corridors of power. First, Big Pharma was given free rein to discredit effective Covid treatments and prophylactics. India, with 1.3 billion people, had 50 per cent fewer Covid deaths per capita than Hawaii, the US state with the lowest mortality rate. Why? Because it treated people early with HCQ, the drug that Trump ‘touted’. No one in the Democrat Party or their cheer squad — from journalists to social media fact-checkers to health regulators — has been prepared to admit it yet, but if the US had simply done what India did and continued to use HCQ as few as 36,000 people might have died instead of 411,000. Second, BLM and Antifa were given carte blanche, so to speak, to run amok. The media repeatedly claimed that the protests in 140 cities were ‘mostly peaceful’ but the arson, vandalism and looting was estimated to have done more than $2 billion in damage, eclipsing the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles, and at least 25 people lost their lives. Voters were not fooled. Trump increased his vote, surpassing that of Obama. Only the flood of absentee votes, cast under rushed laws and counted without satisfactory scrutiny, saved the day for the Democrats. But the loss of confidence in electoral integrity runs deep and wide. The lament of deplorables in 2020 that their election was ‘stolen’ mirrors the horror of Democrats in 2016, who ‘maintained the rage’ for four long years. As the ever-cheerful Babylon Bee put it in a satirical headline, ‘Trump criticised for loudly denouncing incoming administration and not just spying on them like a normal president’.

Only meticulous electoral reform, particularly in swing states, could restore confidence in a system that both sides think is broken. Unfortunately, Democrats are more interested in making themselves the permanent party of government by opening the borders to immigrants and fast-tracking their citizenship, creating new states in Democrat heartlands so that they can stack the electoral college, and stacking the Supreme Court.

True, Biden has not agreed to many of the items on this agenda but in December when he was asked on CNN how he would resolve a serious disagreement with his Vice President Kamala Harris, he replied, ‘I will develop some disease and say I have to resign.’ With the allegations of corrupt dealings in his family, which were linked to him in the contents of his son Hunter’s laptop, and which are still being investigated by the FBI, Biden is even weaker than he appears as he wanders away at the end of an event looking dazed and confused.

The frightening thing is not that a man who frequently appears to be on the threshold of senility is the leader of the free world, it is that American democracy has been turned into a charade and the president is a puppet on a string. This is not the first term of a Biden presidency, it the third term of Barack Obama. Biden is still the loyal sidekick, a cipher to hold on to traditional Democrat voters – white, working class men in the rust-belt swing seats. It was Obama who chose Kamala Harris to be the incoming Vice President and run his third term agenda. Poor old Joe is like the ghost who inspired the poem Antagonish, frustrating his progressive masters with his continued existence; ‘Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there! He wasn’t there again today, Oh how I wish he’d go away!’.

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