By Henry Srebrnik, [Charlottetown, PEI] Guardian
Don’t be fooled, after hearing U.S. President Joe Biden read a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress April 28, into thinking he’s running the country.
He was simply giving voice to the two ventriloquists sitting behind him – Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Kamala Harris. They, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are really in charge, for better or worse.
Backing them in prime positions in Biden’s administration are many old Obama hands like Avril Haines, Samantha Power and Janet Yellin. In fact nearly 60 percent of appointees are officials from the Obama administration.
One month ago, on March 25, Biden had finally held his first press conference. Anyone could see how frail he was. Many newspapers revealed several “cheat sheets” used by Biden, including one with the headshots and names of reporters he planned to call upon.
The press pool was limited to 25 reporters, and Biden only took questions from a list of journalists whose names and outlets he read from a cue card. He abruptly wrapped up the press conference, telling reporters, “But folks. I’m going,” without allowing follow-up questions.
Roger Kimball in the March 25 Spectator observed that Biden “faced a few mild questions from essentially friendly reporters who were hand-picked by his minders to be sure they were on side.”
As one (anonymous) critic pointed out, he is, to put it charitably, in “cognitive decline.” In case I’m accused of “ageism,” I’d like to point out that I’m not much younger than Biden.
So we were left to analyze a video of Biden falling down the stairs of Air Force One or hearing him state that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “killer” — a word the leader of one powerful country should never use against another, unless willing to break off relations or go to war.
I’d feel sorry for Biden if he had been forced into this job. But he asked for it — literally.
Still, his selection as the Democratic party candidate remains a puzzle. The country, mired in a pandemic, mutual hatred between Democrats and Republicans, and serious ethnic tensions, needs strong leadership. Instead, it got Biden.
Even sycophants can’t turn him into a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln or even Bill Clinton, though they try. One puff piece, a March 26 Politico article, “Why Joe Biden is embracing his age,” by Michael Kruse, hoped he might “ultimately rank among the most consequential of modern presidents.”
America’s ruling circles have shown disdain for the rest of the country. Since most of the “oligarchs,” as they’d be called elsewhere, support the Democrats, the party had no qualms about putting Biden in the White House. They knew others would shape actual policy.
The Democrats perpetrated a fraud on the American people and sold them a bill of goods. Other presidents have also become ill, but only after many years in the White House — Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan towards the end of their second terms, Franklin Roosevelt after 12 years in office.
Biden was simply a placeholder because the party insiders didn’t want those whom most of their supporters preferred: for some, it was Kamala Harris, for others Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
It made a mockery of the whole primary process, too. That simply came to an abrupt end.
In their book Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Pares describe the concerns that some Democrats had last summer about him.
Back in April 2019, when Biden announced he was running, he wasn’t an obvious favourite in a crowded field of Democratic aspirants. During the early days of his campaign, he was rambling and repeating himself more than ever.
Allen and Parnes even quote a staffer who worried about the optics of Biden sitting in his basement during the summer: It looked, he remarked, as if Biden were in hiding.
The election was
indeed “stolen” -- not via fraudulent voting, but by the very choice
of the candidate. Surprisingly, at that press conference, Biden told
the reporters he was willing to run for a second term — at which point
he’d be almost 82 years old. That won’t happen.