America

The Slow Joe Must Go Show

June 27: On Thursday night, shortly before the air and much else pulsed out of a bloodless Joe Biden, it seemed an even better idea than usual on a sticky summer night to amble around the corner, find a stool at the bar and see just how Donald Trump would go about provoking an irritable old man. This is in New York, the Upper West Side of Manhattan to be precise, where Quadrant Online’s mobile headquarters is taking a rest from the road for the next month or so, and Malachy’s bar has become, for the second time in more than 40 years, my local. A basket of fish and chips costs $15, the jukebox stays at background level so you can talk without going hoarse, and the bartender will shout you every third drink if he recognises a decent tipper. It is, as they say, ‘a neighbourhood joint’ and much appreciated for remaining its dark and narrow self while all about it has gentrified and been transformed.

Would anyone mind switching to the debate? It was not to be. The Yankees were being whipped 12-2 by the Mets, their crosstown rivals, and the regulars preferred that demolition to the one about to unfold on CNN’s Atlanta soundstage. Indeed, they were adamant about not watching the debate, so it was a case of drain the glass and walk home, wondering along the way why a lopsided ballgame couldn’t spare one of the pub’s five screens for a matter of national importance. Malachy’s patrons weren’t the only disinterested Americans, as it turned out. While global numbers are said to have set records, helped along by every Australian network carrying the feed, the domestic TV audience was just 51 million. This was the lowest in the entire history of presidential debates, 16 million behind even the damp fireworks of 1988’s Dukakis and Bush. Coming as early as it has in the election cycle, even before the conventions can make the nominations official, might explain part of the shortfall in enthusiasm. And what about embarrassment? It must surely have been a factor, especially here in New York, where Trump is loathed and, as his recent trials have shown, the rolls can be sifted for jurors by the dozen whose enthusiasm to convict stops only just short of offering to build a gibbet on the courthouse steps. Not that they would feel any guilt were Orange Man to be strung up – like smothering Baby Hitler, a terrible violation for the betterment of all – but what of the beneficiary, that old man in Atlanta stumbling and howling in the midnight of his career? This wreck, this husk of what was never very much at all, gained the drinkers’ endorsement by default and how shameful is that? No wonder the debate’s ratings were wretched.

There is no point in writing more of what transpired over the 90 minutes that followed the starters’ 9pm bell, when Trump strode and Biden shuffled each to his lectern, neither man showing the slightest inclination to shake hands. To say it was a catastrophe for Biden and his Democrats comes nowhere near the truth of a man falling to pieces before our eyes. Whatever strategy was settled on by the 16 handlers who had spent the previous eight days swotting debate topics with their champion at Camp David, it was in no way evident any of the lessons and preparations had stuck. Did Team Biden anticipate Trump coming on all bull in a china shop, as at their first 2020 encounter, and did they strategise that he would need to hit back with a response in kind? Likely so. At one point, an inappropriate moment as it happens, Biden suddenly bellowed what was clearly a rehearsed line about Trump’s character and how he has the “morals of an alley cat”, but that exercise in aggro fell flat,  worse than wasted. Trump remained the picture of restraint, almost of statesmanlike decorum if you discount the mute and constant commentary of his facial expressions.

CNN, whose twin moderators did a surprisingly fine job of concealing their amply documented Trump hatred, cut immediately from the debate studio to their panel of typically Democrat-friendly pundits, who couldn’t hide their shock at Biden’s dismal performance. The very first post-debate words were reports of whispered but frantic calls from dismayed Democrats urging Biden to step out of the race. It would soon be echoed by the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and pretty much every other dying broadsheet relic from the days when the news media still commanded some respect.

 

The morning after: Oh, but this is rich!

It was only last week, when Biden was in his keepers’ care at Camp David, that the White House launched a choreographed campaign in concert with a tame media to dismiss the thick portfolio of moments when an addled President lost it and was seen by all to have lost it. There are the dying sentences, which typically begin with a gush of assertion and trail off into a fog of mind-stalled silence. There are the big-noting fantasies — Joe the big rig driver, Joe the college sports star, Joe the brilliant legal scholar, Joe who lost his uncle to cannibals, Joe the civil-rights crusader who, truth be told, was nothing of the kind, having fought integration beside Senate mentor Robert Byrd, the one-time Grand Wizard of the Klan at whose funeral he gushed a loving and exculpatory eulogy. The White House line: such depictions of the President in his unguarded moments were ‘cheap fakes’, all sharp editing and misleading context, and the evil work of the ‘far right MAGA Republicans’ who daily demonstrate how dangerous an unpoliced internet can be. Who knows, maybe Russians were involved as well.

Feeding the chooks, Joh Bjelke-Petersen used to call it, and America’s media flock went forth from the briefing room to manure the commons with a will. A quick YouTube search will bring up compilations of talking heads gabbling, one after the other, of Joe’s wisdom and razor wits. It’s nauseating to watch those clips and see such brazen liars in the act, distressing to realise the ease and enthusiasm with which the lie of Biden’s competence, a huge lie as the debate demonstrated, was spread and amplified by the kind of people who pleasure each other at awards nights with the conceit that they are noble priests in journalism’s temple of truth. They had covered Biden for three-plus intensive years, saw near daily examples of his frailty, and they knew he will only face Potemkin press conferences where handpicked reporters ask questions they have submitted in advance. The hacks knew he can no longer operate without a TelePrompter and even then, on a bad day, just barely. They knew the mental decline was moving apace, that a mind going blank-screen was happening with increasing regularity. Carl Bernstein reckons there have been ‘15, 20 occasions in the last 18 months’ of Bidenbrain, to which the only response is ‘and the rest’.  Yet there they all were on that post-debate Friday morning, the press corps’ shills of yesterday, reporting the astonishing news – who would have thought it! — that the President’s brain is mush. Why didn’t the exalted Bernstein report what insiders were telling him about the President’s escalating mental infirmity? Why did the White House correspondents suppress for years any mention of  Biden’s advancing degeneration? As if you need to ask! It has been said by the Fourth Estate’s critics that decent people can’t despise the press enough. They’re right.

Late in the afternoon Biden was wheeled out for a rally in North Carolina, where Trump has surged, and he pulled off the appearance without disgracing himself. Indeed, rested and flanked by TelePrompters he was almost impressive in meeting the theatrical requirements of a half-decent campaign stop barn-burner. Yet it was just a few minutes of coherence, nothing like one of Trump’s two-hour roadshows, before he shuffled off the stage, this time without losing his way. Put that one down as a triumph.

Old habits die hard, so while CNN, MSNBC and the free-to-airs featured only the best and most flattering grabs of South Carolina’s reanimated Biden they were also raising wet fingers to see which way the wind was blowing. Dump Biden or stand by him? The camps were forming, plus a third, rather better informed body of opinion that recognised how hard it would be to send packing the overwhelming winner of the primaries season. The Democrats have been talking about ‘our democracy’ and its alleged jeopardy if Trump is elected. Yet here they were, openly mooting in their panic the option of invalidating the public will they insist is sacred. They are his delegates and will remain his delegates until he releases them. Worse, federal campaign laws mean the $240-odd million in the Biden campaign chest can’t easily be repurposed for any replacement candidate but Veep Kamala Harris, whose name is on all the forms. Hmmmm. President Harris? The inept replaced by the inane. Not much comfort in that swap.

Newswise it was a busy day, so it was understandable with so many handmaiden hacks wondering whose stenography to take next, whose riding instructions to heed, that a couple of Supreme Court decisions were reported, noted as important, but not immediately recognised for the revolutions they portend, the Justices’ erasure of the so-called ‘Chevron deference’ in particular. Allowing that Biden stays in the contest, win or lose, one of those rulings means he has already lost, for what the Supremes did was throw a tight leash on the bureaucracies’ ability to write, implement and enforce regulations. How is a party and a president bent on re-engineering society to make  headway if the red-tapers, enforcers and issuers of fines are neutered? In the name of Gaia’s welfare, to cite one recent example, Biden’s Department of Energy halted via regulation the construction of a Texas gas-export terminal. America’s top court has just rendered impotent that ruling and many, many more besides.

 

Weekend at Biden’s: A wounded President retreated once more to Camp David for what the White House insisted was a family gathering arranged long before, with word emerging late on Saturday that the clan was as one in urging Biden to hang tough. No surprise there. Jill Biden has just appeared on her third Vogue cover, this time looking not merely well turned out in a $6000 Ralph Lauren coat dress but presidential. The attached interview did nothing to dispel the impression she regards herself as consigliere and co-president rather than First Lady, nor that she is urging her husband to ignore the increasingly obvious and fight on.

Others weren’t so sure. Feeling the ground move, Nancy Pelosi shifted her position from Friday’s wan support to suggesting Biden needs to prove his worth by doing some tough interviews. These would demonstrate that purported competence and acuity, and a few town hall meetings, she added, wouldn’t be amiss either. By Sunday even that qualified endorsement was withering, with the former Speaker openly speculating if the debate performance was ‘an episode, or is this a condition’ the implication of the latter being a disqualification for renewing Biden’s lease on the Oval Office. Her choice of words did more than recognise a debilitating darkness settling over the President’s brain, it rejected by simple omission the formerly standard response that the President’s mind is a steel trap and his confidence in victory stronger than ever. If Biden has ever regarded Pelosi as a friend he now knows she is a fair-weather one.

As in Australia but more so, the US has its own versions of Insiders. The shows all go to air on Sunday mornings and rate poorly but are invaluable in spotting the flags of what latest causes are being run up which flagpoles. Pulpits and sounding boards for the Left media establishment’s current fixations, last Sunday’s obsession, shared by Face the Nation, This Week, Meet the Press and others, was the urgent need for a new, competent candidate. What had not yet emerged was any Democrat brave enough to put his or her name to that call. Timid as penguins on the edge of an ice floe, there was much squawking and agitation but not yet any volunteer prepared to jump in and see what happens.  

That was about to change.

Mondayitis and more: You can almost sympathise with the poor unfortunates in the White House war room. Their mission is hopeless and the news always gets worse. Some of the latest polls put Biden’s approval in the low thirties, a nadir no post-war president has plumbed, not even Jimmy Carter during the lowest days of the Iran hostages standoff. In California, a black Democrat is threatening to rally forces that would ‘blow the Democratic Party apart’ if  ‘they pass over Kamala Harris for a white man’, a call echoed in North Carolina by longtime congressional Biden ally Jim Clyburn, whose political machine brought out the state’s black primary voters in 2020 and kept a flagging candidate in the race he would eventually rally to win. Clyburn declined to say Biden should quit, but the tone of his remarks left no doubt he thought it would happen, good idea or not. ‘We’ll be expecting the party’s full support for Kamala,’ he said, virtually promising his party an intramural race war should some ring-in – Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom or longshots such as Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro or Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg be parachuted onto the ticket. Whitmer and Newsom, governors both, might fit the bill, but the other two options demonstrate no appeal more concrete than fantasy. Buttigieg is gay and the father of an adopted child, which goes without comment in the progressive blue ghettos of Los Angeles and New York but doesn’t sit well with the deplorables of Middle America. As for Shapiro, he’s an observant Jew. How well do you imagine he would go down in the Islamic enclaves of Michigan and Minnesota, the key electoral districts inthose states that Biden has twisted America’s policies in the Middle East to appease.

Meanwhile, the news is bad from sea to shining sea and growing worse by the hour. Colorado, over recent elections a reliably blue state, is the subject of a just-released Reuters poll which says is turning red. Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, even DC-adjacent Virginia, with its dormitory suburbs of federal public servants, all are in play and, going by the latest numbers, turning increasingly to Trump. When Virginian voted in 2020, Biden romped with 54.1 per cent, and three weeks ago it was a tie. Lord knows where Biden now stands in the Old Dominion after Thursday night’s debacle, but it can’t be anywhere good. Ominously, two dozen Democrat governors are heading to the White House for what Biden’s flacks insist is a non-event. Apparently they just want to be re-assured that Thursday’s debate was a one-off aberration. Believe that and you’ll be open to accepting Biden’s claim that the rushed and ill-executed withdrawal from Afghanistan was a political triumph and military masterstroke. More likely is that the governors will confront him with their concerns that down-ticket Democrats will suffer a devastating electoral backlash if he remains atop the slate. Also coming, according to the wire services, a group letter signed by 25 congressional Democrats demanding Biden call it a day. So far, two congressmen have put their names on the record as wanting Biden gone. Washington’s blue penguins are shuffling so close to the edge that it can only be a matter of time before the Joe Must Go mutiny makes the anticipated big splash.

What to do? Lie! On Monday night as chaos reigned and the erosion of Biden’s support gathered strength, he took the remarkable step of summoning the press – no questions permitted, of course – to lambast “Trump’s Supreme Court” for conferring on presidents what he and his party would have Americans believe is a kingly immunity from prosecution.

It is nothing of the sort, merely the first step in the formalising of an unwritten convention that has existed since the presidency of George Washington and which, by general agreement, granted what amounted to a legal sanctuary from prosecution. No one, for example, went after ex-president Grant for the corruption endemic during his administration. The Teapot Dome scandal saw no post-term targeting of Warren G. Harding despite its tentacles reaching deep into the White House and cabinet. Nixon wasn’t prosecuted for secretly bombing of Cambodia, nor Obama for the drone strike that turned an Islamic militant, who also happened to be a US citizen, into red mist. The only reason the Supremes had to address the issue and craft their variously conflicting opinions is because Biden and his Justice Department’s multi-pronged lawfare against Trump.

It wasn’t America’s highest court that rewrote the rules, it was Joe Biden & Co.

14 thoughts on “The Slow Joe Must Go Show

  • pgang says:

    I read somewhere that the Democrats are now bound to Biden because of election rules in some states, in that once a name is on the ticket a certain number of days before the election, it’s there to stay, otherwise no candidate can run. I think it mentioned Georgia and Arizona, among others. Don’t know how true it is and besides, the rules don’t apply to the Democrats.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Nicely expanded put together piece Roger.
    My view is that it’ll be best to keep President Biden propped up long enough to let the voters decide in November, then if he’s still in his pesent state, which seems inevitable, a lot of Democrats probably won’t bother voting except for those that really do love their country.
    With these it may just enter some of their heads to close their eyes, bite their lip and vote for the only candidate who really can MAGA…..Donald Trump.
    Either way Trump is the very best they’ve got to get the USA back on track….he remains the man for the moment, not for all moments maybe but definitely for the times as they stand now.

  • Tony Tea says:

    Mumble it ain’t so, Joe.

  • pgang says:

    The NYT is all but declaring Biden gone, so consider it a done deal. How’s this for one of their current headlines:
    ‘Buzz for VP Kamala Harris has grown on social media since President Biden’s debate stumble.’
    The chutzpah is almost too fantastic to contemplate.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON says:

    Politics has become like an irritating 24/7 TV show featuring mental assylums where the inmates are wacky but the staff say the inmates are good to lead the country. The American show is the worst but the Australian version is not that far behind. I’m over it. I find I’ve got to go out and chop wood and or talk to the horse to get the therapeutic balm of reality.

  • Alistair says:

    Good essay Roger
    However … I cannot believe that everyone on the inside, (the people who matter, who bankroll the Party, the people who make money out of the Party – the people in daily contact with him ) did not know exactly how senile Biden was – they are not that stupid. I mean, dont be fooled by the media , you only have to watch Biden greeting foreign dignitories – you can see that they all know he is senile and look out for him. If they know – everyone knows. In that case I cannot believe the debate results were anything other than what they all expected. Perhaps even orchestrated. I think this could be whats called “limited hang out”
    That being the case I do not believe that they – the people who matter – haven’t already got a plan B (or even a plan A) already worked out and ready to go.
    With the Democrats having no one in the wings who is credible enough a candidate to push into the White House on phony mail-in ballots and the fact that the debate was so bad I cannot believe it was anything other than a plan to throw the election completely. I still believe that the money men know exactly what they are doing.

  • Podargus says:

    El presidente Biden – eyes like piss holes in the snow.

  • ianl says:

    ” … the Supremes did was throw a tight leash on the bureaucracies’ ability to write, implement and enforce regulations …” [part quote from the article here]

    Of the many things that need to be reversed, the biggest in my view is the bureaucracies’ preferences for constantly inserting their own versions of how we should all behave through lawfare. This applies to Aus as well, of course. In short, as previously noted, these bureaucracies need to be shoved back down into their holes, and shoved hard so they actually notice.

    This SCOTUS decision is a truly excellent start. It does my heart a great deal of good. And it makes the politicians accountable to normal voting since they can’t now hide behind the “process”. One can now easily hear the sound of grinding and gnashing of greenie teeth.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    The fact that Joe Biden was able to last this long as a candidate and as president is mind blowing.
    .
    How can a man possibly carry out the enormously onerous responsibilities of the leader of the free world when he appears physically unable to even debate a political opponent on TV?
    .
    The two main reasons why he’s lasted this long are an arguably a compromised mainstream media and an irresponsible Democrat Party. Without both this probably would never have happened.
    .
    A Democrat party whose senior leaders you would think would have had to have known how bad Joe Biden was. Many would have had very regularly contact with him. How could they not know? But they pushed ahead because they still thought they could win with him against Donald Trump because he’s already beaten Trump once in an election.
    .
    But ultimately it’s primarily the mainstream media which is accountable for this dangerous state of affairs continuing. It is seriously dangerous because Joe Biden potentially has his finger on the nuclear button.
    .
    With a vigilant and honest mainstream media in a free democratic country this would never have happened. Arguably if would be impossible to happen.
    .
    When I talk about the mainstream media I include right of centre mainstream media as well – not just the usual left crowd which seems to dominate the media landscape at the moment. My personal experience with the right of centre media having my reasonable comments often manipulated or censored tells me that. I’m sure many others here would have had the same experience.
    .
    The world needs someone like Elon Musk to set up a national online media outlet in the US with perhaps another outlet in a small Western, English speaking country to test the market.
    .
    The current format and structure of X is not appropriate for the role but its world wide technical reach and technical resources are easily adequate for the job. What are needed are quality journalists and media managers and a structure similar to papers like the online version of the New York Times.
    .
    The new outlet would need integrity and honesty and be prepared to uphold the values of free speech – like Elon Musk demonstrated in the case here recently.
    .
    It would be a runaway success judging by how bad the mainstream media is everywhere.
    .
    And Elon Musk is just the man to do it.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Kamala till the Convention, and then the candidacy is Open and all the delegates and the lovely money will be up for the strongest taker.

    We may take it that the fix is in. Biden out by next week and Kamala the shortest term US President in history. She will not be the chosen Candidate. Trump has indicated that is what he expects. It’s follow the money.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Nice report from the coal face, thanks Roger. These are extraordinary times. Now all we need is for Xi to take on Taiwan in the middle of it all.

  • Gerry Van Hees says:

    As regards the SCOTUS decision, this should favour Biden if he looses office as Trump will not be able to bring charges against him of influence as regards the Cia/Fbi Hunter laptop and Russian collusion theory.

  • James McKenzie says:

    World oil trade is no longer under the control of the USA.

Leave a Reply