“Scranton Joe” never saw himself morphing into a Georgia peanut farmer from the 1970s wearing a sweater in the Oval Office and urging Americans to turn down their thermostats. He wanted to be draped in a “transformative” cloak, granted the same framing afforded to the former company man he served as vice president, Barack Obama. And despite pursuing an agenda destined to be deeply unpopular with the American people, he still doesn’t understand why.
The mindset speaks volumes about Joe Biden and the administration he fronts.
View From the Top
Think back to the president’s infamous quote about citizens needing nuclear weapons to overthrow the US government. In its full context, the June 2021 remarks are far more ominous:
“Those who say the blood of lib— ‘the blood of patriots,’ you know, and all the stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government. Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What’s happened is that there have never been — if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Biden is railing against the idea that private gun ownership is a defense against government tyranny. In doing so, he reveals his deeply held conviction that the ruling political establishment is far removed from the power of “We the People.”
The authoritarian overtones are unmistakable. But there is something else jumping out as well. Biden sees big government as beyond the reach of the peons. This feeling, buttressed by some 50 years of Swamp servitude, allows him to drive ahead with what can only be properly called an anti-popular agenda while feeling secure that his legacy will not be stained by the hoots of the rabble that is to be manipulated from above.
Destroyer of Norms
Biden is a gaffe machine, but he is not dumb. He must have grasped as far back as 2019 during the dark and dystopian Democratic presidential debates that the policies he championed would not go over well if ever implemented against the general public.
Biden’s nuke comments were made at a White House gathering with Attorney General Merrick Garland. Perhaps no ranking presidential administration official in the past 50 years has presented himself so unflinchingly as a regime apparatchik as Garland.
This is the man who has repeatedly overreached in attempting to demonize American citizens who oppose the DC ruling nexus as enemies of the people. Garland has zealously sought to portray anyone who could be tenuously connected to the Jan. 6 unrest on Capitol Hill as a lethal threat to “democracy” and infamously branded parents as potential domestic terrorists just for questioning the policies of their local school boards.
Biden also has a secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who relentlessly seeks to undermine national sovereignty via the subsuming of the US into the multi-national agencies of what his administration always takes pain to describe as the “rules-based international order.” In July 2021, one month after Biden’s nuke remarks, Blinken invited a United Nations envoy to set up a truth commission on racism in America.
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic hysteria, Biden ruthlessly unleashed executive orders forcing citizens to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. His health measures completely corresponded with his belief that government has powers that go far beyond what most Americans not long ago would ever have been willing to accept.
Given all this, it would seem astonishing that Biden couldn’t foresee how loathed he would become. But a lifetime in Washington had taught him that a vast control apparatus was there to protect him.
With one jarring four-year exception, the ruling establishment has held sway over the White House in unbroken succession since 1989.
In terms of strategy, some presidents’ images were crafted to garner widespread grassroots popular support.
Yale Law School graduate Bill Clinton was the “Man From Hope,” the Arkansas outsider who was to be the second coming of John F. Kennedy. Barack Obama, a Harvard Law school grad, was presented as the street-spawned community organizer who embodied “Change.”
Two Democrats. Two narratives that echo what Biden dearly wanted for himself. Biden’s faux blue-collar posturing has been the butt of national jokes since his first run at the presidency in 1988. The same man who mocks gun-owning Americans for daring to think elite politicians are accountable to them desperately wants to be the perpetually youthful working stiff toughie confronting Corn Pop at the town pool in the eyes of those same people.
Biden may never face up to it, but his true presidential legacy is fated to be that of George W. Bush. Like Biden, Bush was tasked with destroying certain traditional American norms.
The Patriot Act and its shocking curbs aimed at individual rights, overseeing two fruitless wars that rank among the longest-lasting conflicts in US history, the elevation of the notion of the necessity of stern federal force within the domestic sphere in the name of “national security” – all this assured Bush would not be remembered kindly once he left office.
Yet despite serving as a similar establishment wrecking ball, Joe Biden wants to be loved.
It isn’t fair. The faithful Swamp paladin who always wanted to be president is Jimmy W. Malaise, a metaphor for political failure and decline. The keepers of the nukes and F-15s were supposed to take better care of him.