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Joe Biden and the Perils of Blind Ambition

The root cause of his meltdown in front of millions.

Maybe the Democrats should have realized what the nation had discovered as far back as 1988, and then again in 2008. Those years were the building blocks of an endlessly ambitious quest for the highest office in the land by a man who bragged from an early age that he would one day become president. Those who recount the first signs of his enormous ambition say Joe Biden spoke of the what – becoming president – but never of the why. Why, beyond his own personal ambition, would this son of a used car salesman believe himself qualified to lead the nation?

That question is now front and center in the minds of millions of voters in the wake of a virtually disqualifying performance by the sitting president under the klieg lights on Thursday, June 27, 2024, a day that will undoubtedly live in infamy on the left. A history all but buried by elite media, now under attack for shamelessly covering up the man’s decline, ultimately reveals Biden’s single biggest character flaw, the root of all his troubles. It’s not plagiarism, rank dishonesty or incompetence. It is not the economy, the border, inflation, or even his age or transparent infirmity.  It is his blind ambition.

As a three-term senator from the deep blue state of Delaware in 1988, Biden entered the race for president, and then quickly face-planted with multiple revelations about plagiarism that forced him to withdraw. Two decades later, in 2008, perhaps believing the public had forgotten about his transgressions, he ran again, and after failing to garner even 1% of the vote in the first contest in Iowa, he immediately withdrew from the race – only to have his career revived when Barack Obama picked him for vice president. It seems Biden took Obama’s selection of him as affirmation that he was presidential timber, resuscitating dreams of the Oval Office that had twice been buried.

What other than blind ambition would lead a man so thoroughly humiliated and rejected twice to seek the presidency again? While it’s true that Joe Biden is hardly alone as a career politician driven by hubris, what Democrats so anxious to shove him onto the ticket in 2020 failed to account for was his ultimate unwillingness to relinquish the power they gifted him in the wake of another failing campaign, even when it became obvious to all – except, perhaps, to him – that he had turned from the savior of 2020 to a millstone around their necks.

Some politicians run for office to do something, others to be something. Donald Trump was already quite a something when he entered politics and was intent on doing things – for better or worse – to fundamentally transform the relationship between the federal government and the people. On the other hand, if we didn’t already realize it over the course of a 50-year career in a safe Senate seat, as vice president, and during four presidential campaigns spread over more than three decades, Joe Biden is clearly in it to be something, to prove he is something. Blind ambition is what crushed Hillary Clinton’s best-laid plans, and the same is happening right now in real time to Joe Biden.

Joe Biden and the Road Not Taken

While he has now finally been unmasked for all the world to see, stop for a minute and consider how Joe Biden could have completely reversed a legacy now irreparably damaged by a performance that had some Democrats even openly expressing thoughts of suicide. That’s how bad it was.

Biden accomplished the one thing they wanted out of him. By simply being a stick figure in a basement who was not-Trump during a worldwide pandemic in 2020, he found his way to the White House. Then came the Dobbs decision on abortion that led to a surprisingly strong showing by Democrats in the 2022 midterms. That was the pivot-point. That was when Biden could have thanked the gods for his good fortune, announced that he has accomplished his mission, and that he is passing the torch to a new generation. If he had done so, he would have entered the pantheon of Democratic heroes simply for taking down Trump.

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1Or he could have convinced himself that the 2020 election proved not that the voters rejected Trump but that they really love him (not dissimilar to George HW Bush, who seemed to think he became president because of his own popularity rather than Ronald Reagan’s). He could carry on with the belief he is the only one who can beat Trump, and that the nation revered him enough to allow him to reverse course on his implied promise to only seek one term: “ I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” he said in 2020.

As always, Joe Biden chose blind ambition. So now, instead of departing the stage a hero to his people, he will leave with his tail between his legs, undone by his own thirst to retain power at all costs – power for its own sake. It brings to mind the old skit on Saturday Night Live about “the thing that wouldn’t leave,” in which a visitor refuses to leave the house even as his hosts drop one hint after another, and the lady of the house finally shrieks in horror. Is that not precisely what panicked Democrats are feeling right about now?

And with the most popular Democrat in the nation, Barack Obama, giving his blessing to Biden remaining in the race by posting that “bad debate nights happen …” the prospects of getting him to leave the race appear unrealistic. But of course, when the first batch of post-debate polls hit land, likely reflecting significantly changed contours in the race, Democrats may be forced to rethink their unwillingness to confront Biden with reality. If not, they will have little choice but to hand the keys to the White House back to a man they despise with every fiber of their being and focus their attention on limiting the Biden downdraft as they seek to retain the Senate and capture the House.

The Biden Boomerang

How ironic that the one task they chose Joe Biden for has now boomeranged right in their faces, as Trump’s odds of returning to the Oval Office have risen sharply, if not exponentially. His rise from the ashes was the direct result of Democrats’ multiple politically motivated prosecutions and is now being propelled by the jet fuel of a frightening debate performance by his feeble opponent. And while tens of millions watched disaster befall the leader of the free world, you can bet those who didn’t tune in have, one way or another, become aware of Biden’s slow-motion meltdown.

Left with little else to do since defending Biden again was no longer an option, the media tried its best to focus on – wait for it – Trump lies. Rinse and repeat. But the problem is that Biden – who touts his honesty as a night-and-day contrast to Trump, the man with the morals of an alley cat (perhaps Biden’s only decent laugh line of the entire debate) – is not so honest after all. You need no more evidence than his assertion that inflation was raging at 9% when he took office when, in reality, it was 1.4%. That is a lie of mammoth proportions. Or that no American soldiers died on his watch. Or that he had done everything he could to secure the border, only to issue an executive order to slow down the wave of illegal immigrants in the midst of the general election campaign, proving that his claim was completely and knowingly false. Then there was his malarky about being a civil rights warrior, a truck driver, or that his uncle was eaten by cannibals, and the rest of his lies that the media has mostly written off as just Joe being Joe.

Still it is Trump who is called a liar.

Biden and the Democrats have now reached the mountaintop in the art of gaslighting and are finally paying a steep price for it. They tried to say rising prices were not really rising; that inflation was “transitory;” that the border is secure despite thousands crossing illegally every day and the brutal murders of multiple teenagers by illegal immigrants. And then they paraded out every top elected or appointed official they could think of to swear that Biden is nothing in private like he is in public, that he’s focused and sharp as a tack. Finally, in advance of his shocking failure on stage, they started claiming with a straight face that the unedited videos of Biden looking dazed and confused – classic signs of senility and dementia – were “cheap fakes.”

And now that house of cards has collapsed in a heap – all because of Joe Biden’s blind ambition.

So many cliches spring to mind about the bizarre situation in which we find ourselves. The chickens have come home to roost. Payback is hell. But perhaps the most apt expression is the one now staring Joe Biden and the Democrats in the face: you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time. The Democrats are no longer fooling anybody.

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