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Joe Biden Fiddles as Democrats Burn

Boxed into a corner by Biden’s intransigence, a sense of doom and hopelessness envelops the Democratic Party.

by | Jul 11, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That saying attributed to 19th-century British politician Lord Acton should have an addendum: Absolute power is all but impossible to wrest from an unwilling subject. In fact, when President George Washington decided not to seek a third term and voluntarily handed power over to John Adams, it represented one of the most momentous acts by a leader in world history: the willing surrender of absolute power without coercion, imprisonment, or assassination. These days, Joe Biden has become the anti-George Washington, refusing to bow to reality for one reason and one reason only: because he can.

To put it in the most blunt terms, about the only thing Biden has done effectively in recent days is to remind the “elites” — the very ones who plucked him from the political graveyard to be their hood ornament in 2020 — of his absolute power, and the golden rule: He who has the gold rules. Biden holds all the gold and has used every bit of it to stave off a congressional revolt in his own party. As the sitting president who has accumulated more than enough delegates to assure his renomination at the Democratic National Convention in August, he surely has reminded his panicked cohorts that it is entirely up to him and him alone to show or go.

Indeed, as he faces the challenge of a lifetime to overcome profound and widespread doubts about his capacity to serve until he is 86 years old — or whether he is even up to the job right now — Biden holds almost absolute power to determine his own destiny. He possesses the awesome authority of the presidency and has won every single primary contest — except one in faraway American Samoa — entitling him to his party’s nomination. It cannot be taken from him without his consent. End of discussion. And as he digs in his heels more with each passing day, this president also holds what could be the ultimate ace in the hole: the full backing of enabler-in-chief Dr. Jill Biden.

What Does Biden Have to Lose?

In the end, Biden might think, what does he have to lose? He will be sent out to pasture anyway when this is all over, in four months or four years. Why should he voluntarily forgo the many perks and trappings of power he sought for his entire adult life? And his pleading is easy to follow if not accept: He already beat Trump once, helped prevent the expected red wave two years later, and now they want to throw him overboard in favor of an unspecified alternative — or Kamala Harris, for heaven’s sake?

When even the leaders and elders of your own party fail in confronting you with the grave consequences of remaining on the ballot, as they have in recent days, only to run into Biden’s stone wall, it seems accepting defeat is the only remaining option. After all, they have thrown the kitchen sink at Donald Trump — prosecutions, impeachments, fake scandals, Jan. 6 — and the 45th president now stands as a heavy favorite to become number 47. Will Biden, the quintessential party man, still cling to power if he knows Trump and the GOP are all but certain to score the trifecta of winning the House, Senate, and presidency — on top of the decidedly conservative Supreme Court?

Biden has the capacity — and obviously the willingness — to follow the advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and just say no.

Mr. President, won’t you bow out if you understand that Trump is likely to recapture the presidency if you don’t? No.

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1But surely you’ll call it quits if you realize your party is likely to lose both the House and Senate? No.

What about stepping down to avoid destroying your endangered legacy? No.

Would you step aside if it was the only way to save your dwindling dignity? No.

Is there any reason you would step aside for the good of your party and the country? No.

Indeed, one word from this president is all that’s required to rebuff the calls for his withdrawal from the race and the palpable panic coursing through the veins of the Democratic Party like a cancer: no. And there is absolutely nothing that congressional bigwigs Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn, or anyone other than perhaps the first lady, can do about it except swallow hard and rally around the Biden flag, even if he descends further to the point of facing a landslide defeat.

All In Until He’s Not

Of course, Biden must behave as if he is all in until such time as he isn’t, but there has been absolutely no indication he is open to either resigning his office or ending his re-election bid. In one more last-ditch effort to talk Biden off the ledge, Democrats have now been reduced to embarrassing their own president by publicly predicting disaster if he remains in the race. Already, a dozen or so House Democrats have publicly called on him to step aside – an act requiring considerable courage — and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) broke the silence among Democrats in the upper chamber on Tuesday when he stated on CNN that Trump “is on track to win this election — and maybe win it by a landslide and take with him the Senate and the House.” Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) joined in Wednesday, calling for Biden to step aside. This, amid reports of one congressional Democrat after another privately expressing grave concerns for their own political futures, and some even breaking into tears over the hopelessness of the situation.

We are fast approaching the point where filing deadlines in many states will have passed, it will be too late to dump this president, and the party will have no choice but to put all their eggs in the congressional basket, hoping against hope they can maintain their tiny advantage in the Senate and flip Republicans’ equally narrow control of the House. The process of high-profile donors boycotting until Biden is gone from the ticket is well underway, and many are redirecting their support from presidential to congressional races.

One could envision Biden, realizing just how toxic Vice President Kamala Harris is in the eyes of a consistent and overwhelming majority of voters, looking at his doubters and asking a simple question: Do you honestly think Kamala has a better chance of beating Trump than me? That’s the right question for him to ask if he is intent on soldiering through this. Indeed, as Trump has pointed out repeatedly, Biden’s choice of Harris is looking like a great one for his job security. If the vice president were an attractive alternative, the party might go to untold lengths to put her forward as a replacement. However, she is all but dead weight, and Biden knows it better than anyone.

After all, even as the VP increases her public presence with speeches about the safest of all Democratic issues like abortion and racism, and prepares to take the top spot at some point, exposing this vice president to the slings and arrows of Trump would get ugly fast. It is a race that most Republicans would believe, rightly or wrongly, that Trump could win, as Rush Limbaugh famously intoned, with half his mind tied behind his back just to make it fair. If leftists truly believe what they say about this woman being a viable contender in the years ahead, why would they throw her into the lion’s den of a race that is now Trump’s to lose and likely destroy her future prospects for the presidency?

On the other hand, if Democrats accept that the woman made it to the second highest office in the land for reasons other than her competence, popularity, or ability to assume the presidency, then maybe they would throw her to the wolves, figuring she has no real future in the party anyway. But the issue remains moot as long as Biden clings to power like life itself.

What Biden also has destroyed by his intransigence is the moral high ground he was attempting to occupy, and thus the entire premise of his campaign that Trump, not he, is a threat to democracy. How concerned can Biden actually be about democracy if he cocoons himself in Delaware, denies reality, relies on an inner circle that has been narrowed down mostly to his immediate family, and rejects every bit of advice from trusted colleagues?

He screams about his reviled opponent refusing to give up power, and now that is exactly what Biden is doing. He calls Trump a pathological liar, and now we have become fully aware of a coverup of mammoth proportions about his condition that historians will be discussing for generations. He has relegated his own legislative accomplishments to a footnote in history, drained a generous well of gratitude and love in his own party, and set himself up next to Hillary Clinton as an abject failure whose enduring legacy will be that he allowed the unthinkable, Donald Trump’s return to the Oval Office. And, as ever more panicked and frustrated Democrats have been reminded of in no uncertain terms, only he can put a stop to it.

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