Never the sharpest brick in the pile, and never having been accused of honesty, Joe “Bugout” Biden has not aged well.
All really that can be said of him now is that the ravages of time have cast doubt whether his latest falsehood is deliberate or an artifact of senile dementia. The effect is the same: his one hard and fast rule is never, ever to tell the truth. Dishonesty is the one area where he and Donald Trump are real competitors and both deserve to win. You’d think that Biden would accidentally, due to his befuddlement, occasionally get something right. The laws of probability demand it (in the way that they demand that newspaper mistakes occasionally favor the right wing, which they never do). But Biden has beaten those laws (even as we may soon learn he has evaded other legal niceties involving influence peddling and bribery).
In recent years, though, Biden’s confusion has become more obvious. His decision to seek a second term as president, I’m convinced, is due to his having mistaken something he heard. No, Mr. President, there is not a little blue pill that assures that even someone of your advanced age can achieve and maintain an election.
He literally hid in his basement during the 2020 campaign. An actual campaign is a difficult thing. How will the geriatric president be able to endure grueling campaign trips? Depends.
He will have to campaign this time, it seems. Even his sycophantic national media are realizing that he’s not just the empty suit he once was but now an empty skin, too. The occasional act of ineptitude was once excused by the often-repeated phrase, “That’s just Joe.” That explanation falls apart, though, when the President of the United States actually gets lost on the White House lawn, not once but over and over. People must wonder if the wall built around his beachfront retreat was constructed to keep prowlers out or to keep Biden in, lest he shuffle off. His pre-recorded candidacy announcement yesterday was the video equivalent of a ransom note assembled from clipped-out letters. It is reported to have taken weeks to produce. It is three minutes long.
His lucid days are few and growing fewer, and he is controlled by a collection of puppeteers that are pulling his administration in many directions — all leftward — like so many unhousebroken puppies scrapping over a rag. Even The New York Times has been forced to admit that where there was once little there is now essentially nothing.
“His standard line . . . is: ‘The only thing I can say is, “Watch me.”’ noted that paper in an editorial Sunday. “But Mr. Biden has given voters very few chances to do just that —- to watch him —- and his refusal to engage with the public regularly raises questions about his age and health.” Earlier, Times columnist Michelle Goldberg put it a little more plainly: “By the time he finally achieved the office he longed for, he was far past his prime. . . . I hope he doesn’t run again, because he’s too old.”
But Biden’s handlers — and never has the word been more apt — are entirely content in having so malleable a figurehead. It’s like the old joke in which a prankster aide to Stevie Wonder assures him, “No, Stevie, that tie looks great!”
(You could argue that his predecessor and wannabe successor’s factotums, who kept their jobs by telling Donald Trump only what Trump wanted to hear, were just as bad. To which I’d counter that pulling a mental defective in the right direction is better than pulling one in the wrong direction.)
It increasingly looks as if the 2024 presidential election will pit what’s left of the never-quite-sane Donald Trump against what’s left of the never-quite-bright Joe Biden. The debates would be hilarious, real popcorn time, but polls are uniform in the message that a majority of the country doesn’t want either one of them. In fact, neither man has the support of the majority of his own party. It can be said of Biden that he’s consistent: he’s been a Democrat ever since that day long ago when the union bosses told him he was a Democrat. Trump infected the Republican party only in recent years. If he thought it would do him good, Trump would declare himself a Martian. (And his supporters would immediately doff their black teeshirts depicting a Trump-faced Jesus holding an M-16 while riding an eagle made of gold and replace them with green teeshirts showing Trump with antennae sprouting from his head, Ray Walston-style, and hats emblazoned with “MMGA,” which in addition to seeking the restoration of Martian greatness would offer them a chance to promote their other great passion, professional wrestling.)
The winner would have to deal with a multitude of crises of his own making and those created by the loser. Not the least of these would be to face down Russian nutjobski Vladimir Putin and China’s Winnie Xi Pooh. (You’re aware — right? — that Winnie the Pooh has been banned in China because it’s been noticed that the unbeloved Chinese despot Xi Jinping appears to be a malevolent caricature of the much-loved character from children’s books.)
But there’s time, that we all can hope and pray will be profitably employed, between now and the 2024 election. And at least some of it will involve salacious undertakings. Both Trump and Biden have embarrassments over women who make their living by doing sexual things. Biden’s story makes him look like a first-order louse; Trump’s makes him appear to be a champion idiot.
In the latter case, Trump is under (an incredibly flimsy) indictment in New York for improper bookkeeping in the payment of money to a pornography performer with whom he had sex. The charge is not that he paid her for the sex; we don’t know anything about that one way or the other. Instead, it is said and is apparently unchallenged that he paid the “actress” not to tell anyone about it. The media call it “hush money,” but it was a perfectly legal non-disclosure agreement of a sort agreed to every day. The indictment doesn’t have anything to do with that, either. No, the charge is that the payment was miscategorized in the Trump ledgers. That’s it.
Well, no, not really; as a legal matter, it’s true but as a practical matter there’s more to explore: Trump paid the sex worker $130,000 to keep a secret. Clearly, the secret got un-kept, in that you and I know about it and so does everyone else. Seems to me that anyone who wants us to trust him with the government’s — your and my — money ought to have at least tried to recover the $130,000: he kept his end of the deal but she apparently didn’t. Unless they had an audience, which I guess given her profession is possible.
(This has nothing to do with the “artist” having been ordered a few weeks ago to pay Trump $121,972 in legal fees — she sued him for defamation following a post on Twitter with which she took issue. She had earlier been ordered to pay about $300,000 in legal fees to Trump in the same case. So what was done to her by Trump took place in both the physical and metaphorical senses.)
It’s hard to believe, but the Biden story is even worse.
About five years ago, Bugout Joe’s son Hunter engaged in commerce of at least one sort with a Washington stripper. This was apparently to soothe his, um, feelings — he had just broken up with the widow of his brother Beau. (I’m going to have to disinfect my keyboard after this.) The woman became pregnant and a cute little accidental Biden resulted. (Maybe that’s why old Joe favors abortion whenever possible.) The contemptible Hunter — I consider this characterization a statement of fact, not a matter of judgment, though old Joe calls him “the smartest guy I know,” and we should all shudder at the possibility he’s right — even petitioned a court earlier this year, asking that the little girl, now four, be enjoined from using the name “Biden” as if it were something of which to be proud. This week it was reported that Hunter was hiding out in the White House so as to avoid process servers — he’s being sued for child support. Yes, the White House, the official residence of the President of the United States, is reportedly providing sanctuary for a deadbeat dad. (Yesterday, the judge in the paternity court, in Arkansas, ordered that Hunter appear in her courtroom next Monday.)
This came just a day after Bugout Joe spoke floridly of the nation’s responsibilities to children. That’s Joe Biden, who refuses to acknowledge his own grandchild and apparently provides a hideout so that the grandchild’s father can’t be forced to make sure the grandchild has shoes on her little feet and enough to fill her tiny belly. There’s a president for you!
And that’s just one of Hunter’s minor peccadilloes. We cannot know whether the smartest guy Joe Biden knows will see the inside of a jail cell, but it’s looking more and more as if he’s in that kind of jeopardy. Whether he does or not, it’s manifestly clear that Hunter, who is at least smart enough to have amassed a substantial sum of money without ever doing a lick of work — in another life, he and Trump might have been friends — by trading on his father’s name and his real or purported influence over his father, Joe “The Big Guy” Biden. This week it became evident that as many as a dozen Bidens cashed in on questionable deals involving foreign powers including one whose leader resembles an A.A. Milne creation. At least Joe has available a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Hey, it worked, for awhile, for Vinnie the Chin.
A wild card in all this is the whistleblower from the Internal Revenue Service who a few days ago approached Congress with allegations that the Biden administration is going to extraordinary lengths to keep Hunter from being charged with any of the numerous crimes for which probable cause pretty clearly exists.
Ah, but it’s 2023 and I’m writing a political story that’s gone a whole page with only one reference to Donald Trump. So, lest flying saucers full of Trump worshipers appear over my house claiming I’m being unfair, let’s not neglect him any more. Despite the nonsensical New York charge, he’s at risk in a couple other areas. The one that more interests me is the Georgia case, in which there is actual tape of him trying to get the governor and the secretary of state to phony up enough ballots to swing the state to him during the 2020 vote count. The prosecutor there says that charges, if there are any, will be handed up this summer.
There’s also the business about Trump squirreling away classified and secret government documents at his Florida home, where he rents rooms to tourists. You may remember the raid last August. It’s claimed that the feds have put a case together against him; if so, the indictment is likely to be unsealed with timing carefully based on political effect — Bugout Joe currently runs the Department of Justice after all. (An aside: In our prayers for Joe Biden to continue to draw breath, so as to spare us President Kamala Harris — and now I have to disinfect the keyboard again — we should also give thanks for Mitch McConnell, who as Senate majority leader kept Merrick Garland off the U.S. Supreme Court.)
It’s my belief that Trump is unusually likely to have done anything vile he’s even rumored of having done, but I don’t think the document-theft charge can stick. Why? Because Biden did the same thing, and even a bulb as dim as Joe Biden would notice the political disparity if Trump were charged but not Biden.
It would be easy to go on and on about this without any repetition, though I don’t think the keyboard would survive the exercise — it can be dunked in Clorox only so many times. But I think the case has been made. It comes in the form of a question:
Are these two toxic bozos really the best we can do?
Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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