If he wins the White House in November, Joe Biden is pledging a “return to normal.” And apparently Team Biden thinks that catchy slogan sounds like a promise instead of a threat.
Since announcing his candidacy last spring, Biden and his boosters have touted the former vice president’s ability to roll back the clock to the period of political appeasement that was interrupted by the unwelcome rule of Donald Trump. Biden, who has roamed the halls of power in Washington, D.C. for nearly five decades, claims only he can restore the nation’s capital to the comfort zone it had formerly been for him and his cronies, a place where mean tweets and spontaneous firings and “irregular channels” don’t frustrate the Beltway’s business-as-usual brotherhood.
“Joe Biden wants to take America back to a time before Trump,” cooed a headline in a lengthy puff piece on Biden in the July 2019 issue of the New York Times magazine. “For voters unnerved by Trump’s conduct in office but not necessarily seeking radical change, he offers vast experience, conciliatory instincts and an empathy rooted in personal anguish.”
Now, Biden’s view of what constitutes “normal” might be a tad out of whack after 47 years in national politics. After all, the Democratic front runner remains gobsmacked as to why anyone would question the propriety of his son’s profitable international business dealings while Biden worked in the West Wing.
And Biden’s recent interactions with “normal” Americans have veered from creepy to dangerously aggressive. At a campaign appearance in Michigan on Tuesday, Biden berated an autoworker, pointed in his face, and said he wanted to “go outside” with the man.
A Third Obama Term
But Team Biden, cocksure about their candidate’s totally-organic-and-not-manufactured Super Tuesday romp, is leaking names of possible members of a Biden cabinet.
Axios reported that several Obama/Biden alumni are being considered for top posts. Biden’s former rival, Pete Buttigieg, is rumored as a potential U.N. ambassador or trade representative to boost his foreign affairs cred before his next run for office. This totally-not-a-quid-pro-quo is in exchange for Mayor Pete’s unexpected exit from the race just 36 hours before Super Tuesday and his quick endorsement of Biden right before polls opened that day. Biden also has made similar offers to failed foes Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke, who recently backed Biden.
“Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan—a reversal of President Trump’s unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him—many from the Obama years,” wrote Jim VandenHei and Mike Allen on Monday. “Biden, a throw-back institutionalist, relishes an emphasis on governing, norms and restoring alliances. That includes respect for experts, and for the art and science of governing.”
The list, however, includes some of Obama’s most notorious henchmen, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (the signer of the first FISA application on Carter Page); communications advisor Anita Dunn; and Secretary of State John Kerry. Mike Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon, the chairman of JP Morgan Chase, could be offered top financial appointments.
Biden also is considering his options for vice president, a critical decision given his age and legitimate doubts about his cognitive fitness. He’ll have to appease the left-wing base of the party, including Bernie Sanders backers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). And he will almost certainly need to pick a female running mate. Possible candidates include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Stacey Abrams, who lost her run for governor of Georgia but claims she was robbed of the win, is also on Biden’s shortlist because she “electrifies crowds,” according to Axios.
Biden is earning the endorsement of some of Trump’s biggest enemies: James Comey, the disgraced former head of the FBI, and former CIA Director John Brennan have signaled their support for the former vice president. (Biden’s campaign, in the ultimate smackdown, rejected Comey’s support.)
A Return to the Status Quo Ante
So what, exactly, would a “return to normal” look like under President Biden? How would a mix of grudge-carrying Obama loyalists and untested socialist newcomers govern since it’s unlikely Biden actually will be in charge?
This is a shortlist of what Biden and company promise to revive:
A time when the news media fawned over a Democratic president, covered up his conspicuous corruption, and instead blamed any malfeasance on the underhanded machinations of his Republican foes.
A time when the permanent Beltway “expert” aristocracy, now exposed as hostile if not subversive to the broader interests of mainstream America, ran the show.
A time when it was not only acceptable but heroic for the president publicly to condemn the rulings of a federal court—including the highest court in the land—without demands for apologies.
A time when the plight of “kids in cages” was ignored.
A time when the political punditry class of the Left and Right wasn’t “exhausted” from doing their jobs, i.e., keeping close tabs on the White House, challenging the truthfulness of statements made by the occupant of the Oval Office, and questioning the travel expenses, furniture costs, condo rental agreements, Christian faith, or marital well-being of various presidential aides.
A time when phone calls between the president and world leaders remained classified information and, God forbid, were never exploited for political gain.
A time when daily press briefings were cordial affairs—devoid of sexist grandstanding and frequent outbursts by ostensibly objective journalists—with plenty of jocularity between the president’s spokesman and swooning members of the White House press corps.
A time when the Justice Department, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, and a secret spy court operated clandestinely to execute a political hit job with nary a raised eyebrow from the media or a member of Congress.
A time when a British operative could act as both an FBI source and a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch while planting negative stories in the media weeks before a national election and no one considered it meddling or “interference.”
A time when a scandal-plagued president and his administration could claim they were “scandal-free” and the brainwashed news media regurgitated that provable falsehood as fact.
You get my drift.
When Biden-supporting Democrats and NeverTrumpers praise the idea that Uncle Joe will usher in an era of normalcy, they mean for them, not for you. After all, the Obama years weren’t exactly halcyon days for millions of working-class Americans or other Americans who actually believe in America’s founding principles.
Trump, for all his flaws, has exposed the arrogance, ignorance, and failures of Washington’s ruling class. That’s why they’re desperate to oust him, even if it means replacing Trump with a man way past his prime who’s exhibiting more alarming behavior each day. There’s nothing “normal” about it.