Biden Derangement Syndrome

In the battle for NeverTrump stardom, the fiercest fighters have been those once known as leading conservatives. Consider, for example, former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who contended that Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin “fundamentally is unwilling to break with Trump and Trumpism.” On the other hand, with Joe Biden, “I agree with things this administration’s done, distinct things Biden has done or Biden’s proposed,” without much detail as to the “things.” 

Consider also David Frum of The Atlantic, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, credited with the “axis of evil” pronouncement. Frum, who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, is on record that Trump was “a president who plausibly owes his office at least in part to a clandestine intervention by a hostile foreign intelligence service”–classic Russia hoax boilerplate. In Frum’s view, Trump got “favorable, flattering news coverage” and “the mistakes are precisely the reason people should trust the media.” 

Consider now George Will, once hailed by the Washington Post as the “best writer, any subject,” and the “dean of conservative journalists” by Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard. Will waxed eloquent about the “studied elegance” of Barack Obama, a contrast to “Donald Trump’s visceral vulgarity.” 

In 2020, Will voted for Joe Biden without reservation. A year later, the NeverTrump stalwart shows evidence of Biden Derangement Syndrome (BDS), the belief that one of the least distinguished men in American political history could be an exemplary president. In his November 5 column, “Revived or comatose? Biden’s presidency one year from now,” Will takes issue with Biden’s “you name it” to governance, but there’s more to the man. 

Biden’s “incompetence in Afghanistan,” Will contends, is a “stain on an administration that promised a restoration of executive branch professionalism.” The second problem is the southern border, which has “vexed many administrations.” Not much detail on Biden’s essentially open-border policy, monetary rewards to illegals, and such. Will quickly moves on.

“Biden’s third problem,” he writes, “which is his insufficient aptitude for the performative dimension of the presidency, can be surmounted if his aides will serve him, and the nation, better. It is political malpractice for them to put him in situations that require skills that he—always garrulous, rarely fluent—has never possessed.”

Readers have a right to wonder if “insufficient aptitude for the performative dimension of the presidency,” means Biden is not capable of executing the duties of the presidency. That job requires skills Biden has “never possessed,” but for Will the problem is not Biden’s. 

The “political malpractice” comes from aides who put Biden in situations that require the skill Biden has never possessed. Trouble is, nobody voted for those “aides,” shorthand for Biden’s handlers on the far reaches of the Left. Will does not name the nefarious aides but dares to compare Biden with previous presidents. 

In regard to “Silent Cal” Coolidge, “Biden should consider this theory: The less we see of presidents, the more likely we are to admire them.” That would seem to be the strategy of Biden’s aides. They keep him under wraps as much as possible but his poll numbers plunge and across America people yell “Fuck Joe Biden!” for the cameras. Will also compares Biden with a more recent president, the man who played a major role in taking down Hitler’s National Socialist regime. 

“Dwight D. Eisenhower was sometimes syntactically challenged when speaking extemporaneously,” Will contends, “and sometimes his foggy sentences disguised his guile.” Readers might want to review Eisenhower’s farewell speech for signs of fog. 

“Throughout America’s adventure in free government our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations,” Eisenhower said. “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.” 

On the other hand, “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” 

It’s hard to find anything comparable in the record of Biden, who never served in the military. In 1987 Joe Biden plagiarized a speech from pro-Soviet British Marxist Neil Kinnock. In 2020, Joe Biden proclaimed that America’s primary adversaries, the Communist Chinese, were “not bad folks.” 

To adapt a phrase from Ray Bradbury’s afterword to Fahrenheit 451, Joe Biden has never said or written anything that would make a sub-moron’s mouth twitch, except perhaps in derision. Recall Biden’s proclamation that “we choose truth over facts,” and confusion about his own location. As for “visceral vulgarity,” recall Joe Biden telling an autoworker “You’re full of shit!” After nearly half a century in politics, the Delaware Democrat ought to know. 

George Will, best writer on any subject, concedes that Joe Biden “never possessed” the skills to be president. George Will, dean of conservative columnists, still believes that a “politically buoyant” Joe Biden could be “remembered fondly as the bridge to a better politics.” Readers might see Biden Derangement Syndrome  as subsidiary of a broader dynamic. 

“The problem with the modern world is that stupidity has begun to think,” wrote Jean Cocteau. And as William F. Buckley titled his December 3, 1981 “Firing Line” episode, “Why are our intellectuals so dumb?” 

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Star Tribune, December 8, 1994, Rita Reed via Getty Images

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