The Coming Dethronement of Joe Biden

It’s not often that I agree with Joe Biden, but he said something in his nasty, brutish, and long press conference last week with which, if properly understood, I agree. 

Don’t get me wrong. The press conference as a whole was a “total disaster.” Notwithstanding the sycophantic performance of the court eunuchs in the regime media, everybody understands this. (But speaking of “court eunuchs,” what’s the female equivalent? It was Jennifer Rubin, who actually gave Biden an “A-” for the presser, that prompts this vital question and I hope some enterprising savant will contribute the answer.) 

At one point, a reporter, noting a few of the multifarious failures of Biden’s first year in office—runaway inflation; his failure to “shut down the virus”; the smoldering ruin of his legislative agenda; the sharp, persistent partisan divisions that he came to office promising to heal—given all that, the scribe suggested, perhaps Biden had “overpromised.” 

No, no, Biden replied, “I didn’t overpromise, but I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.” 

Delicious, isn’t it? Peel off and discard the first bit. Biden clearly overpromised. Just utter the word “normalcy” anywhere near the name “Biden” and watch the reaction. But many people jumped all over the second bit. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), for example, quoted the word “outperformed” and tweeted: “I’m not sure what planet he’s inhabiting but on planet earth his record is a record of failure.” 

That is true. It’s a dismal record of failure, and we’ve only made it through one year. Biden’s even outdone his master, Barack Obama, who before Biden held the world record for worst president in the history of the United States. Biden is far worse, in part, granted, because he continues to follow the blueprint set forth by his clean, elegantly clad predecessor.

But I have to cavil with the idea that Biden has not “outperformed” expectations. He certainly outperformed mine. I didn’t think he would make it through his first year in the White House. But here it is, January 20-something, and the old guy is still in office. Amazing. 

True, there is something of Dr. Johnson’s dog about the whole thing. Presented with the spectacle of female preachers, Samuel Johnson marveled: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

My feelings about Biden are somewhat similar. I have accordingly revised my prediction. I was wrong that Joe Biden wouldn’t make it through his first year. I continue to cling to the conviction he will not remain the occupant of the White House through to the morning of January 20, 2025. The prospect of a second Biden term is, I am convinced, not worth speaking about. In tragedy, Aristotle said, we should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities, but a second Biden term is so improbable as to be well-nigh impossible, and I am not forgetting about what a tragedy such an eventuality would entail for the country and the world. Even CNN seems to be coming around to this realization.

If I am even remotely correct about this, Biden’s situation presents the unnamed committee who actually runs the presidency with a huge and delicate problem. Biden’s behavior long ago passed from embarrassing to dangerous. We can see that all around us. 

By October of 79 A.D., Romans living in the vicinity of Mt. Vesuvius had become accustomed to tremors and eructations. A largish earthquake in 62 A.D. had caused widespread damage. Plumes of poisonous gas killed some 600 sheep. But the populace got used to the interruptions. Until around mid-October of 79, that is, when the volcano erupted and buried the surrounding area in yards and yards of molten lava and volcanic ash. 

I’d say we have had plenty of admonitory tremors. And who knows how many sheep have been gassed along the way? We’re still waiting for the big one, however, and as of this writing, it’s not clear how it will unfold. Will Biden do something stupid—(stop tittering with your suggestion that I should insert a full stop after the word “stupid”). What I was going to say was, will he do something stupid in Ukraine, precipitating a crisis with Vladimir Putin? Will he continue to coddle President Xi Jinping or the mullahs in Iran? Do not, Barack Obama once warned, “underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.” What if we get double-digit inflation, plus rising interest rates, plus a recession? We’re well down that road, and though I try to arrange things so that there is no math, I do note that the interest payments on our $30 trillion federal debt are much bigger at 5 percent than they are at roughly 1 percent. 

Some people talk about invoking the 25th Amendment and removing Biden for incapacity. But waiting in the wings to take the reins of power is Kamala Harris (and after her is Nancy Pelosi: Think about that!). So I don’t think that expedient will be resorted to. 

Somehow, the cabal that put Biden in power will scheme to winkle him out of power. It is unlikely to be as straightforward as it was with Richard Nixon. Biden is not hated so much as he is held in contempt. And with Nixon, the Democrats were fortunate that his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, was corrupt in a good, old-fashioned, straightforward political way. It turns out that he liked simple brown bags, especially ones filled with cash. Agnew would have been as unacceptable as Kamala Harris, but the blatant corruption made it easy to get rid of him before proceeding to tackle the big fish of Richard Nixon.

As I say, I doubt removing Joe Biden will be so easy. It will be interesting to see what the deep-state committee comes up with. They put him in power, instructing Bernie Sanders and the other Democrats to drop out in 2020, and they will figure out a way to remove him from the 2024 presidential equation. 

Perhaps it will be something like those corrupt quiz shows in the 1950s—shows like “Twenty-One.” Radio quiz shows had been wildly popular, so early television producers had high hopes. When “Twenty-One” debuted, however, it was a dismal failure. The contestants could answer hardly any questions. It is a nice detail that the initial sponsor was Geritol, a detail that might well play a role in American politics today. 

Well, the television producers weren’t going to gamble on a repeat of the initial performance, so they began coaching one or more of the contestants. They let one player rack up considerable winnings and then, when the public’s interest began to wane, instructed him to throw the contest to another player. Unfortunately, one of the players, Herb Stemple, did not take his dethronement lying down. He told his story and exposed Charles Van Doren, son of the poet Mark Van Doren, who had taken Stemple’s place. It took a while for the story to achieve general credibility, but it eventually did and caused a huge scandal. Maybe we have something similar to look forward to with Joe Biden and whoever the committee selects as his successor.

About Roger Kimball

Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).

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