Like many of my acquaintances, I feel alternately despondent and outraged by the unfolding story of the Bidens’ Excellent Bribery Adventure.
The despondency comes from the bitter recognition that, notwithstanding the veritable tsunami of commentary that has accompanied the story—a tsunami to which I have contributed myself—we are probably months if not years from getting to the bottom of this fish pond. After all, it’s alleged that Hunter Biden and his enablers set up a complex series of shell companies—at least 20 of them by some counts—that will make following the money a forensic nightmare. Remember, the Big Guy himself, challenged about the allegations by a reporter, scoffed, “So where’s the money?” Good luck tracing it.
Adding to the despondency is the likelihood that, if and when we do get the whole story, it will be too late. Now, at long last, we know, as well as any contingent historical event can be known, what happened with the Russia Collusion Hoax. There was no collusion, at least not involving Donald Trump. Nope. The whole $40 million, multi-season entertainment starring Robert Mueller was a complete fabrication thought up, organized, and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and approved in the Oval Office by B. Obama himself.
We know that now, but it doesn’t matter. Old news. “What difference at this point does it make?” At the moment, we are floundering around in that stygian darkness that Hegel deplored in the Phenomenology when he alluded to Schelling’s philosophy as an undifferentiated “night in which all cows are black.” Hegel was right about Schelling, too, which is not to say that his own contribution to human wisdom added much to the sum total of articulate clarity.
Which brings me back to my opening sentence. I am not really sure that this story is “unfolding” in any common sense of that word. These last weeks have seen a breathless cataract of commentary, with whistleblowers named and unnamed vying with a prevaricating U.S. Attorney who either did or did not have “ultimate authority” in the disposition of the case. Someone, probably, is lying or at least economizing expertly on dispensing the truth, but who?
Many wags compared David Weiss to Bill Clinton who, when asked whether he was still involved with Monica Lewinsky, famously said “it depends on what the meaning of the word is is.” I, if somewhat grudgingly, had to admire Clinton’s sophistry. There is a reason that he is so successful a pol. He is, as Saul Bellow said of a character in Humboldt’s Gift, “smooth as a suppository.”
The point is that, despite the abundance of commentary, this story to date is burdened with too much stasis to have achieved the status of “unfolding.” So far, anyway, and notwithstanding the near daily revelations and deposits of innuendo, the Biden Bribery Wheeze is like the Russia Collusion Delusion in its onion-like structure. Peel back a layer, reveal another prime actor in the saga, and you discover it’s all just another false floor underneath which previously undiscovered chambers and hallways lurk, populated by fresh actors in an ever-expanding roster of dramatis personae.
Indeed, I thought about structuring this column as sort of a play, leading off with a list of the characters. But then I realized that I could not always reliably say who was playing what role and so gave it up. Still, the scene from the beginning of The Pickwick Papers kept recurring to me. Mr. Blotton says he regards Mr. Pickwick as a “humbug.” Mr. Pickwick angrily demands to know whether the Rt. Honorable gentleman called him a humbug in its ordinary or “common sense.” No, no responded Mr. Blotton, he had “merely considered him a humbug in a Pickwickian point of view.” Well, that was all right then, rejoined Mr. Pickwick, and peace and amity reigned once more among the members of the Pickwick Club.
That’s what our masters in Washington hope will happen. The public, confronted by this wall of fog, this maze of he-said, she-said volley of charge and counter charge, will tire of the subject and move on.
Except maybe they won’t. It is, from one point of view, amusing that Hunter Biden should expense his ration of prostitutes, deducting $100,000 of the crispest from his taxes for such “consultants.” But then the glaring spectacle of our two-tier system of justice can so quickly tip over into something more infuriating than amusing.
I don’t know where the truth lies in the Biden Bribery Saga. I can but speculate. The more I speculate, the angrier I become. Why? Some things are known not because they are proved in a court of law but because of the stench they leave behind. The machinations of the Biden Crime Family (to adopt Rudy Giuliani’s apt sobriquet) smell to high heaven. What will the upshot or outcome be? No one knows yet. Had I not been disappointed so often before when presented with cases of patent corruption, I’d say the results would include fresh indictments for Hunter and impeachment for Joe Biden. Yes, I know that conclusion is utopian, but the fact that it is only further fires my sense of outrage. It is some consolation to know that I am not alone.