I rarely watch TV, but I check-in occasionally to understand the nonstop propaganda stream influencing normie America. During my visit, I happened to catch Joe Biden’s speech about the Maui wildfires.
It was shockingly bad. His delivery was lethargic and disinterested. His mumbling and inconsistent dropping of syllables reminded me of a kid struggling with third-grade phonics. He read off his notes, kept his head down, and did not emphasize anything appropriately.
Heroically giving up a day of vacation, he gave the impression of someone who was forced to pretend to care. This dreadful scene highlighted his earlier, insulting offer of $700 to displaced families, a pittance compared to their needs, and a mere fraction of the billions we have sent to Ukraine.
As usual, Biden made these events about him. This is a narcissist’s way of mimicking empathy. “Oh something bad happened to you, well something equally bad—worse actually—happened to me!” He thought a minor house fire, in which he almost lost his beloved Corvette, equaled the pain of people who just lost their homes and kids.
Obviously, I don’t think Biden or any president is responsible for natural disasters. These things happen. Nor do I think, generally, the federal government should be the “go to” agency for handling the response to such events. States and cities are supposed to take up the laboring oar on natural disasters. But you still expect the federal government to juice locals’ efforts, throw some funding around, and maybe say a few words that show solidarity.
Unfortunately, state government in Democrat-dominated Hawaii appears completely incompetent. The guy in charge of water decided to delay its release when it was requested for firefighting, possibly because of his earlier-stated concerns about equity. He resigned from office in ignominy (and probably fear).
There are also unexplained stories of police stopping people from fleeing or sending them back into danger. Some people suggest as many as 1,000 have died. This is not merely a tragedy, but a series of failures that deserve a thorough investigation.
The media frequently praises Biden for his world-famous empathy. He’s the lovable Uncle Joe, who can relate to the common man because of his humble beginnings and early-life tragedies.
This is all made-up propaganda. It is true, he had some difficult situations early in life, including the loss of his wife and daughter in a car accident. But, for years, he has milked these stories for clout, even as he repeatedly lost his cool with regular voters, frequently insulting them when they did not kiss the ring.
Biden’s most notable quality is not his empathy but his low and venal character. He has taken bribes on a grand scale. He has lied about the bribes and the role of his self-destructive son in securing them. He lied about his son’s love-child. He has lied about his eldest son, Beau, who died of cancer, suggesting he actually died in Iraq. He lied about his resume and plagiarized a speech during his 1987 presidential campaign, which lead to him dropping out in disgrace.
The thread running through all of these lies is that they are all designed to make Joe look good. These are not lies to shield an innocent person’s reputation or to protect the honor of some august institution, but petty lies to avoid embarrassment, to conceal his shady finances from scrutiny, and to accrue additional power.
He is not unique in this regard. Politicians can usually be counted on to have significant narcissism and self-regard and a fair bit of dishonesty. Rare is the person who enters politics chiefly motivated by a policy mission and public spiritedness. Because of self-selection, you wind up with a bunch of morally flexible people, more committed to their own advancement than every other consideration. By itself this is no different from Hollywood or sports, but for the fact elected officials get their money either directly from taxpayers or from violating their duties to the public.
On a smaller scale, the entire managerial class is similarly ambitious. These are people who dreamed of being in charge since they were in junior high. They dutifully “played the game” and joined the extracurriculars, Ivy Leagues, and then the top law firms and management consulting companies before landing in the imperial capitol. The archetype is someone like Anthony Fauci or James Comey.
The naked ambition and high self-regard among the elected political class does not bother the adjacent strivers of the managerial class, because both groups seek power and prestige. Moreover, the politicians need the help of the managerial bureaucrats and reward them accordingly. It is a symbiotic relationship. Though the GS-14s and Senior Executive Service folks may not ever be president, they console themselves that they might someday be the “power behind the throne” when they become deputy undersecretary of whatever or the head of a well-financed think tank.
Like Joe, the managerial class is lately both incompetent and devoid of energy. Things that are supposed to work—the power grid, our billion-dollar weapon systems, vaccination campaigns, water supplies, and the economy—do not work as well as they once did. They don’t work because the people selected for these roles are not as conscientious as their predecessors and have fewer life experiences than those who have worked in the private sector. Their chief skill is bureaucratic intrigue and risk aversion, because the system prioritizes everything except competence and results.
Extremely satisfied with the system that has promoted them, those near the top do not see anything wrong with the system’s performance. Their measure of its performance is their own status, not the ostensible mission, in this case, of stopping fires from consuming entire cities.
Joe Biden is more dependent than usual on the managerial class, as they brought him to power through a rigged election. His empathy and concern for the common man is entirely performative, and lately he can barely put together a believable performance. His failure to act like a normal human being in Hawaii is another reminder of his and his apparatchiks’ contempt for ordinary Americans.
Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.