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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Joe Biden’s Silence–It Would Be A Problem If He Had Something To Say

As much as many people hate to admit it, they miss Donald Trump.  Every appearance was a show, a vaudevillian act, a circus performance.  It was never about what he had to say, but how.  He was as marvelously insulting as Rodney Dangerfield, as brutally politically incorrect as the young Eddie Murphy or Jackie Mason, as quick with the one-liners and off-handed sobriquets as Jack Benny or H.L. Hughley.  We waited for his next ‘Pocahontas’, ‘Sleepy Joe’ or ‘Crooked Hillary’, his savaging of the inverted transgender culture, his imitations, his bombast, and his braggadocio. 

Those who loved Trump the performer never listened for policy hints, legislative suggestions, or thinly veiled threats to world leaders.  They waited for and got broadsides – China, the world’s predator and purveyor of the Corona virus; Russia the land of unreconstructed autocrats and political murderers; Iran, a nation of crazy ayatollahs and bagged women.

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Trump used his public appearances, and in particular his press conferences as Borscht Belt comedy, and no one but the liberal press took umbrage.  What President has ever explained, detailed, or analyzed any Administration policy?  Pressers are set up for vagueness, feel-good stories, and self-justification.  A President never has to answer any question before turning to the next; and reporters who want to get their faces on the evening news are not about to join forces with competitors and pursue the President until he responds. 

Jack Kennedy understood this well, and like Trump turned press conferences into personal shows.  Kennedy had wit, charm, and humor and used all three to deflect questions which challenged his judgement.  The press corps was being manipulated and they didn’t even know it.  They had bought into the Camelot myth lock, stock, and barrel.  They loved hearing their hero – the Errol Flynn of the White House, lover of women, fine wine, poetry, and tapestries – and made no attempt to push back or argue.  As a result Kennedy said as little as any president but was still loved like a leading man.

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Liberals loved Bill Clinton because of his ‘thoughtfulness’.  He paused before answering a question, and answered it in carefully formulated, precise, and logical terms.  There was nothing off-the-cuff about him, none of Trump’s theatricality or Kennedy’s grace; and he was respected for it.  What his supporters wanted was a policy wonk, a man who considered the many sides of an issue and then made reasonable decisions.  They loved him for his Renaissance Weekends when he gathered the best and the brightest from all sectors of the American intelligentsia and schmoozed with them in late-night sessions.  He had been a man of the people – Arkansas cracker made good – and never forgot his roots; but his public persona had nothing of the backwoods or trailer trash.

Enter Joe Biden, a man who campaigned from his basement bunker, appears in public only muffled and wearing two masks, has not had a press conference for 50 days, the full length of his time in office, ducks into side alleys and back corridors to avoid reporters’ questions, and is for all intents and purposes silent.

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Given the fact that public appearances, and press conferences have never been occasions of any complexity or honesty and are more proforma showpieces to suggest that democracy is really working, that there is freedom of the press;  that the American President is not a Vladimir Putin who acts with impunity, answers to no one, and does what he pleases; and given that the democratic principles of free speech and assembly, accountability, and transparency are still the beacons of liberty they have always been; one cannot fault Biden for ignoring them completely.

Unless he really can’t make a go of it – an older man easily befuddled, mixed up and dubious before he ever gets to the podium, confused by the teleprompter and voices in his ear.  Then, there is a problem. He is the problem, not the media sycophants in the liberal media press corps or the vanity poseurs who want to show off. 

Yet, the very nature of the press corps should work to Biden’s advantage.  Most of them come from establishment organs – the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN – and are expected ask generous questions with foregone conclusions. What better place to make an appearance.  It isn’t exactly the snake pit of the Trump era.   

If the President is feeling a bit wooly at the podium, not sure about things and wandering, a question from a young woman reporter would be just the thing to give him confidence in his ability to field questions.  The President can pick and choose only friendly reporters; and knowing well what they are going to ask, he can be prepared.  Not prepared in the Clinton sense.  A simple question about how Clinton felt about the economy was sure to provoke a ten minute, detailed analysis of the financial, economic, and fiscal factors which contributed to its rise or fall.  No, Biden would only have to answer in simple, easily parsed sentences with wiggle room for wobbliness or repetition.

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Yet Biden has not yet been willing to face any questioners.  Lord knows, there are plenty of things gone wrong in his first few weeks in office – thousands of illegal immigrants, encouraged by his open-arms, open-door policy, are massing at the border.  Many of them are minors, pushed to the front of the line because of the avowed compassion of the new Administration and a guarantee of admittance.  Thanks to Biden’s call for amnesty and a reversal of all policies that limit the legal immigration of family members, these minors when adults will be fast tracked for legality and soon be able to be rejoined with their families.

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Biden’s executive orders signed to post haste begin to dismantle Trump era conservative policies have received far less than the universal approval expected.  Wall Street and corporate America which thought that saner heads would prevail on economic issues, are now concerned that Biden will indeed make good on his promise to enact punitive taxes, restrictive legislation, and untenable labor initiatives.  

Both religious conservatives and moderates have been taken aback by his aggressive promotion of transgenderism, the gender spectrum, and gayness.  Parents across party lines are shocked at his intention to put traditional cognitive education aside in favor of indoctrination about the pernicious influences of white supremacy, systemic racism, and predatory capitalism.  Foreign policy watchers have been perplexed at his bomb-a-little-of-this, a-little-of-that international forays while still dithering about Iran and its terrorist clients.

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Biden’s complete silence on the precipitous fall of one of his champions, Governor Cuomo of New York, is deafening.  Not only has the Governor been accused of manipulating nursing home data on COVID infections and death and acting in complicity with New York hospitals who wanted to free up beds and happy to ship old people back to nursing homes; but charged with sexual misconduct by now six credible women.  

Everything about this star of liberalism has gone sour.  His political shenanigans are bad enough but are overlooked  by progressives who have long supported him; but the women issue is another thing altogether.  Progressives have been quick on the trigger when it comes to conservative sexual diddling; so they look rather sheepish and undone now that a progressive is being hammered and they remain quiet.

The public will have to glean from other sources tidbits about Biden’s thinking on these issues and his reaction to the furor his summary actions have caused. Leaks, as always, will be a good source. Best of all Donald Trump has not gone away and can be counted on to continue his barrage. 

Poor Joe Biden.  He had wanted the Presidency for so long that by now he has forgotten why.  No one in his entourage – especially Kamala Harris – is at all concerned about his deer-in-the-headlights vacancy.  They will happily and willingly take up the slack and pursue far more radical liberal policies than Biden ever envisioned.

So, no one really cares about Joe Biden’s silence, let alone his handlers.

Trump supporters especially don’t care, assume that progressive claques in the White House and Congress will with their outrageous policies grease the rails for Trump’s re-election in 2024, and will put up with a little boredom for four years.  Don’t worry, they say, The Donald will be back.

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