by Conrad Black
“This is really deadly earnest, man.” The speaker was President Joe Biden in his peroration in a midterm campaign speech in Florida last week. Between his addiction to campaign hyperbole, which in inaccuracy vastly exceeds the notorious flights of fantasy of his predecessor as president, and the hobgoblins of his memory, the incumbent president speaks the truth only intermittently, but this was such an occasion.
It is indeed “deadly earnest”: the country cannot go on indefinitely admitting 2 million indigent and unskilled foreigners to the country, bringing with them tens of thousands of tons of lethal fentanyl each year, while the purposeful negligence of the government of the United States enriches the Mexican slave and drug trafficking gangs by many billions of dollars a year, as they have effectively taken over the northern states of Mexico. Nor can the United States continue to add trillions of dollars to the money supply and the national debt each year, carpet bombing its less prosperous supporters with payola while taxing everyone in the country with near-double-digit inflation.
“Deadly earnest” could also describe the need to reduce the skyrocketing incidence of violent crime in urban America. At another election rally, the president, as is his habit, robotically repeated at varying noise levels the imperative to ”ban assault rifles.” I doubt if there’s much objection to that as long as there’s a serious definition of what constitutes a so-called “assault weapon,” but it has been tried before and it had no impact on the rate of violent crime. There’s no substitute for a massive increase in the numbers of police in urban America, and in the quality of their training and their equipment. The country saw in the assault upon the husband of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco last week what prompt police work can do. Every home in urban America should be confident of the same swiftness and effectiveness of response as Mr. Pelosi fortunately received.
“Deadly earnest” could also be fairly applied to a few other policy areas that Biden tends to avoid, in particular as he continues to cower in fear of green terrorists who have reduced America’s oil production, re-submerged it in the strategic vulnerability of importing oil even as it conducts a war on its own oil industry, and sent the president on hare-brained pilgrimages of mendicancy to previously designated undesirable personalities such as the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, asking for increased production, and receiving instead, as a token of Saudi esteem, further decreases in production.
“Deadly earnest” may also soon describe the state of American relations with Iran, on the heels of the unimaginable fiasco in neighboring Afghanistan. The United States is apparently still trying to revive President Barack Obama’s insane nuclear weapons agreement with that country, under which it will have the world’s blessing to deploy nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in another two years. It was an agreement that should have never been made, that President Donald Trump was right to renounce, and that the Biden administration should not be attempting to revive—and particularly not with the Russian government as its intermediary in dealing with the ayatollahs. Because the United States doesn’t have direct diplomatic relations with Iran, Russia was invited to become the intermediary, and hasn’t been replaced in that role, even though in other contexts Biden has described Russian President Vladimir Putin, with some justice but little diplomatic suavity, as “a war criminal,” and is calling for his total defeat in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
Because the national political media are still so traumatized by the Trump era, increasingly including the prospect that that era may be, by popular demand, returning in two years, they have not taxed the administration at all with the ludicrous amateurism and inconsistency of this approach to relations with Iran or Russia.
The administration’s opening policy in Ukraine was to take seriously the customarily piercing insight of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, that the Russians would win the war within two weeks, and to gallantly offer the Ukrainian president and his family safe passage out of their country. It has slowly ramped up the quantity and sophistication of supplies to Ukraine over the nine months of the war and claims some credit for doing so without provoking a massive escalation of the war. There may be some merit to that claim, but the larger truth is that it calls for the defeat of Russia without providing Ukraine with the weapons to accomplish that end.
The administration appears to be aiming at a negotiated settlement, but that isn’t what it says publicly, and it appears to be prepared to fight the Ukrainian war to the last dead Ukrainian. There’s no visible semblance of an exit strategy or the occupation of the role that only the United States could play of helping to arrange a permanent resolution of Russian-Ukrainian differences. Given the heavy casualties of the war, this, too, is another matter of deadly earnest incompetently managed.
The one esteemed tactical move that the administration has made was that when the president’s personal approval ratings descended to negative 20 percent, the Democratic political managers likely prevailed upon the attorney general to stage a spurious raid on the former president’s home in Florida, and the resulting controversy reminded the public of the atmosphere of chaos that is created when the Democrats and their Siamese twins in the national political media torment and assault Trump and he responds. This has reduced the Biden unpopularity gap to about 12 percent, but the record in office of this administration cannot be defended by any serious argument.
In the great struggle that Trump launched in 2015 to assault the bipartisan Washington political establishment, the OBushintons, Trump is now winning. Biden is exhausted and generally disparaged. The Clintons are finished. Bill is tired, and we have heard his amiable jokes for 30 years. Hillary is still “wallowing around in her neon pantsuits” (Ann Coulter’s description), now reduced to direct comparisons between Trump and Hitler, and while she will escape indictment, John Durham’s report is likely to be a convincing condemnation of the egregious illegalities of her 2016 presidential campaign. The bloom is even off the Obama rose. His assertions that democracy may perish in America if Biden’s Democrats don’t retain control of Congress is the feeblest midterm election argument I have heard from a former president, and my memory goes back to Truman’s and Eisenhower’s interventions as ex-presidents.
The Democratic whip in the House of Representatives, 15-term Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, also compares contemporary America to Germany in 1933. These comparisons with Nazism are the ultimate and most contemptible possible confessions of Democratic failure, and they obscenely dishonor the victims of Nazism and the heroism of those who fought and defeated Nazism. Biden keeps whingeing that “it’s not a referendum, it’s a choice.” In this he’s fortunate: it is, of course, a referendum, and he will lose as he deserves; if it were a policy choice, he would lose every district in the United States.
First published in the Epoch Times.