Joe Biden’s Biggest Problem? — Not ‘Cruel’ Enough

September 7, 2023

Sunny and warmish this late-afternoon Thursday here in California’s Central Valley — another day of nice.

Despite being the best, and one of the most accomplished presidents in recent memory, Joe Biden can’t catch a break — via CNN this afternoon: ‘The devastating verdict voters deliver on President Joe Biden in a new CNN poll is especially stark ahead of the most unprecedented election in modern times. Fourteen months before his fate is decided, Biden’s unpopularity may be brewing the only possible conditions in which a disgraced and anti-democratic ex-president, who might be a convicted felon by Election Day, would be able to squeeze back into power.

Joe has always been underestimated, there are concerns about his age, his electability, whatnot, and in the poll mentioned above, he and the asshole T-Rump are ‘locked in a statistical tie‘ — 47 percent to 46 percent among registered voters — a phenomenon that’s ludicrous on its face.
Yet Joe Biden is actually the man:

One major problem Joe has vs the T-Rump is Joe isn’t a loud, shit-picking, cruel asshole.
And in hence lies the rub:

Regardless of all the policy shit done these past couple of years, amid scenes of bike riding and glad-handing the public, Joe Biden appears a victim in a time-shocked period of loud fart noises being able to offset the reality of what’s really going on with the entire, and complete Republican party. Beyond just politics, T-Rump is a master at loud fart noises.

Longtime political writer Jill Lawrence at The Bulwark this afternoon — T-Rump is a master of cruelty theater:

Age is the 2024 issue that won’t go away, and there’s no denying there’s reason for concern. Yet Biden’s real problem is not his age. It’s our age … of performative politics.

As usual, Donald Trump is at the root of the mess. From the minute he entered the 2016 presidential race on a golden escalator in a building blaring his name, U.S. politics has been a twisted reality show that elevates outrage, insults, and cruelty in a spirit of sadistic fun. That’s entertainment, at least for Trump’s many millions of devoted fans.


Trump is besting DeSantis and the rest of the field in large part because he’s a veteran entertainer who can read a room—or in this case a country. The first and only time I watched a Trump rally from start to finish was in February 2016, and it was a terrifying glimpse of what was to come. The part about supporters so loyal he could get away with murder wasn’t even the scariest thing he said that day in Sparks, Nevada. “The most dangerous element of Trump has nothing to do with any of that, or his slanders and incitements and hostile policy prescriptions. It’s the flashes of charm and humor that make him seem almost plausible,” I wrote.

The only word I regret now is “almost.”

BIDEN IS THE ANTI-TRUMP, literally and metaphorically. After decades in the trenches of the Senate and vice presidency, he’s a steadfast upholder of norms—from supporting Ukraine and NATO to aiming for bipartisanship when possible. He’s never been a flashy entertainer and he doesn’t trade on grievance. His peak flash was ‘cool guy with aviator sunglasses and a Corvette,’ and that Biden persona appears to be making a comeback. He’s held few formal press conferences or sitdown interviews as president, and he can seem absent or rote at formulaic events. But he’s got a sense of humor and he more than holds his own in impromptu exchanges, whether they’re with children, journalists, Republican legislators at a State of the Union speech, or fans at a Labor Day rally.

One classic off-the-cuff moment was when a reporter asked Biden what he thought of Trump’s Fulton County, Georgia, mug shot. “Handsome guy. Wonderful guy,” he said, smiling. And there’s Biden with an exuberant middle schooler on the first day of school in Washington, D.C. “Oh my god y’all, I’m shaking hands with the president! I’m going to be famous!” she exclaimed. “You’re gonna be president,” Biden told her. “I’m gonna be president?” “Sure you can be president,” the leader of the free world responded


I’m not sure a 55- or 60-year-old Biden would do any better than 80-year-old Biden on the showmanship that has taken Trump so far. He’s a journeyman politician, steeped in process and policy. He probably would agree with something Bill Richardson, who died Friday, told Atlantic writer Mark Leibovich years ago: “I don’t mind being called a ‘professional politician.’ It’s better than being an amateur, right?”

While today’s media dissections and exposure aren’t particularly helpful to Biden, Trump is a rank amateur at ethical and legal accountability. The media microscope on his profound transgressions, as they are litigated and laid bare in criminal proceedings, could lead to true justice: A decisive defeat for Trump in 2024, proving conclusively that his brand of bullying, dishonest, destructive entertainment is no longer a winning commodity in American politics.

In the time of our time, the 2024 election is going to be the shit fire important dateline for our country — one way or another.

An Enigma with a Twist of Sadeness — not a mystery, though:

Locked,’ or not, yet here we are once again…

(Illustration out front found here.)

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