By John Kass
I’m picturing the Oval Office in President Joe Biden’s White House, just before our real presidents–chief of staff Ron Klain or perhaps Susan Rice–put him to bed for his afternoon nap.
They take turns spooning pudding into the old man’s mouth. And as they stick the spoon to his lips, they think of what all political creatures always think about, no matter what party, no matter what flag, no matter what age they find themselves living in:
Their own survival and how best to hold onto power.
Especially now that Biden’s approval ratings keep dropping, gas prices keep rising, inflation eating at American paychecks, as Russia’s murderous dictator Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine and kills its people.
So, what can the Biden White House do? Looks like they’ve already begun this four-step program:
- Blame Putin for everything that’s gone wrong since Day One of the Biden administration, including inflation from wild spending sprees, and high gas prices at the pump.
- Double down on the already-approved Biden White House theme that critics are nothing but traitorous pro-Russian stooges.
- Spin away the reality of Biden as a weak, doddering old man by reminding Americans of all those times he’s threatened to take Putin, former President Donald Trump or Joe’s old nemesis, “Corn Pop” behind the barn for an old fashioned “whuppin’.”
- Entertain a more aggressive interventionist foreign policy in Ukraine and elsewhere.
You can see this taking shape as Democrats rally around the president, hoping to shore him up with the November mid-term elections approaching.
Biden is a shell of the shell that he had been decades ago, now withdrawing deeper into his own fantasies, as Grima Wormtongue whispers into his ear while he swallows his pudding. But the Biden White House isn’t the setting for “Lord of the Rings.” There are no wizards, elven archers or dwarves to save him.
Oh, I suppose a few of the people near him might care about him personally, but my experience tells me that sentimentality is left to the starry-eyed true believers in the twitterverse, and to the punditocracy who zealously guard their status. The most important thing to remember about the bi-partisan American political establishment is their favorite subject: Themselves.
And if maintaining a hold on power means encouraging more demonstrations of strength by entertaining aggressive foreign policy now that Putin is in Ukraine, they’ll do it. You see this growing now too, don’t you? The Republican half of Washington’s bi-partisan combine demands more troops be sent in, and Democrats rattling their cyber-war sabers.
“Putin is playing the West like a fiddle,” Republican War Party leader Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., offered in a tweet, demanding tougher sanctions and Democratic Senators Bob Menendez, N.J, and Chris Coons, Del. joined in.
All this virtue signaling satisfies them. And it is amplified against the heartbreaking screams of Ukrainian children we hear in cell phone videos broadcast on TV, and the courage of the Ukrainian people and their leaders. And good people of the West, in America, everywhere, want to rush forward to help them. But let’s hope they can hear when a wise one tells them: First, think and think some more, clearly.
Russia is a nuclear power. America is a nuclear power. Escalating a response, on the edge of a hot war zone, with nukes on either side, might satisfy the needs of domestic politics, especially if the one doing the escalating is known, even by his supporters, as politically weak. But one mistake, and boom.
And then silence forever.
Remember it was Biden, before becoming president, who cast himself as the only tough guy willing to stand up to Putin.
“Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President,” Joe Biden tweeted. “He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why—it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”
Biden has also talked tough about punching Trump, and he used his hands in that epic (fabulist) battle with his mythical teen age thug/nemesis “Corn Pop,” down by the pool. “Corn Pop” had a razor. “He was a bad dude” Biden said.
Putin is a killer, a former KGB officer, who doesn’t use twitter to cancel his critics. He skips to the next step to handle his critics, which he considers “domestic terrorists.” He uses the military. Sound familiar?
Someday, after his own death, Putin’s list of his victims will drag behind him on a long chain through hell.
In life, he’s also a certified black belt in judo. And Biden talks of going “toe-to-toe?” The only tough thing Biden’s done in his life is to protect his son Hunter, after the lad with no experience, somehow got into the Ukrainian oil and gas business and made a fortune just when Joe “The Big Guy” was former President Obama’s point man in Ukraine.
And undercutting all the rhetoric is the fact that Biden’s latest round of tough Russia sanctions don’t touch Russian cash coming from its energy industry. It is that energy industry, shipping energy to Europe and the U.S., that pays for Putin’s war machine that is now devastating Ukraine. The United States was, at least briefly under former President Trump, energy independent and an exporter of oil.
But Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline to mollify the Democrat Party’s political base of left-wing Green New Deal fanatics, and this has left Europe and America dependent on Russian oil and gas. That dependency fuels Putin’s war. And Ukraine pays for it in blood.
“Our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world,” Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh said in a White House briefing. He said it twice, according to Tristan Justice in a superb piece, writing in “The Federalist.”
Now the U.S. doesn’t export oil. According to several reports, the U.S imports 600,000 barrels of oil each day. From Russia.
There is one problem with talking tough, like a frightened child (or old man) trying to convince others how tough he is. Russia and the United States are nuclear superpowers. A miscalculation would break the world forever. It is the way of all primates that the chest thumpers are those who are most terrified.
Yes, Putin is murderous, by his KGB training years ago, by the killings he’s approved, by the Ukrainian blood now on his hands. And yes, Biden’s weakness helped lead the world to this point. But even before he was president and killed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have pumped 800,000 barrels a day, consider this:
Biden was and is part of the Washington bi-partisan political establishment War Party that for years has poked the Russian bear in Ukraine.
And now that Putin has invaded Ukraine, any American who questions Biden’s policies is apt to be characterized by the left and by their media handmaidens as unpatriotic and anti-American, most likely a Putin-lover, perhaps sub-human, an orange thing to be driven into a corner with long sharpened wooden poles, as they would have cornered a mad dog in the Middle Ages.
But can America afford to live a world of slogans and virtue signaling, with critical thinking pounded out of our heads by war drums? Can we afford stupidity knowing that Russia and the United States have nuclear weapons aimed at each other? Europeans are often mocked by American politics as being too cynical. I’ve played that game too, to my regret.
Europe can’t afford stupid mistakes. Putin’s war is in Europe. And the Europeans don’t want to fight with the Russia that heats their homes in winter. American politicians might think they can afford just enough stupidity to secure a partisan advantage, but once unleashed by elites, party loyalists tend to rage outside the boundaries of logic.
Cooler heads must prevail because miscalculation is unacceptable. And so, I ask you to think with a cool head about Joe Biden, even if his mouthpieces want to shut you up by calling you a Putin-lover, queston your patriotism and brand you as a traitor.
Will a Biden blame-Putin-for-everything strategy work with emotions so high? They’re counting on it.
A weak man is susceptible to the wormtongues, because deep down, beneath the pathetic bluster, he knows that he is a weakling. Oh, he’ll keep talking tough as always, like a frightened man looking into mirror during the morning shave. And in that privacy, in his mind as he applies the shaving gel, he defeats his enemies like a hero.
But then, as he lifts his nose to get to the stubborn stubble, the truth comes to him unbidden. He knows he doesn’t have that prowess he brags about, he’s never had it, not even on his best days of vanquishing “Corn Pop” as a kid.
“You’re a bad dude too,” he whispers to himself, wiping off the shaving gel, checking for any errant nostril hairs.
He flashes his white teeth into the mirror, looks himself in the eyes. Alone, he realizes the truth of his life and wonders if others see it too.
The wormtongues around him keep talking tough, as they denounce any dissent or criticism as traitorous appeasement. By design that leads to a silencing of critics, leaving only the fake tough guys out there to lobby for ever-more aggressive policies on the edge of a hot war zone, with both sides holding nuclear weapons.
And then anything can happen.
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