Victor Davis Hanson
Imagine if Gavin Newsom was currently Vice President amid the final meltdown of the Biden family consortium.
Does anyone doubt that Biden would then either be forced to resign by Democratic politicos (for reasons in addition to his escalating dementia), or would be impeached and perhaps abdicate Nixon-style?
The presence of the now predictable mediocrity of Kamala Harris and the impossibility, given her race and gender, of removing her, for now is about all that keeps a cognitively declining Biden still in office. The Left fears what she could do as president to the Democratic Party; conservatives are terrified of what she could do to the country.
Joe Biden’s bewilderment exempts his embarrassments from accountability in the way that Hunter Biden’s addictions excuse his past serial criminality. But the passes granted to both father and son would be now unsustainable with a viable Vice President in waiting.
Indeed, the Harris problem explains some of current Democratic strategy.
Backroom leaks and growing insider rumors of Biden dementia confirm the portrait of an often befuddled president whom the public by now knows all too well.
The aimless House Democrats’ “how-dare-you-even-consider-an-impeachment inquiry” furor, coupled with their half-hearted efforts, along with the media, to refute the actual charges of corruption of the Biden family, suggest that he will not run for reelection—but also not be impeached much less convicted or removed under the 25th Amendment.
So the Harris dilemma explains a lot: finding a way to keep her out of current power until Biden somehow finishes his first term, and thus letting the Democratic 2024 primary candidates organically abort her presidential aspirations.
There are a few problems, however, with this strategy.
One, can Joe Biden finish his first term?
That would require his staff to shorten his already truncated workday for the next 18 months to about 2-3 hours of work per day.
He would have to be kept away from photo-ops with young (especially female) children, lest he turkey-gobbles the cheek of another victim to a worldwide audience.
He can no longer read off a teleprompter without slurring his words, losing his place, or going off extemporaneously on to topics such as “Vladimir” Zelenskyy, the “Iraq” war in Ukraine, or relief over the curing of cancer.
He cannot hold half-hour press conferences given his incoherence and his angry prevarications. He still insists incredulously that he never discussed the Biden family business with Hunter, although we may soon see transcripts, recordings, and affidavits that he was in fact intimately involved in and profited from it.
The Strange Case of Hunter in the White House
Hunter is toxic and capable of leaving behind incriminating evidence or engaging in surreal behavior anywhere and anytime. Why would a former crack cocaine addict be brought into the White House, after which a bag of cocaine was for the first time in presidential history found abandoned in the West Wing?
(Partial answer: why and how would an addict leave an incriminating crackpipe in a rental car, simply abandon a laptop at a repair shop with evidence of his own felonious behavior on it, or allow his illegally registered handgun to turn up in a dumpster near a school)?
An outside, disinterested observer who read the contents of the laptop and Hunter’s wounded-fawn protestations about his unappreciated role in enriching his father and uncle, or digested his unhinged recent career as a quid-pro-quo, paint-by-the-numbers artiste, selling high-priced junk in exchange for presidential flavors, would conclude that the Bidens are apprehensive of the unpredictable Hunter. Keep your friends close, but your explosive son even closer.
Of course, they fear Hunter’s recklessness, addictions, and greed—but more perhaps his ability to take down the entire Biden clan should they distance themselves too far from him or leak that the family’s corrupt schemes were birthed by the fall-guy Hunter alone.
Aside from Joe’s cognitive decline and Hunter’s volatility, no one believes anymore Joe Biden’s patent lies that he never discussed with Hunter his lucrative grifting career. Already, the untruth has transmogrified into he never did business with Hunter—and soon perhaps he never profited from the business he did and discussed with Hunter.
No matter, by year’s end there will be witnesses and hard data showing that Joe himself discussed pay-for-play schemes with foreign entities, of the sort he long ago boasted with previous impunity before a Council of Foreign Relations event.
This is no Whitewater, Trooper-gate, or Stormy Daniels scandal, but bribery of the sort explicitly outlined by the Constitution for removal from office: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Selling influence to foreign-government related enterprises is, of course, not just bribery but perhaps treason as well. And it involves other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” among them tax fraud on unreported foreign income.
Moreover, it is arguable that the Biden shake-down consortium has altered the very nature of U.S. foreign policy. We will never know the full effect of the false Russian disinformation/laptop narrative, following the fake Russian collusion hoax, on Kremlin thinking. Nor can we explain why Joe Biden once urged Putin to lay off hacking humanitarian U.S. targets, or suggested that a minor invasion of Ukraine would not elicit a U.S. response, or offered to airlift Zelenskyy out of Kyiv in the first days of the war.
Nor can we explain why China was never held accountable by Biden after new information entailed the role of the Wuhan lab in birthing the Covid virus, or for sending a spy balloon across the continental U.S. with impunity. Meanwhile, the administration’s crazy talk of partnering with a supposedly non-bellicose China seems unhinged.
Finally, given the first Trump impeachment, what is the Left now going to say to House Republicans—“You cannot in this country impeach a president merely for threatening to cancel foreign aid unless Ukraine fired a prosecutor looking into his high-ranking family’s illegal influence selling?”
Equality Under the Law?
The Democrats in their Trump derangement fits so lowered the bar for impeachment and special prosecutions, that not impeaching or removing Biden under the Left’s own new standards seems almost ridiculous.
If Trump earned hysteria about 25th-amendment removal (to the point of taking and acing the Montreal Cognitive Assessment) for a halting gait on an occasion descending a ramp, how could a non-compos-mentis and chronically falling Biden not be so examined?
Moreover, Trump was impeached for 1) asking a foreign leader to examine the corruption of the Biden family with Ukraine while he put a hold on approved foreign aid to Ukraine; 2) and at the time, it was possible that Joe Biden could have been Trump’s likely future 2020 opponent.
But in contrast note that Biden 1) issued an ultimatum that a Ukraine prosecutor would either be summarily fired, or aid would be ended. And he was fired!; and 2) Biden was only a possible general-election presidential rival when Trump called Zelensky; Trump is currently the front-runner against a putative Biden candidacy in 2024.
Biden has also done far more than ask Ukraine to ensure a political opponent was not guilty of corruption, but rather sicced a special DOJ prosecutor on Trump for taking out classified papers in the manner that Joe Biden himself did years earlier, without the prerogative as a senator or vice president of declassifying such papers.
The open disregard for Kamala Harris is not just a Republican phenomenon. Her dismal popularity reflects that such disappointment in her is bipartisan. And now the likely machinations mentioned to keep her out of the presidency are undoing all the racial and gender pandering that explain her otherwise inexplicable appointment in the first place. At some point the Democratic identity-politics base is going to pressure the party’s hierarchy to back off and back Harris or face charges of racism.
In an odd way, the Left’s tolerance of Biden’s own cognitive impairment also strengthens Harris’s case, especially among her diversity base. Kamala utters incomprehensible sentences; Joe cannot finish them. Kamala’s public declamations are kindergarten stuff; Joe’s are more nursery school level. In theory, Kamala can be coached and improve; Joe’s declines are at a geometric rate that is irreversible.
So if someone so cognitively challenged is currently President with the full assent of the Democratic Party, for what reasons does it turn its animus on a Vice President who is still relatively young and hale?
How odd that the Left knows that both the current President and Vice President should not be in either job after 2024; and yet its own prior pandering and rank politicking have made both almost impossible to remove. And how odder that the extra-legal measures the Left took to emasculate the Trump presidency are now the low standards by which an utterly corrupt Biden can be investigated, indicted, impeached, or forced to resign.