The Useful Veneer of the Aging Democrat

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Joe Biden is now 80 years-old. He will be 82 when he campaigns for the 2024 presidency—and a clearly debilitated 86 should he be elected and fill out his second term. He has been in government for over a half-century.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and current representative from California is 83.

Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-ranking Democratic House member behind Pelosi, was House majority leader until early this year. He is 83, and has been an elected official for nearly 60 years.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is 72, with 48 years in elected government.

Democratic luminary and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) is 89, and ailing—after 53 years as an elected official.

James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is House minority whip and 82.

These are the official faces of the Democratic Party.

They came into power and maturity three decades ago during the Clinton years of 1993-1999.

Decades ago, they sometimes supported strong national defense, secure borders, gas and oil development, fully funding tqhe police, and a few restrictions on partial-birth abortions.

Not now.

Their role has changed from that of liberals of the Clinton era to serving as the thin power-holding veneer that masks the new real Democratic Party.

The party has been changed beyond recognition by Senators Bernie Sanders  (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the so-called Squad, the Congressional Black Caucus, newly elected senators like the Georgia duo of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock—and Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

Yet Biden and company are still familiar American faces.

Their final role is to acculturate the electorate to the new Democratic Party.

Its radicals are breathing down their necks to get out of the way. Yet for a while longer they still need such an ossified veneer of respectability to ease the transition to what is now essentially a socialist-European green party.

This new Democratic Party believes in defunding the police.

It supports the George-Soros-funded state and city district attorneys.

These prosecutors seek either to release violent criminals without bail or reduce their felonies to misdemeanors.

Critical legal and race theories are their creeds. So they argue that crimes have little to do with individual free will.

Criminals are not deterred by tough enforcement of the laws. Instead, “crime” reflects arbitrary constructs of a racially oppressive hierarchy.

They believe the woke revolution of using race and gender in lieu of a meritocracy should dominate government and corporate boardrooms.

Racial separation in graduations, dorms, and university programs are needed reparations.

Big Tech is their ally. All the better when it partners with government, especially the FBI and CIA, to suppress “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

They believe gender is socially constructed. Thus transitioning biological males can and should compete in women’s sports.

They want a Green New Deal right now, one that calls for the abolition of natural gas and oil for electricity generation and transportation.

Abortion is seen as a God-given right—even as a baby passes through the birth canal.

Climate change is their religion, trumping any concern for the viability of the middle-class suffering from inflation, high interest rates, and recession.

They want semiautomatic rifles to be banned. Concealed handgun permits should be almost impossible to obtain.

The more voters skip Election Day through mail-in balloting and early voting, the better.

There is no longer “dark money,” only useful “correct” money.

The more that Silicon Valley and Wall Street grandees quietly reroute hundreds of millions of dollars into hard-Left PACs and “nonpartisan” causes, the more the donors should expect lucrative crony-capitalist green deals and government concessions.

Much of the ideology of the new Democratic Party arose in academia, like critical race theory and modern monetary theory. The giveaway word is “theory”—a mask for any absurd doctrine that can be dressed up as a sophisticated new idea.

When Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the new Democratic minority leader in the House or Elizabeth Warren in the Senate advocates these positions, the voters recoil. That pushback is understandable, since almost none of these notions polls above 50 percent.

The role of a calcified Biden, Pelosi, Feinstein, Hoyer, or Clyburn is to reassure voters through their notoriety and apparently staid exteriors that they are hardly the sort to embrace revolution, although that is exactly what they do.

“Ol’ Joe” Biden’s old guard and the new hard Left play a game of mutual advantage.

The new majority of radical Democrats allows the old fogies to bask in the limelight until they drop—exempt from counter-revolutionary criticism or interparty primary challenges or demands to retire.

In return, the codgers reassure the nation that old faces like theirs cannot possibly be polyester revolutionary socialists—despite their role in airbrushing and photoshopping the radical catastrophe unfolding before our eyes.

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26 thoughts on “The Useful Veneer of the Aging Democrat”

  1. steven chernus

    Thank you, Victor, for this accurate description, a sad picture of the central role of postures and appearances to the detriment of the underlying reality. And it is the rapidly unfolding catastrophe you make explicit in closing.

    Born in 1944, I am about a half-generation older than you. I think a great deal about meaning of social organization. I try to understand the origins and evolution of societies and firmly believe in the ultimate tragic nature of humanity, subject to some degree of moderation by how we choose to organize ourselves. Today, of course, to believe that such a thing as human nature exists beyond being a “social construct” is a mortal sin in the holy church of “our transgender lady of progress”.

    Growing up in those optimistic times, it seemed only good was possible. I thought but couldn’t then articulate, that humanity had turned a corner and that some horrors of history were no longer possible. My thinking today – a parallax view of much you write – that all horrors are not only still possible; they become increasingly likely. The “by any means necessary” practitioners differ only in terminology from erstwhile “God is on our side”. In other words, I feel overwhelmingly betrayed. The self-critical, ever-improving promise that once genuinely infused the US population is long gone. We now wait only to see which of the well-known historical horrors befalls us first. If you look at the loss of free speech – the first is already well along.

    1. I’m same vintage & share exactly you’re well articulated thoughts about the direction of our current society

  2. Psychotic when you look at it; in that we now have the lovers of Stalin, Mao, Castro in power who are now pretty much your Malto-meal dribbling senile grandparent. Yet, the “B-Team”, on the sidelines are just itching to get in the game. Balial, Shiva, Perses, the spawn of Satan himself; all desiring to show their octogenarian mentors how much more destructive they can be to our Nation.

    Thank you, Dr. Hanson for keeping the history of man in the light. “Homo homini lupus est” since the dawn of human interaction.

  3. Well stated. There are few in history that have awakened from their maniacal craving for money and power prior to departure from the planet.
    Unfortunately none listed above will be on that list.
    They all are in denial of the severe consequences of their actions for us all. Their aim is only to bask in that money and power for as long as possible.
    The reaper and judgement comes for us all.

    1. Yes, yes.

      And some few suggest and point to some, specific evidence that perhaps an earlier form of the human species existed and advanced to their self-destruction. E.g., evidence of finely engineered construction 2000 feet beneath the ocean surface off Cuba some 50,000 years old, a distant outlier in historical time to the accepted current view of human history. If true, IF true, it appears that we again are failing on the second go-around as a species.

  4. This current administration makes the case for both term limitations and age limits for public officials. But more than that, we should also seek to stop letting unelected administrators make government employment ‘life time’ career employment. Low salaries use to due that but then came ever increasing rate of pay that attracted and kept the mediocre in positions of administrative power.

  5. Thomas O'Brien

    Two years into Jimmy Carter’s presidential term I knew in my gut that my vote for him in 1976 was a mistake. It was not reading the pundits that changed my opinion. Rather, it was my observance of the mismatch of his words and his actions.

    What we have today is much of the same mismatch, only it is like it is being presented to all of us with a bull horn turned up to full volume. My gut tells me there should be a mass defection of Democratic Party support, but I am simply not seeing it.

    I don’t understand why.

  6. Dieter Schultz

    Victor FWIW, I read this piece over at AG and I just couldn’t bring myself to go very far into the comments section there. I’m OK with vigorous, intelligent, discourse but the AG comments section isn’t that.

    Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be enough people willing to support you and hanging out to have that vigorous debate I’d like to see.

    That said, great article.

  7. David Michael Waun

    Exactly right. None of them will live long enough to experience the disaster they’ve unleashed on the citizenry nor face the backlash that will follow. There’ll be so many old farts thrown under the bus that the bus will be forced to back out of the terminal lest it drag the bodies with them. Biden is a disaster for the republic.

  8. All true but how do we get our Marxists friends and colleagues to ‘get it’?? That’s the challenge. We all know who they are but progressives seem to think death, poverty and detraction are a good thing. How do you fight that??

  9. One would think that common sense would prevail amongst the rational thinking citizens of our country. Initially, there was some blow back when these progressive ideas were floated during the Obama presidency. I get the sense that people are getting worn down by the numerous destructive events since 2019. There will be desperation once the economy tanks, many lose their jobs and can’t pay the bills. The marxists will be the proclaimed saviors and will promise to make things right again. Unfortunately, many will sell their souls out of necessity to this new liberal order.

  10. Anthony Vanatta

    It’s a similar story for Janet Yellen with the banks and General Milley with the MIC. They all grew up in freer, more prosperous times. They all remember what life used to be like here. Yet now they are willing to flush the country down the tubes for the sake of their calcified egos.

  11. Our old and befuddled politicians care little for what they are leaving behind. They assume (rightly so) that their demise is near and death is outside the door, ready to claim their dark souls. They are fundamentally cynics with little care for what happens when they are gone. Just as Angela Merkel cared little for the destruction she caused Germany and the EU, with her immigration policies, since Merkel never had any children and as a result, cares little for the future she will not see.

    These people are narcissistic, cynical egoists.

  12. Brilliantly laid forth. Politicians will never pass term limits. The tax payers are a blank check. These lifer politicians never have to live fully in the world they create. Do you think Joe or Nancy or Chuck or any of the rest of them have any idea how much a gallon of gas costs? How long since they’ve pushed a cart through a grocery store? And yet, and yet, and yet, people send them back year after year. The voters have all the power and by and large never exercise that power to vote in decent people and permanently kick out the bums.

  13. Chief Acid Rain

    Sadly, it looks like the FUSA is going to take a trip through Marxist tyranny. At this point, it appears inevitable.

  14. Call It Like It Is

    Biden has done a good job of cleaning up after Trump’s disasters. Trump is 77, Biden is 80 but only one of them is mentally competent and the other is both unstable and indicted. Also Mitch McConnell is 81…time for term limits for Republicans as well as democrats. And after the 4 disasterous years with Trump and his insurrection, a vigorous mental test for anyone considering to be president is mandatory.

  15. Another fine column. Yet another distraction. None of this would be possible without the Dem’s ability to find enough votes to win. In a district, for State office or the Electoral College. It’s either about election integrity or it’s a distraction. This column, thoughtful, articulate and fundamentally correct is not the former. In my view that makes it part of the latter.

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