Entry from September 19, 2020

As her exiled majesty, Hillary Clinton, has graciously informed us that we are not to be permitted to re-elect Donald Trump this year, it follows that Joe Biden, Democrat, must be our next president. In name at least. But now that we know our Democrat-determined destiny, some people are beginning to realize the saliency of the question of who is actually going to exercise the powers of the presidency when Mr Biden takes office? His vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris obviously believes it will be she and has already spoken of “a Harris administration — together with Joe Biden.” That the former vice-president himself appeared to agree with her when he talked of a “Harris-Biden administration” may be telling but is not definitive. Neither one of them may have been told yet who’s actually going to be in charge, but both appear to know what the rest of us now should understand, which is that we may vote for Joe Biden, but Joe Biden, even in a mentally diminished state, is not who we’re going to be getting.

The media’s incuriosity about the identity of the real president, even if you suppose (as I don’t) that it won’t be the media themselves, is perhaps not surprising. Maintaining the increasingly transparent fiction that a vote for Sleepy Joe is a vote for Sleepy Joe must be as high a priority for his media allies as it is for Joe himself right now. Or would be if he understood that some people are beginning to see him for what he is, rather than what he imagines himself to be. If enough people started paying attention to what I can only assume has been Joe’s deliberately boring campaign so far, they might begin to realize that they are being asked to buy a pig in a poke.

One person who has already realized it is Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, where my wife is a senior scholar. Writing in The Washington Post she says that “I never considered voting for Trump in 2016. I may be forced to vote for him this year.” In the article she begins by stating her own NeverTrump credentials and her still-strong dislike of the man and the President. But, she says, there may be even stronger reasons for preferring him to Mr Biden. She makes reference to the illiberalism of the latter’s Democratic party that I, too, have written of in a forthcoming article for The New Criterion, but at the head of the list of the reasons why she is doubtful about voting for Joe is this: “I fear that former vice president Joe Biden would be a figurehead president, incapable of focus or leadership, who would run a teleprompter presidency with the words drafted by his party’s hard-left ideologues.”

Not surprisingly, her column has raised the ire of the Left who are shocked to see even as reluctantly-spoken a good word for Mr Trump as this is appearing in the otherwise rabidly anti-Trump Post. “Why Does The Washington Post Publish This Never-Trump Drivel?” fumed Alex Shephard for The New Republic, who dismissed “the idea that Biden is a Manchurian president” (not yet, Alex!) on the grounds that it could only be a pretext for Ms Pletka’s apostasy from NeverTrumpery, which she must have been wishing to commit all along.

He is similarly dismissive of all her reservations about the illiberalism of the Biden-led Democratic Party and her “lazy attacks on cancel culture and critical race theory,” not because they are not true but because — Trump! Like Joe himself, Mr Shephard appears to imagine that the a priori dreadfulness of the incumbent is the only argument he needs — or has — in support of the alternative, or his claim that Ms Pletka is writing “drivel” of the sort that could only proceed from pro-Trump “hacks” like Hugh Hewett and Marc Thiessen, whom the suspiciously heterodox Post also publishes from time to time.

It’s just one more indication, like Hillary’s ruling out the possibility of Mr Trump’s being legitimately re-elected, that so far as today’s Democratic party is concerned there is no more political debate in this country. The left is right, and everyone to their right is wrong. End of discussion. Anyone who even thinks of voting for Mr Trump must be as bad as the man himself and his deplorable supporters. I don’t know, but I’m guessing that such an attitude is unlikely to persuade either undecided voters or Democrat true-believers who may just be beginning to entertain the smallest of doubts as to whether a vote for Joe Biden really is.

By the way, my candidate for éminence grise in the prospective Biden administration is the editorial board of The New York Times, which already appears to run the Democratic party. Eat your heart out, Washington Post!

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