Hey, people around Joe Biden: Please grab him by the lapels and inform him that it’s not 1973 anymore and his “friends” in the Republican Party, nice fellas though they may be on a personal level, have changed.
When young Joe joined the United States Senate in that year, the Republican Party had people like his fellow Delawarean Bill Roth (yes, of Roth IRA fame), who was a fiscal conservative but was pro-environment and gun control, and Connecticut’s Lowell Weicker, who was probably more liberal than Biden ever was.
Joe—they’re gone. Long gone. And the remaining few who were your colleagues are different men than they were when you worked with them. Like, really different.
Surely he knows this. Right? Maybe not. He said over the weekend that Donald Trump is an “aberration” and that “this is not the Republican Party.”
If I’ve been dedicated to one proposition during this foul era, it has been to shout the emphatic opposite from every platform I’ve been fortunate enough to command. To insist that the Republican Party, and not Trump, appalling as he is, is the real problem. Trump just came along and said the stuff a lot of them thought but were afraid to say.
Biden must know this. Where was he, after all, during the tenure of the first black president, the guy who passed moderate bills—borrowed from the Heritage Foundation, in the case of Obamacare’s individual mandate—that Republicans branded as socialist? He had a pretty primo box seat for all that. How about his good friend Mitch McConnell, saying that his top priority was making Barack Obama a one-term president? And then the Merrick Garland stunt? And threatening Obama in October 2016 that if the president announced publicly that our intelligence agencies had determined that Russia was interfering in the election, he’d accuse Obama of being partisan?
Also, people around Biden: Please be sure he understands that if he does become president and the Republicans keep the Senate, his dear friend Mitch will treat him exactly as he treated Obama, which is to say, nothing Biden wants will pass—nothing—and McConnell will work just as hard to make him a one-term president as he did Obama. I’m sure Biden would never believe such a thing, because everybody thinks it’ll be different when they’re in charge (indeed, as Obama himself once believed!). But everyone in the world except Joe Biden knows it to be true. Someone, please tell him.
Maybe Biden was just saying that for tactical reasons. If he ends up the nominee, he’ll want the votes of moderate independents and even some Republicans (if 10 percent of them disapprove of Trump, that’s still a few million people). That, I get.
But we all know that part of him believes this. And when prominent Democrats talk this way, it just makes it harder to convince the remaining open-minded and politically uncommitted people of the truth.
Most people who don’t pay much attention just naturally think that the two parties are about the same, each roughly as corrupt as the other, that what’s true of one is pretty much true of the other. As such, it’s very difficult to convince them that the Republican Party, which still wears the normal public face of an American political party, has become such a thoroughly corrupt shakedown operation.
I noticed someone on Twitter last week used the phrase “Republican Influenced and Corrupt Organization.” That’s perfect. We need a new RICO act in this country, but this time aimed not at the mob but at the GOP.
Under the new act, a “RICO entity” is any organization or office being hijacked to ensure that the Republicans maintain power forever. The White House is RICO entity number one. The Department of Justice is right behind, especially if consigliere Bill Barr follows through on Rudy Giuliani’s scheme and uses his department to launch an investigation into Biden’s son’s business activity (RICO could also stand for Rudy Influenced and Corrupt Organization).
Obviously, I’m joking. But not. Trump is a wannabe dictator. Most people, including ones who aren’t especially bothered by it, can see that. What it’s harder to get people to see is how every malevolent thing Trump does would be impossible without a lockstep Republican Party.
If there were just, oh, eight elected Republicans, four in the Senate and four more in the House, who were willing to say no sometimes, we’d have a very different dynamic than the one we have. Eight reasonable people who would be willing to say, on both political and policy matters, that what Trump was proposing was wrong or undemocratic or probably unconstitutional or certainly un-American. If they existed, he couldn’t get away with a lot of the stuff he gets away with.
But they don’t exist, and they will likely never exist for one reason, which is a key point to understand. The reason that McConnell and Republicans maintain a united front behind Trump is that they know that as long as it’s only Democrats doing the criticizing, they can paint it as just more partisan bickering, and a decent percentage of people will believe them. A few Republicans join the Democrats, then it becomes bipartisan and is much harder to dismiss. Six out of 17 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Richard Nixon in 1974. Today, that six is down to zero.
This situation is without precedent in American history. It is an emergency. Biden can talk however he thinks it’s useful to talk, I guess. But he’d better understand the reality of the situation. Let’s hope it doesn’t take the Justice Department indicting his son, and his “friends” calling him everything up to and including treasonous, for him to figure it out.