Against ‘The Biden Crime Family’
What are the metapolitics of a new anti-Hunter Biden flick? Do they even help Republicans?
WEST HOLLYWOOD—I pen this column a mile from where Hunter Biden led the life of Riley.
Similarly, the 2010 Sofia Coppola picture Somewhere starring Stephen Dorff as a debauched and pointless movie star takes on a presidential flavor these days, though it premiered only when Hunter’s dad was vice president, not commander-in-chief. Starting with their shared temporary address, the notorious Chateau Marmont, the Dorff character could pass as a veritable Hunter doppelgänger.
Both men have weather-beaten buff brown hair; they are sad-dad Gen Xers alike; and each member of this duo has balanced center-stage lives with luxury trysts that could make a postmodernist tear up. Except the Dorff character, fiction, is muted by comparison to his real-life successor. Hunter smokes crack; Johnny Marco drinks Corona. Perhaps we should reach for another Hunter—Thompson, another onetime Chateau denizen—and that other 2022 figure, Thompson’s boon companion Johnny Depp.
All of this comes into view because of, first, the role Hunter’s father finds himself in. None of this matters but for that fact; the world is littered with mess-ups and sketchy artists. But second, the hottest film trailer of the summer just dropped: My Son Hunter.
The flick is apparently Breitbart-backed, and it is a victory for their camp in that everyone in more jovial political circles is talking about it. But I am not alone, apparently, in wondering aloud whether this film simply makes Hunter, and even the broader Biden enterprise, look too cool.
Freaky flashbacks abound.
In 2020, the Republicans closed with a curious last pitch: let us remind, ad nauseam, all the disaffected white guys in the Midwest and new Latino voters in the fold just-how-much nooky the Democratic nominee’s son is getting. It was the Halloween of the “Biden Crime Family.” Of course, I’ll acknowledge, smothering the details in all that was serious, dirty business from the political and technological establishment. But as we head to another undetermined autumn, one who has convicted this administration as a plain and depressing failure has to ponder whether its opponents are damned to repeat history.
Coincidentally or not, it’s not been a good week for Republican victory.
Perhaps it’s the early-thirties bachelor in this writer, but a pitch deriding the peccadillos of America’s superlative bandit, blended with fatwas against student loan forgiveness, just smacks of political campaigning acid-stripped of charisma.
Reports of the red wave’s demise are greatly exaggerated. It would be vintage Biden, as covered in a previous report, to rally temporarily only to experience the most dramatic of reversals. This guy, charitably, is as popular as Donald Trump, but with his voters concentrated in urban congressional districts and two-senator-blue megastates. Put another way, Biden has the full weight of the American establishment, declaring any non-Democrat a latter day Il Popolo d'Italia subscriber, and yet he is still probably losing—and losing hard.
Biden’s already blown it. Now it’s time to find out if the Republicans will blow it too.
And one way I can envisage that happening is harping too hard on what’s wrong about what’s wrong with the Hunter Biden story. It’s not the nights at the comic-opera-named—given his father’s Kennedy pretensions—Camelot; it is the, you know, concerns about being a Chinese foreign agent thing. It’s not a penchant for devil’s pedicures in the Hollywood foothills; it is that the Biden family is hardly clear of the whole weird Ukrainian-Democratic establishment graft scene, just as the species risks extinction in that theater.
Even the details of the condemnation of Hunter’s private life are messed up. Even the single most disquieting detail of the prodigal son’s depravity is somehow abjured in the vomlette of general interest scoldery. The one-and-done dating of his brother’s widow and subsequent entreaties to her sister, as well, make one wonder once again about Stanley Kubrick’s deathbed submission on the American elite in Eyes Wide Shut.
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My Son Hunter seems on first glimpse to present an America that no longer exists—and if it did, one that the GOP’s own voters might find nostalgic. President Biden, in the feature film teaser, is presented as a Warren Harding-league gangster. Never mind that the Republican Party is reorienting (admirably, as former TAC editor Bob Merry pointed out) back to the 29th president’s political platform. This characterization is not true, because President Biden, at this point in his life, just isn’t that interesting.
That’s a reality laid bare painfully in whatever pressers he still assents to. Indeed, Biden’s own middle-class white-guy, anti-student striver thing is a rung in the American ladder that his party is viciously committed to atom-bombing. The “Dark Brandon” summer is so desperate because it is so untrue. I’m not some internet gargoyle who believes the CIA switched Joe Bidens on us; but Amtrak Joe has long left the station.
The mockudrama suggests Joe Biden is Vito Corleone, with some kind of cross between Santino and Fredo running around (Moe Green’s reporting). And there’s no Michael in sight—the darkness of Beau Biden’s early death abounds. And with that, the filmmakers apparently urge you not to vote for Vito Corleone. But that leaves us with the question: why are we talking about The Godfather and not the downhearted state of America?