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Old Joe, Strong Joe

The rule of law seems to be receding in the rearview mirror with our doddering president behind the wheel.

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Old Joe Biden is an unlikely strongman. 

Approaching 81, Biden is one of the frailest leaders on the world stage at present—a comparison that becomes all the less flattering when he is stacked up against the men who came before him in this office. Among countries that Freedom House ranks as “free” nations, he is the second-oldest leader on the entire planet, only one year behind Namibia’s ancient Hage Geingob (who will turn 82 next week, God willing).


In politics, he was a weak player even in his prime. In his first run for the presidency two generations ago, he was drummed out of the race after outraising every opponent when a habit of serial plagiarism was uncovered. Only by playing a tenuous game of two-face with warring party factions—from Strom Thurmond’s buddy to Barack Obama’s running mate—did the man manage any influence at all.

Only with the aid of government lockdowns, last-minute rule changes, unprecedented and ill-regulated mail-in voting, and an obscenely friendly review apparatus did he manage to stumble into the presidency.

When Biden chose a race-baiting, Christian-hating airhead for his running mate, most people worried that Kamala Harris would wind up as the real power behind the throne—or worse, an early successor to the oldest man ever to enter the Oval Office.

Three years later, it is stunning how far off base those predictions were. Kamala Harris has been shunted off to the sidelines, saddled with responsibility for an open border she never bothers to visit; she is occasionally allowed to embarrass herself in a low-stakes public appearance. If she succeeds Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee—and to re-run an octogenarian incumbent shows how little faith the real decision-makers have in Kamala as a follow-up—she is almost sure to lose to Donald Trump or just about anyone else.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, has strong-armed Congress into redirecting billions of dollars from American workers’ pockets to the leaders of a notoriously corrupt, far-off country with virtually no weight in America’s national interest where his own son has an infamous history of less-than-legitimate business dealings. His Justice Department has either blocked all inquiry into that same son’s questionable conduct—which includes a fair bit of trading on his father’s power in what is supposedly still a republican government—or brushed off the consequences, as with the sweet plea deal that was only paused this week when a Trump-appointed judge managed to weigh in on the side of American law. Besides running cover for familial grift, the Justice Department under the party lackey and almost-SCOTUS-justice Merrick Garland has gone to great lengths in its effort to imprison Joe Biden’s chief rival for control of the executive branch, the same man from whom he took the reins of government in the most widely doubted election this nation has ever seen.


Everyone was afraid of the wrong person.

To be fair, some of this was expected. Biden has always been an operator, a swamp creature who survived in Washington through different nine presidents—slippery in an almost impressive way.

But if we are going to keep up the pretense that the old constitution is still in effect, then the standards will have to be a whole lot higher.

Republicans are losing faith in the prospects for a free and fair election in 2024, which there is virtually no doubt Donald Trump would win. And why shouldn’t they? At every turn, Biden has pulled on the levers of power to ensure that critics and opponents will not be given a fair shake.

Even Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the incumbent’s long-shot primary challenger, is getting the strongman treatment. There is the usual DNC operation to slide through to the general with a foregone conclusion—the same thing that was done to Bernie Sanders not too long ago. But this time there is more.

In a viral tweet on Friday morning, Kennedy disclosed that Biden’s administration had denied him Secret Service protection, despite clearly demonstrated risks to the safety of the challenger.

Kennedy wrote:

Since the assassination of my father in 1968, candidates for president are provided Secret Service protection.  But not me

Typical turnaround time for pro forma protection requests from presidential candidates is 14-days.  After 88-days of no response and after several follow-ups by our campaign, the Biden Administration just denied our request. Secretary Mayorkas: "I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F Kennedy Jr is not warranted at this time."

 Our campaign's request included a 67-page report from the world's leading protection firm, detailing unique and well established security and safety risks aside from commonplace death threats.

The opening mention is important. Kennedy’s father, a great Cold Warrior and aristopopulist visionary, was assassinated under highly questionable circumstances not long after he chased the old-hand incumbent out of the Democratic primary. Five years earlier, the now-candidate’s POTUS uncle had similarly been killed in a notorious episode that reeked of conspiracy. If I were Robert Kennedy, I’d be scared too.

Defenders of the regime have noted that the Secret Service is not required by law to provide protection to “major candidates” until 120 days before the general election. This is true, and we are a long way off from this date. But this is not a maximum limit; when Barack Obama campaigned in the 2008 election, he was afforded a detail as early as May 2007—a full two months further from his election than we are from 2024’s. Biden’s henchmen made a conscious, discretionary choice to leave his one and only possible intraparty rival—and not even a likely one—vulnerable to all manner of threats.

It’s better, at least, than the treatment of Biden’s opponent across the aisle. Donald Trump retained some documents after he left the White House, just as former V.P. Biden, former V.P. Mike Pence, and virtually every other high-level U.S. official alive seems to have done. He also objected rather strongly to certain elements of the highly irregular 2020 election process.

For these grave sins, the 45th president of the United States has received no fewer than 40 criminal charges from the administration of the man who took his office. The latest of these came just this week, and more are expected to follow soon. It is entirely possible that this country will see its former commander-in-chief placed behind bars by the leader he is now poised to dethrone.

Can a country once governed by law come back from this? It seems undeniable—even if Donald Trump is allowed to retake the White House, even if Hunter Biden gets a slap on the wrist for his numerous crimes—that the point of no return is well behind us