President-elect Joe Biden did his first extended interview last week. Apparently, even the fawning legions of journalists who comprise the Democratic-friendly media outlets at CNN, MSNBC, and CBS were not sufficiently comforting for Biden, who chose instead to have a fireside chat with late-night “comedian” Stephen Colbert. (The same Stephen Colbert has spent the last four years delivering an anti-Trump monologue that rarely missed a beat.)
The worshipful Colbert—who somehow managed to be even more obsequious than the Biden acolytes within the “real” media—offered Biden a wonderful platform to promote his agenda for his incoming administration. But whether Biden recognized the opportunity or not, he chose not to reveal anything more substantive about his policies than he did during the tight-lipped presidential election campaign he orchestrated from the security of his basement. The accommodating Colbert obviously took his cue from mainstream journalists (who are loath to ask Biden anything approaching the difficult), producing a half-hour of small talk without any uncomfortable moments for anyone.
But Biden is destined to have some difficult moments, moments that, ironically, may come at the behest of his own party. The Democrats, eager to appear young and progressive, have never really been that enthusiastic about having a 78-year-old lifetime politician at the helm—especially one who has occupied opposing positions on just about every major issue over the years. Quite simply, Biden is on a collision course with his past and his party.
Joe Biden is by now inextricably linked to his son Hunter’s globe-trotting business affairs, a scandal that, even to the casual, implicates his father’s influence as a long-serving senator and then Vice President. Biden is also destined to butt heads with his party’s left wing, as it already seems disillusioned that Biden has not exactly produced a progressive dream team of cabinet picks. In fact, it looks like the Biden Administration is shaping up to be the same old same old Democrats who defined the administration of former President Barack Obama. It does not help Biden’s prospects that he selected Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. (Harris is a hardcore lefty, and has a voting record in the Senate to prove it.)
Is it that unlikely that a Democratic Party establishment, having moved further and further to the left in recent years, would have fully appreciated a moderate being nominated as its presidential candidate, despite assurances that his running mate was someone more in their ideological neighborhood? Kamala Harris was touted early in the race by some in the national media as a leading presidential candidate. Harris not only failed to convince Democratic voters of that, but she openly sparred with Biden on sensitive racial issues.
The combination of a mounting Hunter Biden scandal and the growing dissatisfaction of his own party’s progressive wing could well mean that the President-Elect will not even finish his first term.
DEMOCRATS HAVE SUDDENLY WARMED TO THE HUNTER BIDEN SCANDAL
The New York Post first reported the Hunter Biden story back in October, but it was banned from social media for doing so. The rest of the media was largely silent. National Public Radio went so far as to say it doesn’t want to “waste the listeners’ and readers’ time with stories that are just pure distraction.”
Could it be that Biden has done his job and served his purpose in defeating President Donald Trump, and Party leaders are hoping he’ll now move over and let Kamala Harris finish the job?
Just where did the leak to Fox News originate, revealing that Hunter Biden was under investigation for his financial dealings? In early December, we learned that The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating Hunter Biden’s “tax affairs.” After all, if Hunter was reaping the financial benefits of having an illustrious father, those tax returns are perhaps the easiest way to establish a trend of financial wrongdoing. All that unexplained and untaxed income sunk Al Capone in the 1920s, and the authorities have been joining forces with the IRS ever since to unpack years of shady financial transactions.
And why did the leak to Fox come after the election, when it did absolutely nothing to help President Donald Trump get re-elected? If this was a source friendly to Trump, wouldn’t this leak have occurred about two months earlier? Could it have been a source unfriendly to Trump and Biden—or, more pointedly, one friendly to Kamala Harris?
Interestingly, Hunter Biden confirmed the story almost immediately, responding through the Biden-Harris Transition Team—and there was even some inspiring encouragement from Joe Biden who assured us that he was “deeply proud of his son.” But wait a minute, why was the President-Elect’s so willing to comment at all, given that before the election, he was quick to dismiss any criticism of his son’s financial transactions as “a smear” or Russian disinformation? Was it because the gig was up, and Biden knew it?
You may recall that the Biden-Harris campaign was less amenable to addressing Hunter Biden’s issues prior to the presidential election, however. Before the last presidential debate, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinksi, held a news conference to confirm the veracity of the Biden emails that suggest the former Vice President was peddling his influence on behalf of his son and reaping financial rewards for doing so. The only major media outlet to cover Bobulinksi’s appearance was Fox News. All other mainstream media stations ignored the story just as they have ignored the Hunter Biden emails and the laptop that is now in possession of the FBI. Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris campaign maintained a stone-faced silence regarding Bobulinski that suggested he was not even talking their language.
Bobulinski even appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in an hour-long interview that exposed Joe Biden as “the Big Guy” in the Hunter Biden emails. It might have sounded like an episode of the old spy parody “Get Smart;” Bobulinski pointed to emails that appeared to depict the former Vice President as a globe-trotting politician with his hands in everyone’s pockets. One was left with the inescapable conclusion that the only reason any Chinese business would be negotiating with Hunter, a would-be entrepreneur with no particular skill set, might have something to do with his father’s influence.
Biden cannot always continue to count on providing non-answers to nom-questions as the political heat increases.
So why are the Democrats now willing to not only acknowledge the story, but to actually facilitate its release and circulation—now that the presidential election is over, and Biden has apparently won (despite some lingering questions about the integrity of the vote)? Could it be that Biden has done his job and served his purpose in defeating President Donald Trump, and Party leaders are hoping he’ll now move over and let Kamala Harris finish the job?
Yes, it could be just a grand conspiracy theory—but it also happens to make a lot of sense.
During the interview with Colbert, the faded liberal yukster (that’s Colbert, not Biden) did mention the Hunter Biden issue—but only in the sense of asking the President-Elect how infuriating it must be to have those right-wing media types directing those questions about Hunter and how “the people who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your son as as a cudgel against you.”
“How do you feel about that?” Colbert asked. “And what do you have to say to those people?”
“I have, we have, great confidence in our son,” Biden said. “I am not concerned about any accusations being made against him. It’s used to get to me. I think it’s kind of foul play but look, it is what it is and he’s a grown man, he is the smartest man I know. I mean, from a pure intellectual capacity – and as long as he’s good, we’re good.”
That’s not exactly a reassuring response from someone aware that there is some fiery evidence buried among all these smoking accusations. And to suggest that his son is the “smartest man” that Biden knows is something that goes beyond mere hyperbole to a statement of the ridiculous. But as Richard Nixon found out during the long Watergate prelude to his resignation, merely dismissing a bad story is completely inconsequential when the law has started to feel its way through the fabric. Biden cannot always continue to count on providing non-answers to nom-questions as the political heat increases.
BIDEN IS FAILING TO TOE THE PARTY LINE—AND THE SQUAD IS PAYING ATTENTION
Even if late-night comedy has not lost its attraction to Biden’s septuagenarian luster, his own party is already demonstrating a reluctance to join his cheering section—and he’s not even been inaugurated yet. This is the second part of the Biden collision—and it is happening now.
“I do think we need new leadership in the Democratic Party.”
Say what you will about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), but she has galvanized left-wing America, most especially that part of it that deems a take-over of the Democratic Party to be both necessary and viable. She did not get a seat on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee last week. That probably had a lot to do with Ocasio-Cortez telling The Intercept this month, “I do think we need new leadership in the Democratic Party,” as she warned about the party experiencing a power vacuum as the old leadership fades away. She made it clear that she was speaking about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), but you can get much older leadership than Joe Biden. AOC’s words were certainly a clarion call for anyone thinking a Biden presidency is just a transitory device.
Pelosi clearly upended AOC over the congresswoman’s aspirations to dominate the House steering committee. But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only one who is clearly unhappy with the Democratic state of affairs. Former party presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is livid that Biden is creating a cabinet that looks like leftovers from the last Democratic administration. “The progressive movement deserves a number of seats—important seats—in the Biden administration. Have I seen that at this point? I have not,” Sanders told Axios last week. Of course, Sanders is supposed to be in the cabinet himself. He advertised his availability to be Secretary of Labor. Progressive groups want Sanders in; so do the more radical Democrats, like Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the sewer-mouthed politician from Detroit who called President Trump a “motherfu**er” after being sworn into the House.
Speaking of the profanity-tongued congresswoman, progressives like the Sunrise Movement are demanding that Biden bring her into his cabinet in order to advance some of its objectives like the Green New Deal. Biden, however, hasn’t exactly warmed to the Green New Deal, and that’s probably why Ocasio-Cortez and other members of “the squad” picketed outside of the Democratic National Committee in November (after the election) to push him on the issue. Biden was never upfront about much of his party’s extremist agenda—he wasn’t exactly cogent or comprehensive about what policy during the presidential election campaign. He adopted a ‘fracking if necessary, but not necessarily fracking policy’ that continues to mystify all but his own party members who see the writing more clearly: Biden is not their man.
But just as it sometimes seems unlikely that Biden can really absorb the massive impact of the presidency at his age, it seems even more unlikely that he can serve even a full term. It remains hard to believe that a man who used to be a socially and fiscally conservative senator is going to inaugurate a socialist revolution—and it’s not clear his party will tolerate this. Although he may not be serious about Soviet America, the Democratic left most assuredly is.
Biden is apparently refusing to listen to any of the progressive uproar, however, as he puts together a team that looks like a photograph of liberal corporate America. There’s former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen for treasury secretary, Hillary Clinton aide Neena Tanden in the Office of Management and Budget Director, Tom Vilsack nominated for Agriculture Secretary, and Tony Blinken for Secretary of State. And how about former Secretary of State John Kerry as some kind of climate czar? The ketchup king is hardly expecting a radical shift in corporate America.
It is all a disquieting gathering storm for Biden. A scandal that could well dwarf Watergate remains at his doorstep and is no longer being denied by his own party. He has successfully alienated the progressive wing of that party that would not mourn if Biden departs early. In short, a Kamala Harris presidency looks as likely as a Gerald Ford administration did in 1973.
Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between an oddball conspiracy theorizing and what is merely the writing on the wall. Conspiracy theories don’t usually entertain logical prospects. But the machinations before the President-Elect are not conspiratorial—they are politics-as-usual, and just make common sense given how the Democratic Party can really only change America if it changes the President.