Home»Commentary»Who’s Running The Country?

Who’s Running The Country?

Pinterest WhatsApp

The 2016 presidential election was going to come down to two candidates, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, whose ‘turns’ had come. And then Donald J Trump rode down an escalator, took their ‘turn’ and the establishment has never been the same since. Because it was their ‘turn’.

In 2020, it was the ‘turn’ of Joe Biden, a man whose only political credential was that he had stuck around long enough to stick to things, like the Senate and the Vice Presidency.

Now in 2024, it’s Joe Biden’s ‘turn’ again. No one in his party was under the impression that he was the best candidate, the best campaigner or the best president, but damn it, it was his ‘turn’.

And now the Democrats are panicking because the candidate taking his ‘turn’ is imploding.

Biden’s debate meltdown has frightened Democrats, but they still have no answer for how to stop the car accident that everyone else could see coming from miles away. And no good strategy beyond getting the party leaders to confront their candidate and ask him to step down. But how do you take away Biden’s ‘turn’ when turns are the most sacred thing in politics.

It’s not an exclusively Democrat problem. The GOP put up Bob Dole against Bill Clinton and John McCain against Barack Obama because it was their ‘turns’. They let Mitt Romney go up against Obama a second time because it was his ‘turn’. And after Republicans lost two straight presidential elections because they ran establishment candidates taking their ‘turn’, voters were so sick of it that they did what they would have never done before and picked Trump.

Because it wasn’t his ‘turn’.

‘Turn’ politics mostly still rules. Candidates past their prime go up to bat because they have the biggest networks of fellow politicians, donors and party activists. It’s as if Major League Baseball favored players on the basis of seniority and how well they networked, not based on how well they can pitch or hit.

But unlike sports, politics isn’t a meritocracy, it isn’t even a democracy, it’s an oligarchy.

Voters self-importantly think of elections as the big political competition, but that’s like judging companies based on the keynote addresses of their CEOs. Elections are the least important part of politics. All the really important parts of politics happen behind closed doors. What politicians do isn’t run for office, they network, they cut deals and they plan their careers.

That network, which we occasionally call by wholly inadequate names like the “establishment” or “D.C. insiders” is the reason Biden is up again in 2024. And why he can’t be gotten rid of.

People who naively think that Obama is secretly running the Biden administration don’t understand the network or how it works. Obama took on Hillary when it was her ‘turn’ in 2008. He won and brokered a deal that moved the Democrat network further leftward. And he did the same thing again in 2020, bringing in Bernie’s people and Elizabeth Warren’s people (and his own people) so that the Biden administration is even more radical and extreme than his was.

But where did Obama come from? He came out of that network of radical activists, donors and government personnel now running the country. Obama is not a brilliant genius or one man dynamo, he was a lazy and unoriginal activist lawyer, one of tens of thousands of Ivy Leaguers who join the political side of the network, who wanted to live out his egotistical ambitions.

And the leftist networks gave him the opportunity to do it in exchange for seeding it deeper across the Democrat Party, the government and the country. Then his time came.

Obama did not want Biden to succeed him. He pushed Biden out in favor of Hillary and then tried to bring in a surprise candidate to run against him in 2020. But some things are sacred and not even Obama, especially once out of the White House, could take away Biden’s ‘turn’ twice.

It’s not really Biden’s ‘turn’ though. It’s the turn of the strategists, lobbyists, staffers, donors, allies and more nebulous figures known as ‘friends’ whom he accrued over the years. They’re invested in his success and they’re profiting from it. And they won’t easily give it up.

Trying to replace Biden with Newsom (aside from the legal and logistical issues) would be a clash of two networks that would require either careful negotiations or outright civil war. It’s done all the time with primary rivals who become vice presidents or cabinet members, but displacing a sitting president who also won the nomination and has raised and spent a massive fortune would require a level of delicate negotiations akin to bringing peace to an African civil war.

Especially if that president is unstable, prone to fits of anger, and is insulated by the same political allies whose wealth and power depend on Biden winning a second term in office.

It’s not just about Jill and Hunter, Joe Biden has tens of thousands of political mouths to feed. Money has been collected, favors promised, people have bought homes in D.C. bedroom communities, lobbyists have secured fat contracts and donors have opened up their wallets.

Replacing Biden with another candidate would upend much of D.C., put tens of billions of dollars in flux and create massive instability in this corrupt local economy. Much of D.C. would rather ride it out (especially since the campaign people will make just as much money if Biden loses) and preserve the integrity of the networks and the illicit pinkie swears that allow special interests to buy influence without having to worry if their man will suddenly be swapped out.

That is what “it’s his turn” really means.

It’s not impossible for the Democrats to replace Biden but despite all the ‘Orange Man Bad’ alarmism that is their only campaign slogan, none of them view him as enough of an existential threat to disrupt a political way of life which allowed a mediocre grifter like Biden to get this far.

People who don’t understand that were baffled that Biden would run and that he would get the nomination. After his disastrous debate showing, much of the party panicked and outsiders assumed that they would dump Biden. The truth is that the Democrats wish they could.

‘Turn’ corruption once again threatens the survival of the party and yet they can’t break away from it because parties are vehicles for careerism and cash. The networks around powerful politicians build careers and move money. And those networks are running the country.

When people ask “who’s been running the country” after Biden’s debate performance, the answer is that it’s the same people who run most of the government. And have all along.

Politicians in a state of obvious mental decline like Biden or Sen. Dianne Feinstein who go on introducing bills, signing legislation, tweeting and expressing strong opinions on issues in their press releases are not aberrations, they’re symptoms of a much bigger problem.

Not just Biden, but many, if not most, elected officials are figureheads who exist to broker favorable arrangements between their personal networks of donors and staffers, and those of other elected officials, and the ones in the bureaucracy that actually make policy. The revolving door between staffers, personnel, appointees and lobbyists who move between administrations, offices, boards, corporations, think tanks and firms is the actual force that runs the country more than most elections. Politicians play their part, meeting, greeting and signing off on what they’re told will be good for their careers within the networks they’re part of.

And if they build up enough cachet, one day it will also be their ‘turn’ to be at the top..

That’s why Democrats can’t solve their Biden problem. The issue isn’t one man’s decline but a systemic crisis. Biden embodies what the Democrats (and the two-party system and politics really is) and while getting him out may fix the immediate problem, it won’t fix the system.

Biden is a test of how much the system is willing to risk and how high a public implosion it’s willing to tolerate to protect the sacred right of the ‘turn’. Will Democrats let their party go down to protect the system? Will they go on lying to their voters and their donors? Will the media, which briefly broke away from the lies after the debate, resume going along with the scam?

Other ‘Bidens’, some elderly, confused and inept like Joe, others middle aged, confused and inept, like Kamala, and some even young, confused and inept like AOC, fill the system because they are how the system works. It’s not a meritocracy that elevates the best, a democracy chosen by the people, but an oligarchy that runs the system and is also the system.

Article posted with permission from Daniel Greenfield

The Washington Standard

Previous post

Happy 248th birthday, America

Next post

Hunter Biden Takes Part in White House Meetings Despite China Ties