Joe Biden, Marionette

Assuming we can discount the explanation that a sitting United States president publicly acknowledged that, yes, in fact he should go blank himself, Joe Biden’s recent Santa-related mishap may mean far more than we think.

Though a perennial also-ran comfortable with being the corrupt tool of those around him -- family, staffers, donors, etc. -- Biden used to be able to combine his unparalleled skills as a profane gaffe machine with at least some semblance of situational awareness (“At least use the other credit card, Hunter, for God’s sake!” etc.).

Now it appears that even that glimmer of cognition has left him with his “Let’s Go Brandon -- I agree!” statement.  And during an impossible-to-mess-up happy-joy video op chatting with parents about Santa Claus -- talk about projecting competence and leadership to the world.

The former Joe Biden, the unabashedly and publicly nasty “lying dog-faced pony soldier” of just twenty months ago, would -- with narrowing eyes -- have told the parent that he was ordering NORAD to surround his chimney with attack drones (or at least said that he knew that other Big Guy and was going to tell him to put his kids on the naughty list immediately).

But what if this explanation is wrong?  What if Joe is still as sharp as when he was finding out the names of AMTRAK conductors to make up stories about them later?  That’s almost scarier.

Assume for a moment Biden actually honestly does not know the story behind, the context surrounding, and the meaning of “Let’s Go, Brandon.”

The first option, since he has heard it shouted at him before, is that it could mean he never thought to ask anyone about what crowds of people were yelling, what the signs emblazoned with the phrase meant.  True, most politicians do not go out of their way to find out what their opponents are saying about them but to have no interest -- or what would be negative interest in, in this case – in what is going on in the world outside your bubble is simply epic myopic malfeasance.

There is a reason Winne-the-Pooh is banned in China -- Xi Jinping is a brutal murdering thug bent on world domination, but even he understands the need to learn about (the fact that it is then brutally crushed notwithstanding) unpleasant and/or insulting things people are saying about him, to have at least a vague clue about what is being said about him out there in the political hinterland.

The second option is that no one has told him about it, another terrifying thought.  If his staff is sycophantic to the point of keeping actual but difficult things from him, imagine what else they are not telling him about.  (While I would not have wanted to be one who did it, at some point some staffer mentioned to Xi that his political opponents think he looks like Winne-the-Pooh -- if the CCP cabal can be more internally honest than the Biden White House, then maybe I should be learning how to type in Mandarin).

The third option is that it would mean that even his wife, the eminent community college scholar Jill, keeps things from him.  Now, all wives and husbands keep things from each other, but Jill has been around politics for quite some time, knows the importance of facing disconcerting truths at least occasionally, and -- by the Red Wedding look on her face in the video of the episode -- clearly knows what it means but has chosen to keep it from him.

Each of these three scenarios point to an -- at best -- extremely and purposefully cloistered President which -- no matter one’s politics -- is a very bad situation.  Love him or hate him, nobody has ever accused Donald Trump of not knowing exactly what -- good or bad -- people are and were saying about him.

Which brings us back to the most likely option -- that Joe has heard it before, at one time knew what it means, and is simply unable to keep that memory -- and, therefore, likely few others -- in his head and what the world saw was a glimpse of the real -- the incoherent, incongruent, incompetent -- Joe Biden.

Of course, with a collaborationist press corps whose members now say it is an act of insurrection to say mean things about a President (apparently yet another successful Chinese export), an all-powerful staff (sorry, Kamala), and battalions of coddling servants and donors, it could be argued that Biden quite literally may not need to know where he is, who he is talking to, or what he is talking about at any given time.

Marionettes do not need cognition -- and that’s the most terrifying scenario of all.

Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at You can read more of his work at

Image: Gage Skidmore

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