And the Band Played On
Those familiar with this title ascribe it to those who downplay or conceal others from an impending catastrophe. It is drawn from the story of the fated musicians who performed beyond any hope of their own salvation on the submerging deck of the RMS Titanic. When the AIDS epidemic struck late in the last century, the idiom was resurrected in a 1993 television docudrama that teleplayed the haphazard approach by the government and medical science in confronting HIV. Almost three decades on, there is little novelty to be found in the Biden administration’s handling of COVID lockdowns and vaccinations as agitprop to leverage the affliction for political purposes. Plenty of history now informs us that the synergy of government and medical science in the hands of the political elite predestines a bad outcome.
The political landscape of this current pandemic has no precedent. From the outset, doors were inexplicably shut to known treatments and therapies and critical surgeries were sidelined while thousands died. A citizenry panicked by sniffles and coughs lined up for imprecise testing that inflated cases by misdiagnosing and assimilating common seasonal ailments into the running COVID tally. The restructuring of state voting protocols by swing-state Democrat governors and city mayors all but shut down in-person voting and swung open the back door to massive ballot fraud so blatant that it continues to undermine the faith of the electorate in the legitimacy of a new administration.
Until recently, no American president or administration has tried to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power or sought to undo the people’s choice for the succession of the chief executive. It would have been preposterous to suggest that a major political party would coalesce in a corrupt grab for permanent rule.
In 2016, surrogates for the Obama administration, operating as a fifth column behind a curtain of national intelligence and federal law enforcement loyalists, plotted for a de facto third term by initiating a corrupt campaign against the candidacy of a populist Republican candidate. Crazed after the consequent loss to Donald Trump, they commenced a broadside of straw allegations and conspiracies against the new president and his supporters. More than a dozen Democrat-run subcommittees over two terms of Congress opened fifty probes of the Trump administration, harassed political opponents with subpoenas, alternately withheld and leaked secret testimony without fear of reckoning, and staged two theatrical impeachment proceedings replete with cutaway footage of silly walks between the chambers. Throughout, the Trump presidency stayed off the ropes, fending off serial indignities while effectively tackling the business of the people, securing the border, reducing unemployment, achieving energy independence, and sending more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court justices.
COVID appeared just in time for the 2020 presidential campaign. Sensing favorable circumstances, Democrats turned polling sites into super spreaders and went to work clogging state and federal courts with hundreds of lawsuits challenging longstanding state voting protocols. They blocked the cleansing of rolls that resurrected the dead to vote, mailed out tens of millions of unsolicited paper ballots, extended ballot counting for days, and carried out vote dumps in the dead of Election Night that created arithmetically impossible tallies and reversed political fortunes. This was the shadow campaign that shielded a basement candidate who couldn’t be trusted in public without a chaperone and an audio kill switch.
The bloom came off the rose for Joe Biden in 2021 as he revealed his incapacities in successive domestic, legislative, and international policy blunders. Republicans unwittingly assisted by turning their back on the ball, fracturing along Trump fault lines, and surrendering the Senate majority in two Georgia races. Even with the political wind at his back, Biden still couldn’t round the bases and score a run.
You don’t need to pull hard on the thread to see that Joe Biden came to the Oval Office with infirmities carefully hidden during a campaign in absentia. His verbal gaffes, stiffened gait, and distant stares are worrisome. Aides offstage stand ready to cut the feed whenever he wanders off course. By what authority and power, and over what fears, can a White House staffer abruptly stop an ongoing presidential conversation with his constituents? Follow that string to Biden’s rare East Room pressers, where he seeks questions and gives answers from crib sheets and photographs that prompt him to single out certain reporters. When at wit’s end, he takes a cue and walks away from or laughs off unsanctioned or challenging queries.
Donald Trump showed no compunction in firing those who didn’t meet his expectations. After discharging five young staffers early on for smoking pot, Joe Biden has weathered an unprecedented year of domestic and international policy blunders without a single shakeup to his inner circle.
Odds are that the incompetence of the Biden staff and cabinet is calculated. Department secretaries are first congregants to progressivism, with job skills a distant second. Their utility is in their submission to the whims of West Wing radicals. When unpopular or unlawful diktats in the form of voter rights, gun control, and vaccine mandates are blocked in Congress or the courts, the process is circumvented through executive fiat and with the help of appointed caporegimes willing to abdicate their agency’s regulatory powers. Biden has added obedient cabinet secretaries to Obama’s famous pen and phone.
Look at recent Biden appointments to the Federal Reserve Board, a small clique of economists installed for fourteen-year terms and charged with America’s financial well-being. Sarah Bloom Raskin, the country’s prospective top banking regulator, views the whole economy as a vanguard against climate change. Lined up to serve at her side is Lisa Cook, who enthusiastically supported a House resolution for African-American reparations and views the contemporary economy as racially scarred. Their confirmations require a simple majority in the Senate.
Joe Biden shuffles into 2022 with historical unpopularity and a multitude of policy failures that have not convinced him or his handlers to change course. His recent winter meeting with state governors was predictable. He provided no strategy to end pandemic restrictions and insulted the intelligence of his audience by asserting that illegal border crossings will stop when we finally understand why immigrants are leaving their home countries. Traveling to One Police Plaza the day after the funeral of the second NYPD officer killed with an illegal weapon in the hands of a released felon, Biden overlooked the complicity of social justice warriors dressed up as prosecutors and urban violence exacerbated by illegally-trafficked weapons. As incredulous cops looked on, he focused upon background checks, firearms dealers, and legal gun owners.
As America weakens without leadership, China’s Belt and Road Initiative infiltrates Africa and Asia and the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline has weaponized Russia’s influence in Europe. Overlooking a million Uighurs still held in captivity and almost a million Americans on the death list from the Wuhan virus, China was handed a propaganda boost in hosting the Winter Olympics. Poking Biden in the eye, the event gave the world stage to Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to trumpet a Sino-Russian axis aligned against the West.
All signs point to a Democrat shellacking in the midterms, while the Republicans risk docility from overconfidence. Meanwhile, Democrat efforts continue to influence the midterms with gerrymandering of political districts, creating a fallback to mail-in voting by continuing to hype COVID variants and subvariants, and court challenges to voter identification giving carte blanche to harvesting and voting by non-citizens
One can only hope that when the music stops on November 8 that there will be a plurality of seats into which Republicans can put themselves.
Image: Willy Stöwer