As a new year dawns, be very grateful you are not Joe Biden

On the surface, it might seem that Joe Biden is king of the world — assuming that the Electoral College names him president as expected by most.  Putatively receiving more votes than any other man in the history of the world, with an ebullient political party about to assume near complete control of the House and maybe the Senate, it would seem that Lady Luck has been very, very kind to old Joe.

But, as the saying goes, those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud.  Let's take a moment and analyze how Joe's situation is actually a terrible one.

First, and most obviously, he will be dogged by allegations of electoral fraud.  Whether they are true or not, the perception of illegitimacy will begin to erode his authority from day one.  Even if they aren't true, or simply can't be proven to criminal justice standards, the general air of election theft will taint his every proclamation.  The constant drip of further reporting about what exactly happened on Election Night will encircle him like a poisonous mist, sapping his will and energy precisely when he needs to be vigorously cracking the whip across all the federal agencies.

Even a human dynamo like Donald Trump found his energies greatly dissipated by the bureaucratic processes of official Washington.  If that bureaucracy chooses to resist anything Joe wants to do, Joe will find that his power ends at the Oval Office door.  Expect the Pentagon to be one of the worst offenders in delaying obeying orders its people don't like, but I imagine that every agency will adopt a "slow roll" strategy in implementing at least parts of Joe's executive vision.

And if the fraud allegations are true, his position gets even worse.  Somebody out there in the swamp was able to coordinate a coherent election theft across multiple states and cities.  This person owns Joe and will not let him forget it.

Second, Joe's physical and mental health is in decline.  It's not unusual for presidents to age rapidly, but Joe is sick going in.  The stress of the presidency will come as near to killing him as humanly possible, I fancy.  His chief of staff will be one of the most powerful people in the world, handling issues that the president is too ill or tired or confused to address.

Third, he's surrounded by horrible people. His wife and the vice president will engage in some of the most vicious backroom power struggles ever witnessed.  It will be no holds barred, with "Dr." Jill vehemently preventing him from resigning while Kamala circles and provokes.  White House staffers will be leaking the sordid details to media friends.  Meanwhile, his Cabinet selections, chosen more to look diverse rather than for their experience, will not perform well.  The burden of trying to achieve any policy goals in this climate would test the will of Alexander the Great.  Imagine what it will do to poor old Joe.

Fourth, he's got former presidents out the wazoo.  Trump won't be going away — he will likely be a thorn in Joe's side (and the establishment) for years to come.  And President Obama will always be lurking in the media, tut-tutting Joe's every decision that doesn't align with his vision.  Even Jimmy Carter can be relied upon to annoy a sitting president of whatever party.  And Joe doesn't respond well to criticism.

Fifth, Joe himself is actually a pretty nasty man.  He's mean to critics, is arrogant, and has a long history of behavioral improprieties that will continue to leak out.  The pressure will eventually make him erupt in public.  Even a compliant media won't be able to cover it up completely.  The picture of the president screaming abuse at, say, U.S. service members will last longer than his term.  The executive culture he will create will be septic, creating a raft of leakers and traitors across the entire government.

Sixth, the Democrats' buyer's remorse starts day one.  Joe has already had to gently suggest that student loan forgiveness isn't going to happen.  The voters who actually did turn out for him are going to lose enthusiasm as policy promises vanish into the wind.  The sense that Joe shouldn't have won the Democratic primary at all will cause fissures in his own party's unity.  While many voters have been gaslighted as to the bizarre process that elevated this man to head his party's ticket, the reality is that not many Democrats had him as their first choice.  Eventually, the party faithful will sit bolt upright in the middle of the night and say, "Dear God, what have we done?"

Finally, the rest of the world isn't going away.  No matter how well intentioned "multilateralism" is, or how generous Joe's nature is, the geopolitical realities of this world will not change.  China will no doubt press on Taiwan, knowing that it will never have a better chance than after January 21 to achieve its strategic goal.  The Russians will nod, and smile, and do whatever they want in Syria and the Caucasus, forcing old Joe to make hard decisions about U.S. troop deployments.  If the Iranians don't get what they want in terms of sanctions relief, expect them to kill U.S. troops, either directly or through proxies — giving the Pentagon all the cause in the world to press for expanded troop commitments to the Middle East.

Yes, a new year has dawned.  Have a sip of something delicious; hold your loved ones close; and be very, very grateful you are not Joe Biden.

Caricature by Donkey Hotey, CC BY 2.0 license.