Joe Biden's quest for legitimacy
Joe Biden's insiders-only inaugural, with a mere thousand people but plenty of television broadcast, was a pretty elegant affair. The bunting was red, white, and blue and hung down perfectly; the large signs for the event were projected in gold in a classic gold society typeface.
His inaugural, in fact, was classic, rich, and utterly conventional, a useful thing for someone the voters think might just be in office illegitimately.
So many things suggest as much. The videos can be seen here.
Biden looked sharp in what appeared to be a very expensive, creaseless, slightly sheened suit and overcoat, and a beautifully toned luminous light blue tie. His wife at his side, in light turquoise variants in a sort of coatdress, looked good, too. Vice President Kamala Harris in a dark periwinkle pantsuit with longish coat of heavy material, and very spiky high heels (which are difficult to wear for extended periods of time), and well coiffed hair, was a picture of professional perfect. Her first gentleman and her stepkids, especially the one with the tan sparkly coat, looked well turned out, too.
Picture-perfect, as was all the protocol of each guest walking through the tunnel and in high society style, being announced, and then heading off the crowd, and socially mingling, no concern for social distance. The elites don't need to do that, see, and Biden in particular walked around without a mask and backslapped and glad-handed after his swearing in with alacrity. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, wore his mask under his nose. The beautiful people do what they do, but rest assured: none of the press commentators noticed.
Even the singers, coming from the wild and woolly world of pop stars, were clearly on their best behavior. Lady Gaga, dressed demurely in black and red, put out a beautifully sung version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," her classical voice training and her exquisite voice in evidence. J-Lo, too, dressed in a silvery gray pantsuit of sorts, broke out into some brief Spanish-language shouting at one point, but nevertheless mostly sang appropriately and dressed demurely — no boobs or butt cracks showing. Garth Brooks sang off key but didn't do anything vulgar or repulsive, either.
Very significantly, the earliest announced entrants were a string of political dinosaurs, very elderly pols now playing grand old men. And the former presidents who attended, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, put out a presentation about how grand the continuation and presidential secession was, with a peaceful transfer of power. (The sudden entry of the much-reviled Bush into the club was pretty useful to them).
It might be tempting to dismiss this unimaginative traditionalism, done up opulently, as Biden's nature, what with him being a doddering old fogey and a non-ivy social climber, and it might even be partly true, but a couple of things suggest something different.
One, Biden's agenda with Harris at his side is extremely radical — so radical that it makes Obama look conservative. Were Biden to do a crazy inaugural with pop stars showing their butts and hipsters in beards looking at their laptops, and religion out of the picture, the public might get alarmed more quickly, before he could get anything done.
Two, the elephant in the room — that much of the public still thinks Biden is in office based on electoral fraud. Biden knows it, which likely explains why the comments were disabled from his live YouTube official inaugural videos, as well as his own repeated call for unity, even as leftists talk about censorship, tribunals, and China-style social credit scores.
With fraud the unspoken undercurrent and the agenda very radical, making an inaugural as legitimate- and conventional-looking as possible, not at all cutting-edge as Obama's had been, seems to be a Biden high priority. Biden's conventionality seems to be a bid to be seen as recognizable, not as the unusual thing he is, a president taking power by dint of many kinds of electoral irregularities, but a regular Joe who made it same as the others. With that on voters' minds, as well as the radical agenda, the old shoe comfort and big displays of power seem to be the necessary and calculated visuals.
Call it Biden's quest for legitimacy.
Image credit: Screen shot from YouTube banner head and logo.