Who is pulling the puppet strings in Washington, DC?
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared last week on Jesse Watters's show on Fox News to express his opposition to the RESTRICT Act. The proponents of the bill claim that it will be used to ban the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok. But the critics of this legislation have pointed out that it grants sweeping powers to the federal government and the president to ban any application they label a "threat."
Some wondered if the use of a VPN to conceal one's online identity and access sites blocked by the U.S. would be made illegal.
The concern that many have is that the government will use TikTok as an excuse to pass intrusive laws that monitor citizens online and beyond.
Watters made his case opposing the bill while pointing out that the bill doesn't even have the word "TikTok" in it. Graham reiterated his opposition to the bill.
Before you can leap with joy that Graham was breaking a rule of a lifetime and standing for what is right, Watters revealed a detail that would have been hilarious if it weren't so grave.
Watters informed Graham that South Carolina's senior senator supports the bill. When Graham looked befuddled, Watters explained that Graham happened to be among the cosponsors of the bill, and that information is available online.
Graham eventually was compelled to admit that he may be co-sponsoring the legislation without having read it and that it made him "look bad."
He pledged to appear on the show if the legislation really included the provisions Watters criticized.
Jesse Watters asks Lindsey Graham why he supports the “RESTRICT Act”, a bill he is listed as a co-sponsor of, his response: “I don’t think support the RESTRICT Act.” pic.twitter.com/fptERiYmaN— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) March 29, 2023
Graham would have been forgiven for not knowing a minor clause in the bill. But opposing a bill on TV that he has co-sponsored is unpardonable. What makes it worse is that he wasn't even aware that he was a co-sponsor.
Some say the ploy of feigning ignorance was to avoid tough questions. But the video made Graham look ridiculous, and no politician wants to look ridiculous in the era where videos can be played repeatedly online.
We must hence infer that Graham was not always the decision-maker on key issues. The question is: who is pulling the strings of Lindsey's puppet?
Alas, Lindsey isn't the only puppet in D.C.
Last week a hot mic caught one of Biden's handlers giving him instructions on what to do and where to go during a recent visit to North Carolina. This wasn't the usual host making small talk with the guest. This seemed like a caregiver giving detailed instructions to his patient, which an individual of sound mental and cognitive health would not need.
GUIDE: "Yes, sir, down the ramp...your mark is gonna be the blue one to the left. You got a blue mark."— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 28, 2023
BIDEN: "I'll stay in my blue mark." pic.twitter.com/XSmxEgUr2z
Biden has on several occasions demonstrated proof of his decline. He frequently flubs his lines despite reading from a teleprompter. He forgets the names of his colleagues and gets lost on the White House lawn. He even struggles to wear his cardigan, falls asleep at global conferences, trips multiple times while ascending the stairs of Air Force One, and falls off a stationary bike.
Obviously, Biden isn't running the country.
His schedule shows he does very little in the White House. Biden is rarely subjected to any impromptu questions from the press. He frequently makes claims that the White House has to walk back. He frequently escapes to Delaware, perhaps to hide from the public.
Next is Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has been a U.S. senator for over three decades. Last month, Feinstein learned that her staff made a very important decision without consulting her: they announced her retirement from the Senate.
Feinstein was understandably left perplexed when informed, but she eventually accepted the decision. Feinstein has been a frequent subject of discussion regarding her mental acuity and fitness to serve. Feinstein's office recently released a statement that she was hospitalized due to shingles but expects to make a full recovery and return to the Senate this month. Feinstein is yet to return.
Now for Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who was sworn in early this January but had hardly attended a day in the Senate.
Fetterman has suffered from heart issues since 2017, and in 2019, he collapsed while presiding over the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Last May, Fetterman suffered a stroke due to a clot caused by his irregular heart rhythm but hid this crucial information from the public while running for the Senate.
But like Biden, it was obvious to even a casual observer that all is not well with Fetterman. His performance during the debate made it obvious that he was unable to comprehend and respond to questions. This was also observed by NBC reporter Dasha Burns. Yet the media joined hands to suggest that questioning Fetterman's health is an act of ableism.
When Fetterman's GOP rival, Dr. Oz, said law-making about abortion must be done by consulting a woman, her doctor, and local politicians, the media spun it as Oz saying that the politician must be involved during a decision to have an abortion.
These tricks worked, and Fetterman won.
Weeks after being sworn in, Fetterman checked himself into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for clinical depression.
Let's not forget Kamala Harris, who seems frequently befuddled while making statements or responding to questions; she seems to have dysfunctional mental and cognitive abilities. It seems most unlikely that she is capable of comprehending complex tasks and making decisions.
So what does one make of this?
Clearly, these elected representatives are being handled by invisible agents — i.e., puppet masters.
For the establishment in D.C., these puppets are a dream come true. The puppets probably rest all day during office hours owing to their condition or indifference or incapability. Their legacy and how history will judge them are the least of their concern.
When they appear in public, they read from prepared notes and vote or sign based on orders without any pushback. This enables them to push unpopular measures through Congress and beyond.
Perhaps there are many more such puppets in D.C. and beyond who simply follow orders. In exchange, there are myriad inducements for the puppet and his family — they will retire as multi-millionaires even if they serve for one term.
The least a citizen can expect in a democracy is that the individual who secures the maximum votes will be the one making the key decisions when in office. But a puppet eliminates accountability, which is an essential tenet of democracy.
Installing puppets and running governmental affairs via proxy are what occurs in third-world countries or military dictatorships or communist regimes or in ancient monarchies.
Leaders who become puppets owing to their health situation or their indifference or their corrupt proclivities have no place in the world's leading democracy.
PS: On a lighter note, these situations are reminiscent of the classic British Series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.
The two series depict the constant tussles between elected representatives and the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy always makes all the key decisions but spins webs of deceit around the elected representative to make him think he is in charge.
Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped).