Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
In the final months of the Trump administration, House Democrats universally voted to demand the unconstitutional use of the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.
The 25th Amendment was meant to remove presidents who were unable to discharge their duties. President Trump was clearly able to do so, but Biden may be exactly the disastrous scenario that the 25th Amendment was created to avoid. And he may be its worst test case.
A basic problem with the Biden administration is that there really isn’t one. Like most journalists I use the term as a formality, but the White House site calls it the Biden-Harris Administration. It’s not unheard of for younger presidents like George W. Bush to lean on more experienced vice presidents, but a politician who spent 46 years in public office letting a newbie like Kamala Harris handle most of the phone calls with foreign leaders is the opposite of that scenario.
The Biden campaign has been open about Kamala Harris being trained to step into Biden’s shoes because it doesn’t expect him to run for reelection or even make it through one term.
Except that presidents aren’t supposed to run for office as figureheads or stalking horses.
Kamala Harris isn’t talking to foreign leaders because she has more experience, but because the guy whose job it is to do it isn’t up to anything challenging beyond some photo ops, stumbling through a teleprompter speech, and then a trip back home over the weekend.
Don’t ask him to hold a press conference or pull off an actual State of the Union address.
Obama was the teleprompter-in-chief, but Biden is also the telecommuter-in-chief.
Biden’s face is everywhere, but there’s no real sign that he’s actually running anything. Instead the Biden administration seems to be exactly the kind of mess that the 25th Amendment was designed to prevent in which a non-functional president is the figurehead for the cabinet members and the special interests who are actually calling all the shots.
The Potemkin village that is the Biden administration was built in two tiers with establishment cabinet members who appear more moderate presented for Senate approval while extremists were being placed in key positions to set policy on everything from civil rights to Iran.
The big policy momentum though isn’t coming from the Biden administration, but from Pelosi.
The Obama administration called the shots, not Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. The Biden administration is filled with Obama’s old people, but there’s no leader in the White House to push forward an agenda. That’s why the most powerful elected official in the country isn’t Joe Biden or Kamala Harris: Nancy Pelosi has become the closest thing to POTUS.
Pelosi may not have all her marbles, but she’s got enough of them to advance an agenda. And she can also perform incredible feats like remember the name of the Secretary of Defense.
That’s more than Biden can do.
The issue isn’t just mental capacity. Biden can obviously be prepped to perform in public. He may have yet to hold a press conference, which even with softball questions might be daunting, and there’s no actual State of the Union in sight, but leading the country is a lot more than speechifying. It requires a focus and drive that Biden didn’t have during the campaign.
And that he very clearly still lacks.
What the guy in the Oval Office does, more than anything else, is exercise his judgement.
The President of the United States has to sort through national and international problems, get input from his appointees and advisers, pick and choose between the different factions around him, and make the final decision about a course of action. That is actually how the president runs the country and there’s no sign that Biden is doing that or is even capable of doing it.
The role of the Chief Executive exists because one person needs to make those decisions.
In Biden’s mental absence, various appointees chosen by his cronies, think tanks, and donors are making their own policy and their own decisions for a figurehead government. It’s the “I’m In Control” moment from the Reagan assassination writ large and with no end in sight.
Biden’s term will test the question of whether it’s better to have a bad president or no president.
The 25th Amendment was created to protect the presidential transition. The Biden administration is giving us a field test of what would happen with no presidential transition. Instead an inexperienced VP, various cabinet members and appointees, carve out their own territories, and run parts of the government in their own way while trying to avoid clashes.
The only man who can decisively settle the clashes when they come is out to lunch.
Monarchies have functioned with insane and senile kings, but America doesn’t have a prime minister. Instead, the Biden administration is there to sign off on anything Pelosi proposes and Schumer manages to pass, while its cabinet officials flail and the radicals behind the scenes wreck the country making this a farcical rerun of the Obama administration without Obama.
Biden’s old boss could have tried to dominate the administration, but he despised Biden too much to come on board until the very last second. Obama’s own chosen candidates, including a hilarious failure by Deval Patrick, crashed and burned, giving him very little sway. The Left had coalesced around Bernie and no one is giving Obama any credit for swinging the election.
That role instead went to Stacey Abrams.
The only way that Obama could have kept his central role would have been to pull a Clinton and hold out hope that Michelle was going to run. But Michelle didn’t want to run, and without a potential presidential candidate in his pocket, there was no reason for anyone to listen to Obama. Deals with Netflix and Spotify are the perfect sinecures for the laziest man in the White House since Jimmy Carter, but it’s not enough money to duplicate the old Clinton machine.
The Biden administration was built out of the wreckage of the Obama and Sanders campaigns, but staffers and appointees are only loyal to whoever can get them their next job. That’s not Obama and it’s not Biden who can’t name his own Secretary of Defense. It’s the think tanks and non-profits who built the Obama administration and built an even more radical Biden admin.
But non-profits and think tanks can’t actually run a government. Neither can Biden.
That’s why there isn’t a Biden administration. There’s an ongoing Netroots conference on government property. That’s why Jen Psaki can’t answer any real questions. The press secretary is supposed to speak for the White House, but there’s no one to speak for. Like a plane with no airport, she keeps circling back because there’s no administration position.
It’s also why the Biden administration keeps wading into culture wars. They’re comfortable territory and a good distraction from the fact that the lights are on, but nobody’s home. Picking a fight with Tucker Carlson or extending the D.C. military occupation buys a little more time for everyone to figure how an administration can function with no final decision maker at the top.
Forget Harry Truman’s ‘The Buck Stops Here’. There’s nowhere for the buck to stop.
The military occupation of Washington D.C. would be bad under any administration, but deploying the military indefinitely when there isn’t a functional chain of command is ominous. Power-sharing arrangements, like those of the Soviet Union’s Troikas, are the likeliest to break down and descend into violence. And then the military becomes the ultimate power play.
Combine a looming 25th Amendment, a military occupation of Washington D.C., and a leadership that, despite appearances is actually deeply at odds, and the situation is explosive.
Outwardly, if you watch the media, everything appears normal. But it usually does.
The old journalism has been mostly replaced by reporters who only know how to cover social justice issues. They can cover the Biden administration through the lens of race or sex, but don’t ask them to do basic things like figure out who’s making the decisions in the White House.
The facade of normalcy that readers get from the New York Times or that viewers get from CNN comes apart in a crisis. A divided government can run its own spheres of influence, but when faced with something bigger, whether it’s the pandemic, or the border crisis, it all falls apart.
The Biden administration is the equivalent of one of those cartoons of a bunch of kids standing on each other’s shoulders while draped in a trenchcoat so they can all pretend to be one adult.
The illusion holds up until they try to walk.
The Biden illusion holds up as long as all the various parts of the administration are busy dealing with their own problems, but when there’s a national or international crisis, then it becomes obvious that no one is making the overall decisions and no one knows how to do it.
Biden’s people are doing plenty of damage by commission, but if an actual crisis breaks out, such as a war or an economic collapse, they’ll do even more damage by omission. And that’s the ticking time bomb in this administration that the 25th Amendment was designed for.
But it is a Biden-Harris administration. The Biden part of it is running things more or less in Biden’s mental absence. And that inner circle of Biden’s D.C. advisers and loyalists is going to resist ceding power to Kamala’s sister and the California crowd. That’s a major reason why Biden’s leading cabinet members are more moderate than many of their subordinates.
A key role of Biden’s cabinet appointees is stalemating a 25th Amendment coup by Kamala.
Any attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment would lead to legal challenges that would require defining, among other things, which cabinet members can legally vote on Biden’s removal.
Sending the question to the Roberts Court would just stalemate it further. The same court that was unwilling to take a stand on the election is not about to decide who should be president.
Faced with an irresolvable legal battle, there’s always all those soldiers deployed in D.C.
The Biden administration is a disaster because it restores the rule of a radicalized leftist machine. But it could potentially be an even bigger disaster because it’s got a figurehead at the top of a house of cards that could easily collapse or trigger a civil war in a major crisis.
That’s another urgent reason why the military occupation of Washington D.C. needs to end.
If the Biden administration’s power-sharing arrangement catastrophically breaks down in a 25th Amendment scenario, none of the factions should have an easy recourse to armed force in a government town where using the military to deal with a political crisis has become the answer.
The media spent the Trump administration hypocritically lecturing the country about the violation of political norms. Now there are soldiers in D.C. and no functioning commander-in-chief.
The real violation of political norms is going to be spectacular.