WILLIAMS COLUMN: When Fiction Became Reality

Published 9:00 am Friday, July 5, 2024

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This past week saw the much-ballyhooed Presidential debate between presumptive nominees Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The first debate between two men who have each already held the office of President, and earlier on the calendar than usual.

Trumps job was to show up thoughtful and controlled, deliver cohesive policy positions, and let insults slide. It was not his best performance but he met the mark.

Biden’s job was just to show up and not drool on himself. He failed.

There has never been a bar set lower for the leader of the free world. Just remain standing, and avoid drifting into incoherence. Don’t look feeble or confused. What we got was a steaming pile of political mush.

It was not a “cheap fake”, or a “vast right-wing conspiracy”. We saw what we saw and heard what we heard. The President of the United States is in bad shape. The emperor has no clothes.

Biden had just spent a week with his team at Camp David resting and preparing. If what we saw on the debate stage is what happens after seven days of diligent prep then God help us if the job actually got…..I don’t know….stressful!

It became painfully obvious that Biden is infirm. He is not up to the task of running the country. Which leads to the ultimate question: Who is running the country?

You couldn’t write fiction like this? Or could you?

In 1993 an all-star cast hit the big screen in “Dave”. Starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley, the plot had Kline’s character, Dave Kovic, using his uncanny likeness to the sitting President as a side-gig impersonating POTUS at events. But when the real President had a stroke the power brokers behind the scenes called on Kovic to stand in. They could not abide by the Vice President who was merely a figurehead to get votes. The First Lady just loved being the First Lady, and had stayed in her marriage so that she could access the weight of the presidency for her own agenda. The fraud of the century occurred as “Dave” became the face of the Presidency so that the “real” decision makers could run the show from the wings.

The decision-makers in “Dave” built a false physical image of the President using someone they felt sure they could control. Too late they realized that Dave Kovic, aka the President, still had to go out in public. He began to say things they had not planned for. He became a liability. Then he wouldn’t leave.

At what point did Hollywood fiction become our reality?

To be clear, I am not saying that the Joe Biden in our White House is an imposter. Despite obvious cosmetic surgery I feel confident that the Joe Biden we have now is the same Joe Biden who duked it out with Cornpop oh so many years ago. But he is no longer controllable. They don’t know what he is going to say. And he just won’t leave.

Joe Biden is akin to moviedom’s Dave Kovic. The guy holding the office while others pull the strings. The guy, who for all his faults and foibles, is still preferable to the Vice President who was a great diversity hire to get votes. The guy whose wife seems more wed to his position than to his person.

It is both maddening and saddening all at one time.

Maddening, in that we are all affected. National Security, the economy, the border, energy independence, regulatory burdens, you name it. Whether you voted for him or not, the fact remains that the people deserve to know that their elected official is actually doing that which he was elected to do. What we saw on the debate belies any confidence that Joe Biden is the decisionmaker-in-chief.

Saddening, in that we can clearly see what those close to him have undoubtedly known for so long. Those that claim to love Joe Biden are failing him by thrusting him out on a stage which he no longer has the grit for. Shame on his family and inner circle for not allowing him to retire with dignity by now.

That Biden’s physical and mental competence is in question is distressing. Biden still has over six months left in this term. The world can catch fire overnight. Every bad guy in the world saw that debate and began to question whether now was the time for the malign action they have been contemplating.

So what to do? What ever will the power brokers who make his pudding and sign his letters do? They can’t lose power. They can’t abide their own VP. He just won’t leave. Yet.

Minutes after the debate the hue and cry for Biden to step down began ringing out. The New York Times editorial board called for Biden to exit the race calling his candidacy a “reckless gamble”. Liberal Alabama columnist Kyle Whitmire posted on X (formerly Twitter) that “Democrats can’t weekend at Bernie’s their way to another four years.” Former Obama advisor Van Jones went all the way there, saying, “We’re still far from the convention. And there is time for this party to figure out a different way forward, if he will allow us to do that.”

Thus far Biden has rejected the notion of dropping out of the race. In the absence of a voluntary exit Democrats are left kicking rocks and plotting in uncharted waters. Not since the floor fights of the 1972 Democratic National Convention has this much uncertainty accompanied a candidacy.

The American people deserve better. They deserve to know who is making decisions that affect every aspect of their daily lives. One thing is sure: It’s not Joe Biden.

With Joe Biden fiction is reality.