“THAT POOR SON OF A BITCH:” Biden Once Pitied an Older Politician Reluctant to Leave the Stage.

After one address, I believe in 1994, one of the lawmakers I pigeonholed was Sen. Joe Biden, who was then in his early 50s. I’d interviewed him a few times before, but certainly not enough to expect him to lower his guard. We chatted about President Bill Clinton’s speech. And then the topic turned to Biden’s ambition to become chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The then-holder of that office, Claiborne Pell, was in his late 70s and showing signs of the Parkinson’s disease that he’d later disclose.

I asked Biden if given Pell’s diminished capacity, he’d make a move to replace him. “That poor son of a bitch,” Biden replied. Pell was no longer up for the job, he told me, but like so many of his elderly colleagues, Pell couldn’t imagine a life outside Congress.

I was stunned by Biden’s comments. Not by his analysis of Pell, which was spot on. But what surprised me was Biden’s casual willingness to share candid thoughts with a reporter whom he didn’t know well and had no reason to trust. It was the type of indiscretion that has followed Biden to this day. In this case, it didn’t do any harm. I had no intention of writing about Pell. But it’s not every day a senator refers to a colleague with that kind of language, so the moment stayed with me.

For years after, and especially when he ran for president, I’d cite the Pell story when explaining to friends or others that Biden wasn’t a typical politician. His lack of discipline, I’d argue, was a sign he’s as close to a “regular guy” as you’ll ever get in a presidential candidate. To me, his refusal to be a robot with pre-programmed talking points was an appealing attribute.

Now that Biden himself has acknowledged that age is catching up to him, that moment takes on new meaning. Biden is now clinging to power when it’s obvious to all — except perhaps those related to him or dependent upon him for money and prestige — that he needs to step aside.

Add the Politico to the ever-growing list: All the Democrats who have called on Joe Biden to quit.

OPEN THREAD: It’s your turn.

JIM TREACHER: Now We’ve Got Ear Truthers.

Now we know why Luke Skywalker vanished. He was kidnapped by BlueAnon.

Hamill makes a good point, though: Trump didn’t need that bandage on his ear before he was nearly murdered at a rally.

When Hamill alludes to the bandage being “not needed prior to tonight,” he’s referring to another element of the Ear Truther conspiracy theory: “Buh-buh-but Trump went golfing the next day!”

Well, no he didn’t. If you see a picture or video of Trump golfing, and somebody says it was taken the day after the assassination attempt, either they’re lying or they’ve fallen for a lie. (My pal Damin Toell has done a great job debunking this lunacy.)

It’s very important to a certain segment of Americans — let’s call them “Democrats” — to try to debunk the idea that Trump was almost assassinated.

Because that would make him a victim. And there’s nobody in the world liberals value more than a victim.

But how could that be? He’s Literally Hitler!

So this triggers cognitive dissonance inside their tiny little brains, and they need to find some way to relieve it. They go online and find somebody saying what they need to hear, and it makes them feel better, and they pass it on to other morons.

Including former GOP chairman Michael Steele, who is now a classic “Republican who never votes for other Republicans” talking head on MSNBC: MSNBC Pushes Debunked Conspiracy Theory that Trump Wasn’t Shot, Glass.

Despite the graphic photographic evidence from different angles showing former President Trump was missing chunks of his right ear after being shot in the head during a failed assassination attempt over the weekend, MSNBC host Michael Steele wasted oxygen during the network’s coverage of Night Two of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday to spew debunked fringe conspiracy theories claiming Trump wasn’t actually hit by a bullet.

“Where I am at this point, it’s been three days, going on four…and yet, we have not received a medical report from the hospital nor have we received a medical report from the campaign or from the Trump organization about the extent of the damage to his ear,” he decried.

Steele, who’s not a ballistics expert nor was he pro-gun rights in any meaningful way, bloviated about how “If he was shot by a high-caliber bullet, there should probably be very little ear there. And so we would like to know that.”

* * * * * * * *

He went on to falsely speculate that Trump may not have even been hit by a bullet: “Was it caused by a bullet as opposed to some reports from those on the scene, other reporters, saying that it was actually shards of glass from the teleprompter itself, not the bullet?”

One of the liberal media’s favorite fact-checkers, Snopes even debunked the nonsense Steele was peddling. “The assertion that glass, not a bullet, caused the injury is undercut by the fact that photographs show no damage to the teleprompters allegedly hit to produce the broken glass, by a New York Times photograph capturing a bullet passing by Trump’s ear,” they wrote. They cited Getty Images used by USA Today to show that both teleprompters were completely intact.

As Treacher writes, “even if Trump was hit by a piece of glass that was struck by a bullet, not the bullet itself, wouldn’t that mean… somebody shot a bullet at him?”

But then Steele himself is a minor player in the road to Trump: He sat by passively in 2009 while then-CNN host D. L. Hughley said that John McCain supporters ‘literally look like Nazi Germany,’ and in 2022, Steele called MAGA Republicans “lice, fleas, and blood-sucking ticks.”

PRIME DAY DEAL: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream with SPF 30. #CommissionEarned I started using Kiehl’s products in NYC when they had a small store in the Village. I have always been happy with this face cream.

THE END OF JOE BIDEN—AND THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT:

Democratic submission to hierarchy is astonishing. Biden has been in physical and mental decline for years. Gavin Newsom, governor of California, almost indecently lusts after the presidency. Yet Newsom must genuflect before the president and pledge allegiance to his cause. In name at least, Biden is boss. The rules of the game must be adhered to, without exception.

With Biden, the establishment was presented with a difficult challenge: it was reality itself that needed fixing. The president, we have seen, is an inarticulate speaker, has a bizarre personality, is notoriously thin-skinned and lacks humor and charm as a public person. Furthermore, his administration has been responsible for one disaster after another, at home and abroad. All that had to be fixed. The fictional replica of Biden required an equally fictional—and magnificent—record of achievement.

In an effort that has to be unparalleled in our history, every American institution, from the prestige press to the digital platforms, from academia to the entertainment world and very much including the federal bureaucracy, was recruited to portray President Biden as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. He was said to be caring, empathetic, a totally normal Everyday Joe who bonded easily with racial minorities—but also serious about his duties, the dignified adult in the room, a reliable ally who would never be manipulated by Vladimir Putin. His administration had defeated the pandemic, saved the economy, embraced migrants of all races, ended a forever war in Afghanistan, and somehow protected Ukraine, Israel, and Hamas simultaneously. As for the president’s age, he was old but wise, sharp in private though a stutterer in public and surrounded by the best and brightest in any case.

Nothing like this had been seen before. For the Democrats in power to spin the truth was predictable. For the institutions of information and knowledge to debase themselves so completely on behalf of a political nonentity added to their crisis of authority by precipitating a depressing meltdown of integrity.

An alternate universe was invented and imposed on the American public. It was far more seamless and glimmering than reality. As in the Greek fable, the creators fell in love with their creation. Establishment elites moved their minds permanently to Bidenworld, where the boss was an energetic leader and his policies were always successful. Biden himself, one suspects, fused with his towering replica. The rest of us were told to ignore the evidence of our eyes and salute.

Biden’s actual appearances generated uncertainty and unease, but these were carefully staged and kept to a minimum. Here was the truth of the matter: Bidenworld functioned better without Biden. He was, in fact, its greatest obstacle, and would turn out to be the instrument of its destruction.

As Daniel Greenfield asked and answered last week (which seems like a lifetime ago, in terms of political news): Who’s Running the Country?

That network, which we occasionally call by wholly inadequate names like the “establishment” or “D.C. insiders” is the reason Biden is up again in 2024. And why he can’t be gotten rid of.

People who naively think that Obama is secretly running the Biden administration don’t understand the network or how it works. Obama took on Hillary when it was her ‘turn’ in 2008. He won and brokered a deal that moved the Democrat network further leftward. And he did the same thing again in 2020, bringing in Bernie Sanders’ people and Elizabeth Warren’s people (and his own people) so that the Biden administration is even more radical and extreme than his was.

But where did Obama come from? He came out of that network of radical activists, donors and government personnel now running the country. Obama is not a brilliant genius or one-man dynamo, he was a lazy and unoriginal activist lawyer, one of tens of thousands of Ivy Leaguers who join the political side of the network, who wanted to live out his egotistical ambitions.

And the leftist networks gave him the opportunity to do it in exchange for seeding it deeper across the Democrat Party, the government and the country. Then his time came.

Obama did not want Biden to succeed him. He pushed Biden out in favor of Hillary, and then tried to bring in a surprise candidate to run against him in 2020. But some things are sacred and not even Obama, especially once out of the White House, could take away Biden’s ‘turn’ twice.

It’s not really Biden’s ‘turn’ though. It’s the turn of the strategists, lobbyists, staffers, donors, allies and more nebulous figures known as ‘friends’ whom he accrued over the years. They’re invested in his success, and they’re profiting from it. And they won’t easily give it up.

Trying to replace Biden with Gavin Newsom (aside from the legal and logistical issues) would be a clash of two networks that would require either careful negotiations or outright civil war. It’s done all the time with primary rivals who become vice presidents or cabinet members, but displacing a sitting president who also won the nomination and has raised and spent a massive fortune would require a level of delicate negotiations akin to bringing peace to an African civil war.

Especially if that president is unstable, prone to fits of anger, and is insulated by the same political allies whose wealth and power depend on Biden winning a second term in office.

It’s not just about Jill and Hunter Biden. Joe Biden has tens of thousands of political mouths to feed. Money has been collected, favors promised, people have bought homes in D.C. bedroom communities, lobbyists have secured fat contracts and donors have opened up their wallets.

Replacing Biden with another candidate would upend much of D.C., put tens of billions of dollars in flux and create massive instability in this corrupt local economy. Much of D.C. would rather ride it out (especially since the campaign people will make just as much money if Biden loses) and preserve the integrity of the networks and the illicit pinkie swears that allow special interests to buy influence without having to worry if their man will suddenly be swapped out.

That is what “it’s his turn” really means.

It all feels so late-period Soviet, as VDH wrote last week: Our Brezhnev, Our Pravda, Our Soviet Union…

UPDATE:

MORE: Prior to Biden’s covid announcement, he “met in Las Vegas Wednesday with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film producer and a top campaign adviser, who conveyed a warning: The president’s donors’ patience is wearing thin, and their cash soon will, too.”

GREAT MOMENTS IN BURYING THE LEDE: Ex-CIA Analyst Worked for South Korea in Exchange for Louis Vuitton Handbag: Prosecutors.

A former senior official of the White House National Security Council who also once worked as an analyst for the CIA has been indicted on criminal charges accusing her of working as an agent for the government of South Korea allegedly in exchange for luxury gifts including designer handbags.

Sue Mi Terry, the wife of Washington Post columnist Max Boot, was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to an indictment made public Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors allege that Terry promoted South Korea’s policy positions, disclosed nonpublic U.S. government information to South Korean intelligence officers, and facilitated access for South Korean government officials to their American counterparts.

Max Boot, eh?

‘MURICA:

Complete with fist pump.