Former Vice President Joe Biden’s unsteady demeanor at his first press conference in nearly three months on Tuesday reinforced the idea that he is not going to be in charge of his own administration if he is elected president in November.
The Biden administration will be run behind the scenes by a mixture of old establishment hands and young radicals. In effect, it will pursue the policies of Bernie Sanders, with the personnel of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
It will be a regency, not a presidency — or, perhaps more accurately, a government by a central committee, or a politburo.
The Soviet Union, after all, had a head of state whose role was largely ceremonial. Real power was exerted by the leader (or general secretary) of the Communist Party, also known as the premier, who used the politburo to run the government.
Joseph Stalin is notorious; less well known is Mikhail Kalinin, who was the Soviet head of state for most of Stalin’s rule.
Biden is being cast as the kindly, gentle grandfather, a comforter who says he can heal the nation’s wounds through his own personal experience of grief. His rhetoric is actually rather alarmist: he has been saying for more than a year that we are in a “battle” for the “soul of the nation,” and he persists in libeling his opponent as being a neo-Nazi sympathizer.
But in his behavior, he presents himself as the temperamental opposite of Trump. The mask he wears is not just a public health measure — he can barely remember not to fumble with it — but also a sign that he is tame, that his gaffe-prone mouth is safely tucked away, that he is prepared to be a sort of political eunuch while others run his campaign.
Biden’s job is to show a contrast — not just to the energetic, and erratic, Trump, but also to the rampaging masses in the streets, the anarchists of the CHOP, the woke mobs of the cancel culture.
He spoke gently on Tuesday of defending Washington and Columbus — after the Black Lives Matter riots had torn down or defaced monuments for weeks. He talks about defending the Constitution — as his underlings issue demands that social media companies censor his rival.
This is the Soviet model — the ceremonial head of state in office; the masses embroiled in constant revolution in the streets; the commissars behind the scenes issuing threats and quietly suppressing criticism and opposition.
Our slavish press corps, who could not be bothered to ask Biden about his newly-exposed role in the plot to persecute (not just prosecute) Michael Flynn, are eager to play the Greek chorus for Biden, after playing the gladiator against Trump.
Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, called her husband a “moderate” on Tuesday. Biden resisted that label, vigorously, last year. He continued moving leftward in recent weeks.
Now he has a new role to play: the acceptable figurehead of a revolution.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.