Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice once said that he was “the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.” No matter what was going on, he always wound up the center of attention.
The same could be said for former President Donald Trump. No matter what’s going on, he somehow seems to wind up driving the conversation. (Several years ago, when I wrote a column for another newspaper having nothing to do with Trump — I was writing about the theory, popular in Silicon Valley, that our universe is just a computer simulation like a giant version of The Sims — the editors added a reference to Trump in the sub-headline. For traffic, I guess!)
And today’s news almost seems calculated to bring Trump to the forefront. You have the FBI’s questionable raid on Mar-a-Lago, where the same agency that covered up Hunter Biden’s laptop sent G-men to run their fingers through Melania’s underwear. You have President Joe Biden’s positively Mephistophelean red-lit speech in Philadelphia following his declaration that his opponents are “semi-fascists.” You have Democratic officeholders in New York and Georgia trying to prosecute Trump. All generating steady Trump-related headlines.
Well, if it seems calculated to bring Trump to the forefront, it’s because it is calculated to bring Trump to the forefront. The truth is, the Biden people would rather this election be a referendum on Trump than a referendum on Biden.
That’s because if it’s a referendum on Biden, the Democrats will lose, hands-down.
And the press knows this, which is why it’s cooperating.
If the Democrats have to run on Biden’s record, they’re doomed. Biden fumbled COVID and continues to send mixed messages with random mask-on, mask-off appearances. Now the administration has fumbled monkeypox, with shortages and misapplications of vaccines and other public-health remedies.
Those public-health debacles pale in comparison to the Biden economic failures, though. The administration’s wild spending spree has promoted inflation, which has further been made worse by its regulatory explosion that’s reduced supplies of food, energy and fertilizer.
The press, duly carrying water, tries to pretend things are getting better: Inflation is up, but it’s slowing! Gas prices are still much higher than in the past several years, but they’ve fallen a bit off their peak! Food’s still expensive, but you probably needed to lose weight anyway, you fatty! (And besides, you should be eating bugs to help the climate.) And the media have just stopped talking about the ongoing baby-formula shortage — if they don’t mention it, it doesn’t exist!
Interest rates are skyrocketing, which together with inflation is making homeownership harder for younger people trying to start families.
Small businesses, already hammered by pointless COVID lockdowns, are suffering under inflation and new regulations — and Biden is hiring 87,000 new IRS agents to audit them.
As Rep. Thomas Massie notes, the talk was of auditing billionaires, but the IRS recruiting video is about “taking down a landscape business owner who failed to properly report how he paid for his vehicles,” not “taking down a billionaire who uses the corporate jet for private trips.” (Hey, the IRS knows which side its bread is buttered on.) As The Post reported, 80% of new IRS revenue will come from small businesses earning less than $200,000 a year.
Then there’s Biden’s student-loan forgiveness program, which even The Atlantic calls a “legal mess,” but which also takes tax money from working-class people who never went to college to pay for the student loans of upper-class people who did. A Post column noted that 70% of the debt forgiven will belong to people in the top 60% of the income distribution.
And under Biden’s open-door border policy, millions of illegal migrants have been waved into the country.
The Ukraine war slogs on, after Biden essentially invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade in January. (His handlers tried to walk it back, but the damage was done.) And, of course, Biden’s unrelenting war on domestic energy production has magnified the impact of oil and gas shortages resulting from Putin’s war, and the sanctions, on American businesses and citizens.
Plus, there’s Biden’s disastrous skedaddle from Afghanistan, undoubtedly the most humiliating and unnecessary military defeat in US history — a defeat that’s depressing military recruitment as potential recruits don’t trust their potential commanders to do their jobs. This alone should cost the Democrats a crushing defeat in the midterms.
And it will, if people are talking about that and about the other failures I’ve listed.
Which is why Democrats and the press — but I repeat myself — want us to talk about Trump instead.
They should face it: Biden is a failed president. He’s incompetent, he’s corrupt, and worst of all he’s mean, constantly showing hatred for his fellow Americans merely because they oppose him politically. America is already much worse off because of him.
Talk about that between now and November.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.