First General Milley admits to his mistake when he walks over to the park with the president, in his combat fatigues no less, about a week and a half ago. He agrees with all of his colleagues, including General Mattis, that the military does not involve itself in domestic politics. Then Joe Biden, in entirely separate remarks, has these gems to convey by way of warning President Trump, and not coincidentally, Trump’s backers as well. He warns that if President Trump loses a close contest, Trump could well charge voter fraud, and refuse to leave the White House. May as well get that possibility out there five months before the election. This quadrennial contest may be even more interesting than the last one.
Former vice-president Biden, however, is not worried about Trumpian shenanigans in November. Do you know why? Because the military will step in and force Trump to leave the White House, thus assuring a peaceful transition of power. Well why in the world did I not think of that solution? I mean, if you have a contested election, like the one we had in 2000, don’t you think the military is the best way to settle the problem? I mean, look what a mess the Supreme Court made of the whole thing twenty years ago, and they did not even have guns. They had no constitutional authority for their opinion, either. They simply appointed George W. Bush president, and called it a day.
A lot of people remember that dark day, and would remember it even if George W. had been an exemplary president. He was not. He failed his country and his fellow citizens, and probably did more harm in eight years than all the other bad presidents who tried to set the lowest possible standard before him. If you want to measure failure in terms of harm done, Bush’s accomplishments lie way out there, far beyond our current president.
So now Biden, who was still a senator back in 2000, warns us that we will have to bring in the generals and all their gear, including heavy armor I imagine, if Trump stays holed up in the White House past his welcome. I wonder if the army might send one of their humongous choppers to hover over the Rose Garden in the evening, while Trump tries to enjoy dinner. Perhaps they’ll blast the White House grounds with heavy metal, or perhaps the Grateful Dead, with speakers big enough for Shea stadium. If those techniques do not work, soldiers can deploy gaseous substances that cause tears, along with flash grenades and non-lethal bullets, to roust out the first family. Give the man a one-way ticket to Mar A Lago while he looks around the Lincoln bedroom for a gas mask.
Can Biden possibly be serious? Did a presidential candidate blithely say that if one side declares victory and the other side cries fraud, we’ll call in the army to settle things? Is that how far we have come down banana republic road? Actually, that is an insult to Central and South American countries. I have never heard a leader south of the border say he preferred to ride into the presidential compound on a tank, figuratively speaking. That is not a good way to begin your tenure. Yet we have a presidential candidate who, five months in advance, says that is exactly what he’ll do if necessary. If you think Trump’s weaknesses have made it hard for him to establish himself as an effective chief executive, imagine Biden riding in looking like Michael Dukakis with a helmet on. Again, that’s a figurative comparison, but the effect on Biden’s legitimacy would be far more grave than the tank snapshot’s effect on Dukakis’s campaign.
So how did we reach this point? We routinely call each other traitors now. The president could welcome his guests in Lafayette Park with water bottles and Gatorade, maybe even chocolate chip cookies, but he sends out scores of military police instead. Perhaps what we have been through since Minneapolis makes it easier for both the president and his challenger to think, “If I just get the military on my side, I can hold onto power.” That is how every dictator – I should say military dictator – thinks through every situation. Dictators rule with military forces at their sides, military forces rule through dictators. Biden’s nomination is still two months away, and he talks as if he wants to clean house at 1600 Pennsylvania. You just call in several Humvees to launch gas canisters through the front windows. Good luck to you, Joe. We’re all with you.
These two short paragraphs show the quality of Biden’s reasoning:
Biden said he has considered the possibility that Mr. Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses. But he said he was encouraged after seeing former and current U.S. military officials speak out against the president’s support for using force against peaceful protesters calling for police reform.
“I was so damn proud. You have four chiefs of staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump, and you have so many rank-and-file military personnel saying, ‘Whoa, we’re not a military state. This is not who we are,'” Biden said. “I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”
People said during the primary campaign that Biden was not ‘with it’. At the end he says, “We are not a military state, but I’m convinced the military will install me in office if necessary.” I have always thought that presidents do not have to be all that intelligent. You need a lot of qualities, but you don’t need to be a genius. You do need to be able to think, though.