It is going to be hard to forget the spectacle of President Joe Biden “celebrating” the passage of his woefully-named Inflation Reduction Act while the stock market plummeted in real time, dropping nearly 1,300 points Tuesday while Biden crowed about his great achievement.
The cable news clips were surreal. There was old man Biden, shaking his fist and shouting at the sky, while in the corner of the screen the Wall Street tracker kept ticking down, stocks plunging in reaction to persistent and worsening inflation. Even CNN had to interrupt coverage of Biden’s remarks to note that the stock market was tanking.
It takes a special kind of hubris to throw a White House victory party (with boomer icon James Taylor performing “Fire and Rain,” no less) for a bill allegedly meant to curb inflation amid the worst inflation in 40 years and the worst day for the stock market since Biden’s presidency began.
But then this is also an administration that outrageously claimed, during an historic border crisis, that it is doing more to secure the southern border than Trump ever did, raided the home of Mike Lindell (the My Pillow guy) for having an unapproved opinion about the 2020 election, and falsely stated that grocery prices have been “essentially flat” despite a new consumer price index report showing a 13.5 percent increase from last year. And that was all just on Tuesday.
Watching this sort of thing play out day after day, week after week, you start to get the sense that the Biden administration and the Democrats are play-acting at governance, that this is all a shoddy pantomime of what competent leaders might do or say.
That is why you are seeing clips of Vice President Kamala Harris on “Meet The Press” saying slowing, as if she is trying to remember the line, hands awkwardly raised for emphasis, “We have… a secure border.” That is why, at one point during the White House inflation party on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to prompt the audience to applaud after she thanked Biden for making “this glorious day possible.” We’re having a celebration here, folks. Act celebratory.
None of it is real. It is pure theater — a farce.
If Biden and the Democrats do not have much interest in actually governing, they have a keen interest in using force against their political opponents. That part of their agenda is very real; it consumes their attention and energy in a way that addressing inflation or the border crisis does not.
Hence the recent surge of subpoenas from Biden’s Justice Department for people associated with former President Donald Trump and the events of Jan. 6. The DOJ has now charged more than 870 people in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and it is becoming obvious, in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago raid, that Attorney General Merrick Garland would like very much to indict Trump himself ahead of the November midterms on charges vaguely connected to Jan. 6.
He might not be able to now that a federal judge, at Trump’s request, has appointed a special master in the case. The appointment of a special master to review the material seized by the FBI from Trump’s residence — a shocking 11,000 documents and 1,800 other items, including what the judge called “personal effects without evidentiary value” — means Garland might not be able to indict Trump before the November midterms, given the time it will take to go through all this material. But that is a risk Garland ran when he sent the FBI on what was clearly a fishing expedition.
As Margot Cleveland has fastidiously explained in these pages, the appointment of the special master in this case has already exposed the political nature of the raid, including what appears to be the direct involvement of Biden in launching the FBI’s investigation of his predecessor.
Without an indictment ahead of the midterms, it seems Democrats might have to settle for airing the next installment of their Soviet-style Jan. 6 hearings. The Jan. 6 committee is admittedly mostly theater, but unlike the White House inflation party with James Taylor this week, it has real teeth in the form of subpoenas that Biden’s Justice Department has been more than happy to enforce.
According to reporting from CBS News this week, however, the focus of the next round of televised hearings will merely confirm what many of us have already concluded: that the entire purpose of the committee is to criminalize support for Trump and trample on the First Amendment rights of anyone who dares to question the conduct or outcome of the 2020 election.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told CBS the committee still hoped to interrogate Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who vocally supported Trump during and after the 2020 election. They also want to question former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had the audacity to send emails to some of Trump’s senior advisors about political ads that, in Thompson’s words, “relied upon false claims about fraud in the 2020 election.”
Just to be clear: the Jan. 6 committee Democrats are proposing that anyone who thinks there was fraud in the 2020 election, anyone who thinks the election was something less than perfect, is fair game for hauling before the committee, being harassed by the FBI, having his property confiscated, maybe even indicted. In their world, having the wrong opinion about the election is tantamount to a crime. You might even get a visit from the FBI — better not delete your emails or destroy your devices. (That only works if your last name rhymes with Flinton.)
Whatever the committee ends up doing, rest assured it is part of a larger effort to go beyond mere political theater and use the levers of government power to ensure that Trump cannot run again, that his supporters are under investigation, and that anyone who disagrees with the regime about the last election has a target on their back.