At first glance, the Democrats seem about to nominate Chance the Gardener (later Chauncey Gardener), the anti-hero of the dark comedy film “Being There” as their presidential candidate.
“Being There”—for those who missed or have forgotten the Oscar-nominated 1979 film of a Jerzy Kosinski novel—is the tale of an innocent Washington, D.C., gardener who is mistaken by important people for someone of remarkable insight despite, or because of, his simple-minded, often inscrutable, observations about life. By the end of the movie (and novel), he is on his way to the presidency.
The moral of the story is, of course, that almost anyone—actually anyone—could attain that post.
Chance/Chauncey was played by the late Peter Sellers, who did a brilliant job of portraying the vacuous character who, as some have noted, bears a distinct resemblance to Joe Biden.
But Biden, despite his diminishing mental competence that leads him to make increasingly bizarre statements, some of which make little or no sense, isn’t quite Chauncey Gardener.
The original Chance was a sweet innocent. Biden always was an ambitious type with a dubious past. He has been a repeat plagiarist,.
Nevertheless, something cruel, even sadistic, emanates from the nomination of someone either over or on the edge of senility. Considering how Joe is now, think about how he will be in two or three years in the midst of his presidency.
The potential for public humiliation is high, as is the necessity to surround him with “advisers” to prop him up to avoid catastrophe.
But that may be the point. A particularly mediocre group of candidates failed, but will get a second chance.
Some are asking how the likes of Corey Booker and Kamala Harris—both of whom had absolutely terrible things to say about Biden during the debates; Harris even implied he was a bigot—suddenly are lining up behind Joe as if he were the man anointed to unite a ruptured America.
Part of this is undoubtedly that they sense a vacuum to be filled. Nobody’s home. There’s no “there” in “Being There” and someone—Booker, Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, any of a number of people—will be calling the shots in reality from behind the scenes.
With a president not entirely present, the opportunities for mischief are greater than usual. They all want a piece of that potential action, the chance to rule by proxy. Who knows who will win this competition for control or if we will ever know who did.
Forget Truman’s famous, “The buck stops here.” It would be, “The buck stops where?”
That’s something to contemplate in the midst of what we can now call, in the tradition of Daniel Defoe, a “Plague Year.”
People are screaming at President Donald Trump as if he caused the new coronavirus, or didn’t act, or acted too soon (which is it?), or suppressed his scientists who nevertheless seem to be talking endlessly on TV and on and on.
But at least these people have someone to blame. What if they didn’t? What if, like Chauncey Gardner, what he said made no sense? What if the leader couldn’t remember he was quoting the Declaration of Independence or thought 150 million Americans died last year in gun violence?
Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political columnist. He is also a prize-winning novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter. His latest book is “.” Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.