IntimidateThe intimidating background consisted of FBI raids on Biden’s most prominent political opponent and that opponent’s key supporters; an FBI invasion of the office of a sitting member of Congress—thereby violating one of our most treasured constitutional traditions; indefinite incarceration of Jan. 6 defendants; illegal COVID-19 decrees; the militarization of federal agencies; censorship cooperation between the administration and social media; 87,000 new IRS agents (many with guns); and the political purge of the U.S. military.
- Any citizens active in conservative or Republican causes who receive Social Security or disability checks;
- veterans who depend on post-service benefits;
- business people dependent on government contracts or on a benign regulatory environment;
- media relying on government access; and
- social media platforms eager to preserve their immunity—under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—from the liability to which other media are subject.
AngerBut the administration knows that all its adversaries can't be intimidated. Those whom it could not intimidate, it tried to anger. The infuriating background was the run-up of federal debt to levels that can never be paid off; fabricating still more expensive and destructive government programs; robbing productive and responsible Americans, so as to “forgive” loans paid to Biden’s university constituency; and methodical destruction of our currency and our border.
Biden also charged his political opponents with doing precisely what the left does: try to corrupt elections, promote violence, and trash the Constitution. His handlers know that a great way to get under an opponent’s skin is to accuse that person of doing precisely what he is most passionately against.
The Speech Backfired, However ...Yet, the speech backfired. Criticism was very widespread. It came even from liberals and from some in the establishment media. True, the speech did provoke some anger, but (regretfully, from the viewpoint of the administration) no violence.
The “however” is that the bullies who dominate Biden’s administration aren't about to give up. They will take more action; and when they do, the action may not be of the kind possible to ridicule: expanded raids and/or incarceration of political opponents, extortion of media and social media, and more efforts to destroy or neuter the productive middle class.
Biden’s Sept. 1 speech—much of which he reaffirmed on Sept. 5—provided the justification for further action: We must destroy “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic” ... “a threat to this country” ... a movement to “undermine democracy itself” with “authoritarian leaders” who “fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights.”
In other words, we must use government power to suppress critics of the Biden administration.
In their view, elections that reject their oligarchy—I mean “our democracy”—could only have been “decide[d]” by “partisans and cronies” trying to “undermine democracy itself.” Did not Biden affirm that “We can’t let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos”? And did he not say that he “will not stand by and watch” such a process unfold? After all, protecting “our democracy ... is within our power, it’s in our hands.”
The Constitutional SolutionThis is supposed to be a column about the Constitution, not about current politics, but there is a constitutional angle here. During the 20th century, many nations lost their freedom and fell into authoritarianism or totalitarianism. One factor that distinguishes them from us, however, is that they didn't have the benefit of the U.S. Constitution.
In such a crisis, the state governors will be central. As chief executives of their respective states, they will have to find ways to protect their citizens.
Fortunately, many states have governors with no illusions about this administration, and who understand what its direction is likely to be.
If those governors haven't begun already to plan for a crisis, they had better start now.