In second grade, I was given a project that others may also recall from their elementary years: answering the question “What if I were president?”
I don’t remember the point of the exercise—to develop coloring skills, I suppose—but perhaps due to the age requirement in the Constitution, the Oval Office seemed, even then, like a distant and unlikely reality.
The charisma, the drive and singular focus needed to become leader of the free world all felt out of reach to a boy regularly punished for taking too long to finish subtraction problems. The pinnacle of my youthful ambition was to spin in circles at farthest reaches of the baseball field and stomp on bees unfortunate enough to land in the clover.
Yet, somehow, in the intervening 30 years, becoming president now seems even more remote and untenable than it did at that age.
Deep State Rising
It is becoming clearer every day that the oligarchs who manage the marionette strings of US power are unwilling to tolerate any deviations from their proprietary brand of democracy.
And it has likely been that way for much longer than we realize.
From the election (in my second-grade year) of former CIA director George H. W. Bush, the rise of the hegemonic Establishment has been easy to chart—at least in hindsight.
Of course, some may rightly feel, in retrospect, that the years of debating who best reflected our conservative values—the Bushes, Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney—seemed a bit of a fool’s errand.
Maybe some truly believed that their Grand Old Party was the champion of the middle-class. Nonetheless, they made a calculated decision to put consensus, compromise and appeasement above all else—even after the radical Left made clear that it was taking hostages and was not open to negotiating.
Tellingly, when it came time to stand behind not only the most rudimentary but even the most sacrosanct of American values espoused by our Constitution, these former leaders let America’s enemies within yank the rug from underneath us.
The Center Cannot Hold
It was reported this week that roughly 60 former George W. Bush staffers now intend to renounce the Republican Party over its lurch toward Trumpism.
Good riddance to them.
The same goes to any who remain willfully ignorant of the circumstances that compelled Capitol Hill demonstrators to rise up on Jan. 6—not to mention the greater evils already transpiring under the Biden administration.
Ironically, these Bush alums used the occasion of their departure to smear Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for her alleged support of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
While I do not count myself among the QAnon adherents (in fact, I would not be surprised if it were a Democrat deep-stater on the other end of the misinformation campaign), I find it hard to believe that those who have bought into any number of boldfaced past lies—and likely spread their share of them—would be in such a huff over this one.
Both the Bush-era Iraq war and the Obama-era Iran peace agreement were built upon pretenses no less ludicrous than the QAnon notion of an underground pedophile ring.
Indeed, there is far more evidence of Jeffrey Epstein‘s connections to power than there was of Saddam Hussein having WMDs, or of Iran dismantling its centrifuges.
Having thusly ruled out any moral red-lines, the only logical explanation for why these RINOs threw their countrymen under the bus and hitched their wagons to the socialist agenda would be preserving their own self-interest.
So, are they angling for a reward, or hoping to avoid punishment? Either would be folly.
Carrots and Sticks
Unlike in the GOP, there is no big tent, no ever-expanding pie or trickle-down effect in leftist doctrine.
The only way to attain the rank of Elite, unless one is born into it, is to be invited after years of obsequious virtue-signaling—and even then one might easily be canceled over a single misstep or a decades-old skeleton falling into the wrong hands. Leverage is their stock and trade.
As for the progressive peons, they are consigned to navigating the increasingly complex web of intersectional grievance culture in order to determine the pecking order for whatever crumbs remain.
To those who believe that freedom and equality are society’s highest aspirational virtues, there was never any ‘reward’ in such a system.
Only recently, though, does the American Left feel emboldened enough to use punishment as a deterrent against dissent.
The sending of National Guard troops, the calls to charge congressional colleagues with incitement and to invent from scratch a new precedent of post-presidency impeachments—all signal shows of force as clearly as China’s driving tanks through Tiananmen Square during the 1989 fall of communism.
Understandably, some objectors may wish to stay between the lines, to keep their heads down and hope for a deus ex machina to restore us from the present-day Twilight Zone.
But as others have been warning ever since the FBI undertook its Russia collusion hoax, if the deep-state/media/military/industrial complex has no qualms about going after a sitting US president, what hope is there for the rest of us?
And there is some indication that with Trump out of the way, that is exactly what they intend to do. It may not be corrupt FBI agent Peter Strzok this time, but rather his wife.
Wolves of Wall Street
Melissa Hodgman—the most powerful woman to stand by her man amid a humiliating public cuckolding since, well, Hillary Clinton—was rewarded last week for her silence and loyalty to Strzok by being named the acting director of the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s Division of Enforcement.
Is it any wonder that the dry and dusty regulatory agency suddenly became the next staging ground in the clash between populists and the Elite Establishment?
On Friday, casual market-traders in a Reddit forum sent stocks including GameStop skyrocketing. That, in turn, caused at least two powerful hedge funds to lose billions on a failed attempt to short squeeze the beloved company into bankruptcy.
The SEC responded by issuing the following statement:
“The Commission is working closely with our regulatory partners … to ensure that regulated entities uphold their obligations to protect investors and to identify and pursue potential wrongdoing,” it said. “We will act to protect retail investors when the facts demonstrate abusive or manipulative trading activity that is prohibited by the federal securities laws.”
That means it is the Redditors who now face the brunt of the SEC’s wrath, as White House Communications Director Jen Psaki subsequently made clear.
Psaki was asked recently if the Biden White House would support restrictions on anti-capitalistic Wall Street practices such as short-selling.
The money-making maneuver—essentially betting on struggling companies to fail and then helping drive down their value—hardly seems sporting as we approach the one-year anniversary of coronavirus lockdowns with no end in sight.
“Obviously this is under the purview of the SEC in terms of their review and monitoring,” Psaki deflected.
So much for Ol’ Working Class Joe, the blue-collar hero from Scranton who stumbled into the history books by flashing his fake pearly whites from a basement hideaway.
Rather, these days it seems that the only prerequisites for being president are that you’re either abjectly corrupt or stark-ravingly masochistic.
So, Mrs. Smith, if you’re out there reading, to answer your question—what would I do if I were elected? Get out as fast as possible.