Thursday, March 07, 2024

Can Dr. Feelgood Save Biden's State of the Union Address?

Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

When the nation finally learned that the president "was a pharmaceutical miracle, with his own speed connection," as part of a "crazy-quilt array of drugs" that kept him mostly functional, at least during public appearances, it came as no surprise. The doctor in charge of it all even had the perfect nickname: Dr. Feelgood.

The President was John F. Kennedy and the time was 60 years ago, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

We may never learn what crazy-quilt array of drugs Presidentish Joe Biden is on, but after four years of watching him visibly fade after about 60 minutes or so — which seems to be the limit of their effectiveness — you'd have to be a hardcore Democrat or a member of the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) not to know that Biden is jacked up on something for his most important public appearances.

None may be more important this election year — I don't expect him to debate Donald Trump, do you? — than tonight's State of the Union Address. Biden will be kept resting comfortably through most of the day, followed by a visit from Dr. Feelgood in time for SOTU. 

While several Democrats have anonymously admitted to the press that they're worried that Biden might "glitch" during the speech, I'd bet on him making it through without any major malfunctions. Dr. Feelgood will have him extra-juiced tonight so that the press can fawn over his "energetic" performance. And the speech won't last much more than an hour, getting Biden safely tucked away before that crazy-quilt array of drugs completely wears off. 

That Democrats publicly worry about Biden's fitness is everything you need to know about Biden's fitness. When UCLA law prof Richard L. Hasen — quoted by Thomas Edsall in a recent New York Times column — concludes that the only way for Biden to win is if Trump is convicted of a felony, people listen.

The best-case scenario was presented by Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik, who told Axios, "Given concerns about Biden's age, his delivery will be as important as his substance." It will be energetic, Dr. Feelgood assures you.

Spoiler: there will be no substance. Yes, there will be policy proposals and rants against this and that — but it will all be sound and fury, signifying a reelection campaign. 

The "substance" is already leaking because that's how the cynical game is played. Biden will demand big tax hikes on evil corporations that they totally won't pass on to you, dear consumer, and another one on people with wealth greater than $100,000,000.

Biden will rant against credit card companies — bold take, POTUS! — and is also expected to go on a tirade against shrinkflation, perhaps with another assist from the Cookie Monster because everything is stupid.

But Biden's proposals will be DOA as soon as they hit the Republican-controlled House. The administration, however, means for them to be DOA.

Biden has no intention of risking political capital on moderate legislation that Republicans might pass. What he does want is a repeat of Harry Truman's successful 1948 reelection race against a "do-nothing" Congress. The more appeal Biden's policy proposals have to the most radical and activist parts of the Democratic base, the better.

So instead of all that "healing" we were promised during Biden's basement 2020 campaign, we'll get WWII amounts of flak flying through the air.