BIDEN OUT, 2025 PROJECT IN? When the Dam Breaks | Steve Berman

As it’s caddy day at the Bushwood pool, let’s jump right in. One thing is becoming evident: President Joe Biden is not in control…of his party.

There are several possible back stories here. One is that the Democrats have always wanted to boot Biden, but found no opportunity to do so until now. Another is that they stuck with him until they believed that he could not carry them across the finish line. A third is that they really had no idea how far gone the president’s mental state has become.

I believe there’s some degree truth to all three, but the fact that the Biden campaign, headed by the president, has managed to raise a ton of cash seems to run counter to the idea the first hypothesis.

It seemed that the immediate and unified response to Biden’s disastrous debate performance might have been a rehearsed form of crisis management: a scripted chorus of “step aside!” from various newspaper editorial boards and pundits, designed to inoculate the public to the age issue, while the news cycle resets over the July 4th holiday. Then, shining like a risen warrior in a hero character arc, the president would emerge, strong and confident, to take the reins of his party.

But—if it was a planned strategy or a ruse—it seems the script is working too well. Or possibly, that the calls for Biden to actually exit the race are genuine, or at least too close to genuine to tell the difference. In any case, they are spreading, and that’s bad news for the Biden campaign. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is the first Democrat in Congress to call for the president to quit.

The Biden campaign, and the president, have been strangely quiet in the face of calls for him to offer some kind of response within the party. Jake Tapper, one of the moderators who personally witnessed Biden’s senescence during the debate, noted that Democratic governors held a conference call Monday, and reported that despite a strong invitation, nobody from the Biden camp reached out to them to assuage their fears.

Chief of Staff Jeff Zients has been making calls to key Democrats in Congress, but the president has remained mum to members of Congress, NBC News reported. Instead, the president gave a short campaign stump speech from the White House on how the Supreme Court botched the matter of presidential immunity—unusual for a president to want his wings clipped. But this president isn’t worried about his own wings; he wants the other guy’s wings rendered flightless.

So the real question is: will the dam break? Both former Presidents Obama and Clinton initially covered for Biden. Clinton posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter: 

I’ll leave the debate rating to the pundits, but here’s what I know: facts and history matter. Joe Biden has given us 3 years of solid leadership, steadying us after the pandemic, creating a record number of new jobs, making real progress solving the climate crisis, and launching a successful effort in reducing inflation, all while pulling us out of the quagmire Donald Trump left us in. That’s what’s really at stake in November.

Obama posted “Bad debate nights happen.” The fact he posted this within a week of gently taking Biden by the wrist and leading him off stage, after the president appeared to “freeze,” makes it seem just a bit disingenuous.

It was also reported that Biden’s family is squarely in his corner. But if the dam breaks, how can a candidate run without the support of his party? I don’t think he can. Either President Biden must regain control of his party, and the message, or he must withdraw and allow someone else who can to run. But who?

A leaked internal poll by Open Labs seems to show a couple of contenders (Shannon Bream: “Wonder who leaked it 🤔”). Both Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appear to have a distinct advantage over Biden vis a vis Trump in battleground states where Trump now has opened a fairly frightening gap.

I am not a fan of Buttigieg, whose spotty record at DOT, and lack of experience at running anything bigger than the city of South Bend, Indiana (where his accomplishments were met with golf claps), and its 103,000 residents, don’t inspire confidence in his competence. I am even less of a fan of Whitmer, whose absolutely draconian COVID-19 policies even left a bad taste in her own mouth. “We had to make some decisions, that in retrospect, don’t make a lot of sense,” she told an interviewer. Oozes strength and reason, doesn’t it?

Personally, I think the best bet for Democrats to quash Trump is to adopt the “fake it till you make it” Kayfabe crisis-management approach. Take the Independence Day weekend to mull it over, and come out saying it was Biden’s medicine. Blame the former White House doctor, Republican Rep. Ronny Johnson, who reportedly turned the West Wing’s clinic into Walter White’s lab, ready with the pills to cure what ails you. Maybe Biden took the nighttime cold meds. Or just say he over-prepped, and blame Ron Klain.

Biden even considering leaving the race would be a public admission of what everyone finally perceives as truth: the president is mentally unfit.

If the election were held today, Trump, awaiting sentencing for 34 felonies in New York, would be president-elect. The real election is coming sooner than it appears in the media, and somehow, in the reality-distortion zone occupied by the Orange Guy, his many prosecutions turn into opportunities for heroism. Let the justifications fly like a Baby Ruth flung into the pool.

From Day One, when the Washington Post began its coverage of the Trump administration with “At the moment the new commander in chief was sworn in, a campaign to build public support for his impeachment went live,” to the staged violent protests at his inauguration (I was there, and saw it with my own eyes), to the endless Russia investigations, to the libel suit WaPo settled with MAGA-hat wearing teenager Nick Sandmann, the walls never stopped closing in.

These constant attacks galvanized Trump supporters into brothers-in-arms, engaged in a forever war with the leftist media. Trumpworld even has its own patron saint, Rush Limbaugh, who watches from heaven. By the time COVID hit, the election tainted by the virus (courts ruling left and right over how to handle unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots) happened, and Trump’s own prediction of his loss happened just as he said it would, the Big Lie found fertile soil.

Anti-Trump media has told so many lies; the government itself pressured social media sites to suppress real stories like Hunter Biden’s laptop, and has covered for Joe Biden’s loss of mental acuity, that even Trump’s obvious lies seem almost prophetic to his supporters, and even to those who don’t support him but can’t deny the truth of what their eyes see and their ears hear.

Days after Joe Biden was sworn in, he stripped Donald Trump of his security clearance. Had Biden not done that, it’s a fair bet NARA would not have asked for the classified records to be returned. And there’d be no documents case. But NARA could not erase the secrets from Trump’s brain. Robert Hur declined to prosecute Joe Biden for keeping classified records as a private citizen, because Biden would appear to a jury as too senile to convict.

The New York case that convicted Trump was set up in 2018, when crook Michael Cohen pled guilty to two hastily tacked-on charges of illegal campaign contributions, garnering a statement from David Pecker to save his own skin. Cohen was dead to rights on tax evasion and other felonies—the feds didn’t need the election charges to convict, but they needed the charges so Alvin Bragg could bring a felony case against Trump six years later. Cohen served less than two years at the poshest of federal prison camps, then the rest of his “sentence” at his Park Avenue digs. You can forgive people for thinking Trump was set up. Yeah, he’s corrupt, he falsified records. I still don’t know how much money Joe Biden falsified.

And now, we have people like Erick Erickson, whom I respect greatly, saying on social media, “The freak out about the Supreme Court decisions this week tell you just how vital and necessary Project 2025 is. There must be a purge of left wing bureaucrats.” If you don’t know, that’s Schedule F, and the Heritage Foundation’s “Project 2025.”

The Supreme Court’s immunity ruling takes the long-held judicial view of the president’s core powers, the limits of “official duties,” and acts as a private citizen, and power-drills them into the ridiculously wide net cast by Jack Smith’s federal “fraud upon the American people” case in Washington, D.C. If you want to get into the technical parts of that ruling, read David Thornton’s excellent explainer.

But the effects of that ruling reach much further than just one ex-president’s felony trial (part deux). Chief Justice John Roberts’ top concern is always the integrity of the Court and its rulings. His worst nightmare is having a future Court have to unwind his rulings. But this one is difficult, in a heads I win, tails you lose kind of way.

Dissent on the Roberts and Co. opinion is fairly easy. It’s Justice Potter Stewart’s “I know it when I see it” applied to corrupt acts of a U.S. president. It shouldn’t matter whether then-President Donald Trump was working within his core constitutional powers, or his official duties, or as a private citizen, if his goal, as the dissenting liberal wing of the Court held, was the dismantling of America’s peaceful transfer of power, by calling a mob to Washington and setting them to march upon the Capitol, erect a gallows to hang his own vice president, and prevent Congress from certifying his opponent’s electoral college results.

Chief Justice Roberts has chosen to live by the law, and to try to avoid the inherent paradoxes in pursuing justice for obvious crimes against our republic. Allowing one president to declare the acts of another to be criminal, while the other president sat in the same office, with the same powers, performing the same duties, is a legal paradox. Congress could well criminalize anything a president did, constraining one from firing the prosecutors hired by his predecessor to bring charges against him, under the threat of further prosecution. It has the ring of political banana-republic justice to it.

In exchange for the bargain to protect the good acts of a man of integrity and character in the seat of POTUS, Roberts and his fellow Justices gave up the ability to stop ambitious men from corrupting the power itself. This means, within the strict interpretation of the immunity ruling, that Trump’s implementation of Schedule F, and most of the “2025 Project,” is unassailable, and even immune from judicial review. Trump could well fire the entire staff of lawyers at the Department of Justice, as well as ten thousand mid-level bureaucrats in every federal executive department, replacing them with lists, culled and vetted by Heritage Foundation staffers. It very well may be impossible to challenge those acts in federal court.

The question here is whether the Republican Party, and voters, will follow Trump and Heritage into their glorious future. Because we know “personnel is policy,” as the Reagan-era slogan goes. And the GOP’s policy is to do whatever hare-brained whim the Orange Guy says. (Really, that’s the platform: opposing the far-left. Read it for yourself.)

But really, what will happen if Trump appoints his list? Will those people will be as lost as sheep without a border collie, and will the federal government will screech to an incompetent halt? People would scream for their services to be restored. Government cheese would go bad. Ethanol subsidies would fail to be paid, and the good faith and credit of the United States would be damaged. I don’t think Trump would let it happen.

The lists, the threat of jailing opponents, the dark predictions, these are possibilities, but mostly they are fantasies of people who have something to sell you. But the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Roberts, don’t think that the world will end if Trump is elected and executes the core constitutional powers of the U.S. president. If they thought that, they’d have sacrificed the law and gone for blood, like the three dissenters wanted.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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