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Opinion Election 2020 heralds a depressing new normalcy

07:25  19 october  2020
07:25  19 october  2020 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Sheesh, cousins, don’t keep doing this to me. This time four years ago, I was in despair. The world’s greatest republic, the nation that attracted millions of settlers from every continent and archipelago because of its superior system of government, had produced two entitled, self-absorbed, and ultimately unfit presidential candidates. Gloomily, I recommended Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party, whom I had met a couple of times and whom I knew to be a man who at least had the basic qualification for the job, namely an appreciation that it was bigger than he was.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden are posing for a picture: Hannan.jpg © Provided by Washington Examiner Hannan.jpg

I consoled myself with the thought that 2016 was the first truly dud presidential election in an otherwise successful run and that 57 out of 58 was a pretty good record. When Donald Trump won, I wished him every success and hoped that he would confound my worst expectations. And in fairness, some things turned well enough. Taxes and regulations were cut. The economy grew, and unemployment fell. Judges were appointed who ruled on the basis of what the law said rather than what they felt it ought to say. No new wars were started.

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Yet the president’s character flaws were as obvious as ever, more obvious, indeed, now that he was in the White House: the neediness, the narcissism, the mendacity, the inability to distinguish between private interests and public office, the Corleone-like insistence that he be followed unconditionally and that his supporters switch their positions whenever he switched his. These things matter. Part of being a republic is that the head of state is supposed, at least to a degree, to represent the best of the country.

I kept hoping that, one way or another, Trump would move aside or be made to move aside for Mike Pence, a man of unimpeachable integrity and patriotism. Had that happened, the Republicans would now be strolling toward an easy win. But one way or another, the opportunity didn’t come.

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So, now, here we are again. I remember watching Joe Biden stumbling his way painfully through a speech at a conference in Copenhagen a couple of years ago and thinking, "OK. Maybe he’s jet-lagged. Maybe he’s had a tough day," but being president involves a lot of those. It’s not a job to hand out as recognition for long service.

His handlers, recognizing the problem, kept him underground for as long as they could. But when Rip van Biden finally emerged blinking into the light, it was no longer possible to hide what was wrong. After a lifetime in politics, the old Scrantonian knows how to mount a podium and smile. But his performances have an automatic, macabre, Sunset Boulevard quality. He sometimes forgets which office he is running for and talks about wanting to be in the Senate. He forgets words. He forgets names. Mitt Romney, for example, was “that senator who was a Mormon, the governor. OK?”

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Fair enough; I forget names all the time. But I am not auditioning to lead the free world out of its worst economic crisis. Does this really need spelling out? The U.S. has suffered a worse hit than during either of the two wars or the Depression. Power is draining daily to Beijing. The world that emerges on the other side of COVID-19 will be poorer, meaner, more pinched, more authoritarian. Is this really the time to hand the reins to an amiable old boob who is unlikely to complete his term?

The voters, I keep reading, want a return to “normalcy,” an odd word that Merriam-Webster tells us was not in fact coined by Warren Harding but derives from mathematics. Then again, Merriam-Webster retrospectively doctored its definition of “sexual preference” following Amy Coney Barret’s hearing to claim that the phrase, until then unexceptionable, was in fact offensive.

Be that as it may, we won’t be getting “normalcy” under either candidate. The Democrats talk openly of court packing, which would constitute at least as serious a violation of the old norms as anything Trump has done. Think about that for a moment: Republicans put up with liberal-leaning Supreme Courts for more than half a century without questioning their legitimacy, yet the moment the tables are turned, Democrats want to ignore the rules. The unwritten codes of the pre-Trump years — above all, restraint from the winners and consent from the losers — have been junked.

What an election: a bully against a dotard, a knave against a fool, a fantasizing Falstaff against a senescent Lear. The only thing that seems depressingly clear is that whichever faction wins, the other will refuse to accept it. That, alas, has become the new normalcy.

Tags: 2020 Elections, Joe Biden, Donald Trump

Original Author: Dan Hannan

Original Location: Election 2020 heralds a depressing new normalcy

2020 Election: See Insider's comprehensive guide to the presidential and top congressional races .
In addition to the presidential election, there are hundreds of pivotal congressional races that will shape the balance of power in Washington.The race for the presidency between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is zeroing in on a number of battleground states key in both candidates' quests to win. They'll be battling for the popular vote, but the real election decider is the electoral college.

usr: 1
This is interesting!