“Who is Behind the Curtain?”


Apart from the final seventeen months of the Woodrow Wilson Administration, when the President suffered a stroke, we have never had a President appear unable to carry out his responsibilities - until now. To be honest, that assessment of Mr. Biden, while I believe it to be true, is based on observation rather than empirical evidence. In the case of President Wilson, the cover-up of his infirmities was due to his doctor, Cary Grayson and his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson. Dr. Grayson did brief Wilson's cabinet and the question of succession arose, but the doctor refused to sign any official notice of inability, so Vice President Thomas Marshall remains a footnote, and the Presidency was allegedly managed by Mrs. Wilson.

At 78, Mr. Biden became the oldest person to be inaugurated President, eight years older than Donald Trump and nine years older than Ronald Reagan. In both cases, political opponents called into question their mental acuity; so, it is unsurprising that concerns for Mr. Biden have been raised. Four years and ten months after leaving office, Mr. Reagan sent a letter to the American people telling them he was afflicted with Alzheimer's. In the summer of 2018, eighteen months after taking office, Mr. Trump took (and passed) the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test. Thus far, Mr. Biden has refused to take a similar test.

Since Mr. Biden has not taken a cognitive test, comments that he has early signs of dementia are speculation. Nevertheless, concerns abound and not just among Republicans. A Politico Morning Consult poll in January 2022 found that 48% of those polled do not believe he is mentally fit. An ABC/The Washington Post poll, taken at the same time, indicated that Mr. Biden lacks the "mental sharpness" to be President. A Harvard Youth Poll showed a job approval rate of 41%, despite 57% of the correspondents having voted for him. Anecdotally, anyone who has watched his news conferences has noted his shuffling gait, his fumbling answers and his slurring of words.

Again, none of this is proof of dementia, but enough questions have been raised that the White House should respond. After all, the U.S. Presidency is the most powerful position in the world, and if someone else (or some cabal) is making decisions in his name the people should know who that is.

My candidate for puppeteer is former President Barack Obama. In Columbia, Missouri on October 30, 2008, Mr. Obama boldly declared: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." While he later backed away from that assertion, that is what he said. The National Catholic Register, at the time, referred to the statement as "revolutionary" and "audacious."

As the son of a white mother and a black father, Mr. Obama had the unique opportunity to bridge the racial divide in the U.S. Instead, racism worsened, and political polarization intensified during his eight years. Perhaps we should not have been surprised. From an early age, Mr. Obama had had mentors who were anti-West and anti-American: Frank Marshall Davis in Hawaii, an anti-white and anti-American former member of the Communist Party; Professor Edward Said of Columbia, a spokesperson for Palestinian terrorists; Professor Derrick Bell of Harvard Law School, an early advocator of Critical Race Theory; Reverend Jeremiah Wright whose church, Trinity United Church of Christ, Mr. Obama attended for twenty years; and Bill Ayers, a domestic terrorist in whose Chicago home Mr. Obama held fundraisers.

Some might argue that criticism of Mr. Obama is based solely on racial prejudice. While that certainly is true of some, most of the criticism was (and is) directed at his policies, not at the person. Extremism exists in both parties but has been more prominent on the left. It was in 2013 that #Black Live Matter was formed, in response to the Trayvon Martin murder, and Antifa rose to prominence during the Obama years. Instead of following the example set by Martin Luther King of encouraging character development, Mr. Obama pursued identity politics. In doing so, his statements stood in contrast to those of black economist and scholar, Thomas Sowell: "If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today."

The 2016 election was a surprise. Many people, but particularly Democrats, expected Hillary Clinton would win and further the progressive goals established by Mr. Obama. That was not to be. Four years later they had their chance. Covid derailed the Trump economy, which had lifted economic growth and allowed minority incomes to achieve record levels. The choice of Joe Biden as Democrat nominee was fortuitous for Mr. Obama. Mr. Biden was familiar with his agenda and was portrayed during the campaign as a moderate. However, Newsweek, on December 22, 2020, headlined an article: "Nearly 60% of Biden's Cabinet Appointments So Far Are Obama Officials." They include Janet Yellen, John Kerry, Susan Rice, Lloyd Austin, Alejandro Mayorkas, Denis McDonough, Avril Haines and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, among others.

What Democrats did not expect was the rapid decline in the Administration's popularity - with job approval for Mr. Biden in the low 40s and the even lower ones for Vice President Kamala Harris. But how could they have been so blind? Did they not expect a surge of illegal immigrants when they loosened rules at the border? Why did they not anticipate inflation when they kept interest rates low, increased money supply, expanded government spending and tightened regulations regarding fossil fuels? Did they not realize that their calls to defund the police would result in a surge in crime? Did they not consider the consequences of a too-hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan? Did they expect parents to docilely accept the teachings of "woke" ideologies in public schools? With a military more focused on social justice, why were they so surprised at our relative unpreparedness for conflicts with Russia and China?

Democrats must realize that the odds favor them losing majorities in the Senate and possibly in the House in the midterms. Prospects for 2024 don't look great either, putting their progressive agenda further at risk. Mr. Biden will be 82 in January 2025, and his cognitive infirmities will have worsened. Ms. Harris comes across as a cackling incompetent; thus, with her low polling numbers, she seems an unlikely candidate for President in 2024. It is fear that they may lose their soap box that explains the recent creation of the dystopian Disinformation Governance Board, a proposal called for by Mr. Obama that would effectively shut down free speech.

The risk of losing our democratic republic has always been there. Freedom is difficult to attain, but easy to lose. Elected officials and unelected bureaucrats must be held accountable. That cannot be if the people don't know who is in charge. We're not in Kansas anymore; we should know who is behind the curtain.

Sydney M. Williams

May 12, 2022