Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tauricheski (1739-1791) would seem to be an unlikely Democratic political strategist. A Russian military leader of some repute, and allegedly the lover of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, he is best known today for a ruse he perpetrated on his beloved Empress. As Governor-General of Russia’s Southern provinces, Potemkin was charged with overseeing the colonization of the region. According to legend, Catherine at some point wanted to see all the new villages that Potemkin had settled. Potemkin arranged a tour by boat. He then built fake villages — façades really — along the route to impress Her Majesty. Supposedly, the “Potemkin Villages” were torn down as soon as her tour boat had passed, then re-assembled farther down the route where she would see them again.
It’s hard to look at the Biden campaign and not see a Potemkin Village… a façade, an artifice that looks like a campaign when viewed from afar, but when examined closely looks more like a ruse. Were I a high-dollar donor to the Democratic Party, I would be furious.
Here we are, 50 days out from the election. As we might expect, given that he is running for re-election, President Trump will make multiple campaign stops this weekend. He will hold rallies in Arizona and Nevada. Where’s Joe Biden? In his basement. He has no public events scheduled until later in the week. This guy is running for President. The election is weeks, not months, away, and he isn’t even campaigning. He has spokespeople who are ready with all manner of excuses reasons. “The wind is up and the Moon is blowing and coronavirus and safety,” they say. OK, but the election is still 50 days away and he still isn’t campaigning.
Say this for his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris: she at least was in Miami last week. The question is, where was the campaign? You’ve seen the videos. When President Trump pays a visit to anywhere, the streets are lined with supporters waving signs and cheering as his motorcade goes by. Well, guess what. When Harris’ motorcade made its way through Miami, the streets were once again lined with Trump supporters waving signs… and making not-so-nice gestures. How does that even happen? Campaigns are supposed to have “advance” people who make certain that local supporters know the candidate is coming. They hit the phone banks and make sure that the parade route is lined with happy supporters showing how excited they are. In Miami, the only people at the airport to meet Harris’ plane were the dour faces of the security detail. As she made her way to the venue, all she saw out the limousine window were Trump/Pence signs. Are we getting a peek at the inner workings of Biden’s “ground game” here? If so, it would appear he doesn’t have one. Unfortunately for him, Trump demonstrably does.
I’ve seen this act before. In 2008, I was in the audience for one of the Republican primary debates, the one in Orlando on Fox News. When the debate was over, we all split up into little supporter parties that the candidates were hosting throughout the hotel complex. We decided we would check in on Fred “Doink Doink” Thompson, the ultimate Law and Order candidate. What we saw caused us to write him off instantly. As the former Senator and TV star hobbled down the stairs toward the waiting crowd, it became painfully obvious that this was a man who had accomplished everything he wanted to in life. He wanted no part of this. He was old, he was tired, and what he really wanted was to be at home in his recliner reading a book. He was in Orlando because his newly-acquired trophy wife had fantasies of becoming First Lady of the United States. He was going along with that, and if the people were to hand him the Presidency by acclamation he would go along with that too. But he wasn’t going to do any actual work to get there. He was just shuffling along, glad-handing people and smiling, with no indication that he even understood why people were there.
Joe Biden is the Fred Thompson of 2020. He’s old, he’s tired, and what he really wants is to be at home in his basement. The bad news for the Democrats is that everybody running against him in the primaries was worse. And now — gulp — Joe Biden is the Democratic Nominee for President.
Joe probably remembers Marvin the Martian. Marvin would say, “Where’s the campaign? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering campaign.” Joe doesn’t have a campaign, and he doesn’t even seem to want one. But the Democratic Party has a lot invested in this. They’ve hired a whole battalion of Grigory Potemkins who dress Joe up and tell him where to stand and show him where the screen with the answers to the questions will be. Day by day, they create the façade of a presidential campaign and move it around. One day the press will tell you it’s in Pittsburgh, the next day it’s in Kenosha. But it’s the same Zoom screen day after day, with virtual people and a virtual Joe in a virtual campaign.
If I were watching this from inside the DNC, or even worse the boardroom at Bloomberg News where serious checks are being written, I’d be tearing my hair out. This so-called “Biden Campaign” isn’t a campaign at all. It isn’t serious. It isn’t even real. It’s a ruse, a part-time amateur-night production by people who can’t even summon fifty supporters to wave signs at an appearance by the VP candidate… by people who paint circles on the floor of an abandoned warehouse, invite in two or three reporters, and call the result a “campaign stop in Pittsburgh.” Sure, the Democratic Party’s friends in the press are going along with this, trying to put the best possible face on it, and gamely telling anyone who will believe them that Joe Biden campaigned in Pittsburgh today. But the people who have to be fooled the most — the Democratic campaign workers — are seeing all this from the inside. They are behind the façade, watching the Empress’ boat float by, hoping she’s too drunk to notice that it’s all a trick.