William Shakespeare would probably get a kick out of American politics over the last year and change.
After all, one of Shakespeare’s greatest hits was Macbeth, or, as the theatrical and superstitious would call it, The Scottish Tragedy. And while it’s not a perfect analog to the current White House, there’s a lot going on which at least rhymes with Shakespeare’s famous play.
Biden didn’t have to kill anybody to become president, unlike Macbeth. But that 2020 election had enough wrong with it to give off an awfully fishy smell, and the way the legacy media and Big Tech suppressed any notion that the irregularities surrounding harvested mail-in ballots, questionable vote-counting practices, Zuckerbucks, and giant bumps in vote totals in the wee hours of the morning had anything to do with the result was a bit Shakespearian.
Remember, Macbeth didn’t just kill King Duncan in his sleep. He slaughtered the two guards outside Duncan’s door, so nobody could question his ascension to the Scottish throne. Things have progressed since then — you don’t use a dagger anymore, you use George Stephanopoulos and Twitter instead.
Jill Biden — sorry, Dr. Jill Biden — is as Lady Macbeth as Lady Macbeth can get.
And there is Macbeth’s descent into madness shortly after his coronation. But Biden didn’t need to see Banquo’s ghost to lose his marbles; those were gone a long time ago. What’s similar is the recognition.
After all, Biden’s been on TV quite a bit lately, and there is really no getting around the similarity to Macbeth raving at an empty chair in front of company.
This came, of course, following this…
And one more…
Whoops! Sorry about that one. How’d that get in here?
There was grumbling after Lady Macbeth booted the guests from Dunsinane, but not quite as much, perhaps as there has been since Biden’s various embarrassments of the past week. After all, if you missed Chuck Todd on Sunday, here’s an eye-opener…
NBC's Chuck Todd: After a disastrous first year, Biden is "no longer seen as competent and effective. He's no longer seen as a good commander-in-chief."
"That kind of presidential approval rating leads to a shellacking for the party in power." pic.twitter.com/TDZOkMUKjM
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 23, 2022
“Why’s he yelling at that chair?”
The New York Post isn’t what you’d call a Biden-friendly publication. But its editors, passing along the story of Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain contradicting the president on domestic policy following last week’s disaster of a press avail, said what lots of people are thinking: “Who, really, is in charge at the White House? It sure doesn’t look to be President Biden.”
National Journal‘s Josh Kraushaar sounds as if he’s seen the play to the end…
These numbers may explain why Biden spent the beginning of the year pursuing a fruitless effort to rally his progressive base behind voting-rights legislation. If Democrats lose support from the cadre of Gen Z activists and African American civil-rights leaders, this year’s midterms could go from bad to worse. Even if the political kamikaze mission hurts him with independents, he has a better chance of winning back the base given the degree of backlash he’s incurred with persuadable voters. (The NBC poll found his approval at 36 percent with independents, a stunning 32-point drop from where he stood in April.)
It’s a no-win situation: Tack to the center, and Biden risks seeing depressed Democratic turnout for this year’s midterms with no guarantee he’ll be able to turn things around with swing voters. But placate the base and you’ve alienated the moderates without having any legislative victories to show for it.
All this is a lesson in expectations management: Biden should have started out his presidency smaller, working with pragmatic Republicans to pass a less-bloated package of emergency relief, building back better (so to speak) political capital in the runup to the midterms. Couple that with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and Biden would have roughly the same accomplishments without nearly as much political pain.
At this point, however, Biden has dug himself into such a deep political hole that his options for a comeback are limited — and mostly out of his control. The administration’s preferred path is to go after the agenda-less Republicans, in hopes of making the midterm election a choice between parties, not a referendum. But at this point, being the opposition party without an agenda is a better place to be than the governing party facing a mutiny within the ranks.
And what do the people think of this? Well, not a lot.
Six in 10 Americans would vote for someone other than President Biden if the 2024 presidential election was held today — a rate higher than his predecessors Barack Obama and Donald Trump, according to a poll released Sunday.
Asked if the election were held today, 60 percent said they would “probably” or “definitely” vote for someone else, compared to 36 percent who said they would “definitely” or “probably” re-elect Biden, the survey by Fox News shows.
The Scottish tragedy is all about a guy who did what it took to grab political power he shouldn’t have rightly had, and unsurprisingly it all went exceptionally wrong. That sounds quite familiar. But as this column said last week in the context of our burgeoning, if unwise, military conflict with Russia over Ukraine, we’re barely into the third act of this disaster.
With three more years to go.
The fourth and fifth acts get bloody. Let’s pray we don’t have to pay so great a price.