• Twain On Biden

    June 11, 2024
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    By: Don Pesci

    Public Domain.

    Mark Twain, we know, was bitterly opposed to Teddy Roosevelt. When former President Roosevelt traveled to Africa to hunt water buffalo, Twain wrote that he had gone to the Dark Continent “to shoot cows.” Roosevelt, whose sense of humor was well hidden in his campaigns, was not amused.

    Twain continued his attack on Roosevelt for much of his presidency. During the Spanish American War Roosevelt distinguished himself as a “Rough Rider” charging up San Juan Hill. These were the glory days of American journalism, and Roosevelt played a larger-than-life part in the yellow and golden press of the day. Twain thought the whole of the Spanish American War was little more than specious war-mongering political propaganda. The gravamen of many of the pieces Twain wrote on Roosevelt was that the loudmouth Roosevelt was a pious fraud puffed up by an uncritical media.

    For his part, Roosevelt threatened to hang Twain. “I wish I could skin Mark Twain alive,” Roosevelt managed to spit out.

    Twain memorably responded, “We have had no President before who was destitute of self-respect for his high office. We have had no President before who was not a gentleman; we have had no President before who was intended for a butcher, a dive-keeper or a bully...  Our people have adored this showy charlatan as perhaps no impostor of his brood has been adored since the Golden Calf, so it is to be expected that the Nation will want him back again after he is done hunting other wild animals heroically in Africa, with the safeguard and advertising equipment of a park of artillery and a brass band.”

    That was at least funny. But Roosevelt’s reaction to humor was pretty much the same as the devil’s reaction to being sprinkled with holy water.

    Like Roosevelt, gaffe-prone Joe Biden is a bully, a braggart, and a plagiarist given to reinventing his past. But, gilding his own lily, Biden is determined to point out in the current presidential campaign that his unworthy opponent – former President Donald Trump, a “convicted felon” and the butt of hundreds of opinion pieces in the nation’s left of center media – is “anti-democratic,” unlike the President, who is a member in good standing of the nation’s remodeled neo-progressive Democrat Party.

    Surely everyone must agree that everyone in the Democrat Party must be pro-democratic, including Biden, the prospective nominee for president of the party of past slavers and Jim Crow?

    It should surprise no one that America’s – and Connecticut’s – foremost humorist often made use of laughter to knock political pretentions into a cocked hat.  Twain puts the following golden perception into the mouth of Satan in The Mysterious Stranger: “[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

    Were Twain writing today, he would have been the most prominent victim of the humorless Jacobean “fact checkers” of our postmodern period. Twain’s Twitter account, prior to the ascendancy of Elon Musk, would not have survived the attentions of postmodern Grand Inquisitor censors – enemies, all of them, of a robust and unmolested First Amendment. Never brashly censorious, our modern media tends to suppress robust political speech by sequestering commentators critical of the politicians they promote, shoving them unceremoniously into media broom closets.

    No one marching to the polls in November to cast their ballots for an updated conservative Huey Long (Trump) or an incapacitated arch-progressive Woodrow Wilson (Biden) need have any fear that past and possibly future President Donald Trump has been properly skewered by our legacy media. Trump has been the subject of at least one impeachment proceeding of dubious provenance and, most recently, a meticulously edited jury trial in New York that has found the likely Republican Party nominee for President guilty of 34 counts of accounting fraud, an elapsed misdemeanor prosecuted, some say, by an unconstitutionally appointed Manhattan District Attorney.

    In addition to the New York City Trump trial, other anti-democratic effronteries of the Biden administration would include: misusing the vast resources of the federal government to disable your pestiferous political opponent’s political campaign for the presidency; gagging your outspoken political opponent in the midst of his largely successful political campaign; attempting to seize the assets of your political opponent through excessive court fines; creating a porous and indefensible U.S. southern border by repealing the successful executive actions of your opponent;  interfering in a largely successful war prosecuted by Israel against Iran’s terrorist proxies by insisting that Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu should be replaced and forbidden from ridding Israel of terrorists that have menaced the country since its founding in 1948; driving up the price of energy, post-COVID pandemic, by eliminating the use of fossil fuels in 1935; surrendering to the Taliban Bagram Airfield, a watchtower on China a hop, skip and a jump from its border… The list has here been shortened for space reasons.

    In the meantime, Biden has escaped the whips and scorns of the nation’s left of center media, journalists at Fox News and the New York Post being exceptions that prove the rule.

    Many polls suggest that Biden, following Trump’s conviction, is losing political support among traditional Democrat Party political groupings. But one looks in vain inside the anti-Trump journalistic pustule for some rational explanation of the apparent madness of voters who refuse to accept a pre-ordained conclusion – Trump, at all costs, must lose to Biden! Were he writing today, Twain might suggest that Biden supporters had not taken seriously Abraham Lincoln’s humorous remark “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” or Twain’s by no means exaggerated estimation of the power of humor in blowing political bunkum to bits.

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