RFK Jr. Notes

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the third party presidential candidate who is essentially running as Donald Trump with a fully developed brain — admittedly a significant step up from the worn-out brain stem that is currently running as the real Donald Trump — has made headlines this week by declaring, to the incredulous consternation of the CNN talking hairdo who was interviewing him, that one could make the case that Joe Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Trump. And the hairdo’s incredulity, not to mention that of the entire Democratic half of the internet no doubt, was not assuaged in the least by the case that Kennedy did in fact offer, although it was quite commonsensical. 

In a nutshell, Kennedy’s argument was that while Trump did indeed try to overturn an election, Biden, while president, used federal agencies to strong-arm private social media companies into suppressing non-compliant speech, thereby violating the spirit and the letter of the First Amendment in a manner that is both unprecedented in American history and disturbingly precedent-setting for a theoretically infinite range of future abuses of government power. As Kennedy, noted, the First Amendment is the first because many of the Founding Fathers regarded freedom of speech as the most essential right that must be protected in order for a free republic to survive, and hence the idea that a mere public health issue could be framed as a “national interest” so urgent as to warrant the coercive stifling of political discussion serves as a grave warning of just how little respect the Biden administration has for the basic pillars of liberty, and more importantly how little restraint they feel in taking the executive branch battering ram to those pillars.

If RFK Jr. were thinking more clearly in his debate with the CNN talking hairdo when she was retorting with the “reminder” that Trump had tried to overturn an election, then rather than trying to moderate his stated position for the sake of campaign safety, he might have pointed out the obvious difference between the two “threats to democracy” represented by Biden’s actions on free speech and Trump’s efforts to prevent the delivery of the electoral college votes: Trump failed. That is to say, the institutions of the U.S. government worked as they were supposed to, and prevented the indignant brain stem from achieving his subversive goal. The states delivered their electoral college votes to the U.S. Congress. Congress gathered to hear the vote totals. And Trump’s own vice president, acting according to his sworn constitutional duty, refused to obey Trump’s unconstitutional demand to reject the votes (which would only have prolonged the inevitable anyway), but rather read them out in Congress as per the norms of the institution, albeit after a slight delay while a few hundred populist cult members, many of them shouting for that vice president’s execution, were swept out of the building like the pathetic vermin they had chosen (at the orders of their Vermin God) to be on that day.

Obviously, if you are ranking real threats to a democratic country’s institutions, a threat that achieves its anti-democratic goals in practice by asserting illegitimate powers without being thwarted by institutional restraints is considerably graver, on the threat scale, than a vain girl’s temper tantrum that inspires a lot of misdirected public anger and confusion but which, in practice, is easily nipped in the bud by the constitutional system of checks and balances functioning exactly as it is supposed to function in such a case.

Biden, at least if we are weighing the conditions being debated by RFK Jr. and the interlocutory CNN hairdo, does indeed appear to be the more serious threat to democracy, since he has, while in office and acting as head of the executive branch of the American government, implemented specific policy decisions (not his own of course, as he is barely sentient) that both in their immediate effects and their longterm implications represent a direct assault on a fundamental principle of the American concept of limited government, the right to freedom of speech.

Tulsi Gabbard, a Fox News darling because she pretends to be a Democrat while speaking against the Democrats, and a populist authoritarian darling because she pitches pro-Putin propaganda on a level that could make Tucker Carlson propose marriage, is publicly announcing that she was asked to serve as Kennedy’s vice presidential running mate, but turned down the offer in spite of meeting with him several times and regarding him as a “friend.” This says a lot about Kennedy, and as far as I am concerned undermines his presidential credibility in a most thorough way. A man who would offer his vice presidential office to Tulsi Gabbard would, in principle, offer his secretary of defense office to Colonel Douglas Macgregor, Carlson’s own favorite military expert guest during his final months as Fox News’ residential Russia Today plant. These people are not mere “isolationists,” or limited government conservatives who oppose foreign embroilments on principle. They are outright pro-authoritarian antagonists who, from the very beginning of Putin’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, have been pleading desperately for the impossibility of any outcome but Ukraine’s abject surrender as though opinions were prayers, while making the case for “Russia’s legitimate security interests and territorial claims” as though reading a translated speech from Sergey Lavrov.

No one who would sidle up to a person of this sort, let alone express alignment with her positions and ask her to join his election ticket, as Kennedy has also done, ought to be considered a reasonable candidate for President of the United States. Not to say Kennedy represents a threat to democracy — the most overused phrase in mainstream American political discourse today — but he is simply not serious about America’s longterm foreign policy interests. Having said that, he is probably less threatening than Joe Biden and is certainly less unhinged than Donald Trump. And he has more coherent conversation in his every soundbite than Biden and Trump have managed to muster between them throughout their entire very long and very ludicrous lives.

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