Kamala And Authoritarian Successor Decline
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The joke in the Obama administration was that having Joe Biden as Vice President was Obama's insurance against removal or assassination. Nobody would want Biden as his replacement.

Now Joe Biden is president, with Kamala Harris as his insurance. As awful as Biden is, everyone knows Harris would be awfuller.

Back in the 1980s there was a meme going round you might call the ASD meme, "ASD" standing for "Authoritarian Successor Decline." I remember hearing it from quite eminent names in late-1980s London journalism.

The ASD meme went like this. In a system of authoritarian power the Paramount Leader surrounds himself with yes-men, taking care that they are all less smart than himself. When he dies or is dethroned, his successor will come from among those yes-men, so he'll be less smart than the guy who just departed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

All this was of course in reference to the U.S.S.R. Looking back across the eighties, seventies, sixties, and fifties, it really did seem as though that's what happened.

Leaving out ciphers like Malenkov and Bulganin, the Soviets had, in little more than thirty years, gone from Stalin, who was a very smart man, via Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Andropov, to Chernenko, a senile nonentity with no functioning brain tissue at all.

You can make a case for Andropov having had some kind of inner life — he wrote love poems to his wife, according to her — but the rest of them you wouldn't put in charge of a dog pound.

I sometimes find myself wondering whether the American presidency is entering some similar decline. Trump wasn't bad, although on balance I've rated his presidency a failure. Biden is awful: stupid and incoherent. It's hard to believe anyone could be worse, but loo…

[Clip (Starting at 4:06 above)

Kamala Harris:  "We are going to the border. We've been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border: We've been to the border. We've been to the border."

Lester Holt:  "You haven't been to the border."

Kamala Harris:  "I … and I haven't been to Europe. And [laughing] I mean, I don't, I don't understand the point that you're making."]

If Joe Biden falls off his perch and we get President Harris, what will follow her? Pee-wee Herman?

Well, at least now our Vice President has been to Europe. This week she graced the nation of Poland with her presence. Thursday she participated in a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Embarrassing? Oh yeah. "Embarrassment" is this lady's middle name.

Well-nigh every commentary on the Vice President's spoken remarks at the event—not counting fawning commentary from our regime media, of course—included the phrase "word salad." It's not hard to see why.


But we all watched the television coverage of just yesterday on top of everything else that we know and don't know yet based on what we've just able to see, and because we've seen it or not doesn't mean it hasn't happen, but just limited to what we have seen — pregnant women going for health care? Being injured by — I don't know — a missile, a bomb? In an unprovoked, unjustified war? Where a powerful country is trying to take over another country — violate its sovereignty, its territorial integrity for the sake of what? Nothing that is justified or provoked. Absolutely there should be an investigation, and we should all be watching, and I have no question the eyes of the world are on this war, and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities. I have no doubt.

End word salad.

As Mr Arbuthnot would say: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the poor unlucky person who got picked to act as interpreter for the Veep. What does word salad sound like in Polish? No, don't tell me, I don't really want to know.

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