President Joe Biden, unlike Donald Trump, does not enrich authors and publishers. Books about the octogenarian leader, nicknamed Sleepy Joe by Republicans, do not become best sellers.
That changed this week, when a book from the first half of the Biden Presidency was released at the top of Amazon’s sales list. “The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future” is the work of journalist Franklin Foer, who, throughout process, admitted to having overcome a deep skepticism about the president-elect —who even had support from Republican voters— with the mission of exorcising the nightmare that culminated in the invasion of the Capitol.
The title of the book is a reference not only to the fact that Biden won his first election in 1970 and never pursued another profession, but to the affectation of the new crop of elected officials on anti-political identity platforms, such as self-proclaimed outsiders Donald Trump and Barack Obama .
The best and most delightfully written examination of Biden was published in 1992 and is therefore incomplete. “What It Takes, The Way to the White House”, by Richard Ben Cramer, was a dive into six presidential campaigns, painting a portrait of the then senator, who led Biden to admitting, at Cramer’s funeral in 2013, to having made discoveries about himself in the book’s unflattering pages.
The new book is unlikely to spark unprecedented introspection in the president. But, in addition to bringing revelations about the chaos, defeats and achievements of the first half of this Presidency, it will fill a gap left by Biden’s cynical coverage.
Most Americans, even those who consume news from traditional outlets, would not be able to name factors that make Dorminhoco Joe, a frequent user of gaffes and stumbles, the most consequential Democratic occupant of the White House since Lyndon Johnson.
Franklin Foer enumerates arguments on how Biden, with technocratic advisors who moved away from Clintonism, changed the political trajectory that marked the party for more than two decades – deference to markets, safe distance from unions and tolerance of monopolies.
Industrial policy stopped being a dirty word during this Presidency, fighting trusts became a capitalist virtue and the encouragement of clean energy sources took a significant leap forward.
Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders took a hit at leftists who want a third candidacy in 2024, energetically defending Biden’s re-election and criticizing circus professor Cornel West for launching an independent pre-candidacy. He condemned those who prefer to risk Donald Trump’s return to complete the project of gangster fascism.
Biden and Sanders have a symbiotic relationship, Foer reports. Biden is counting on the Vermont politician and leader of the left wing of the Democratic Party to push for a progressive agenda and increase the space for the White House to implement policies that the much more popular Obama has not dared to defend.
If Biden and Trump remain tied in the polls, despite the abysmal distance between the two and the existential and planetary threat that the Republican represents, Foer’s work is an argument for the failure, not of the president, but of the information ecosystem in the country.
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