Joe Biden as Emperor Nerva?

November 12, 2020

Okay, America to Roman Empire analogies are way overdone, but something crossed my mind this morning that amused me a bit: What if President Joe Biden was America’s answer to Emperor Nerva?

Our next president?

Marcus Cocceius Nerva came to the throne in A.D. 96 after the assassination of Emperor Domitian, who was, shall we say, quite controversial in the Empire. Lots of people had reason to hate him.

Not that I’m saying Trump is a batshit insane murderer, unlike Domitian, but, after a term that roiled politics and society, not unlike Domitian’s, at least some of the people who wanted someone different in office were looking for a return of calm.

Enter the old man, a grandfatherly figure who promises everyone can relax, now.

Joe Biden, meet Nerva. Nerva, meet Joe Biden.

But bear in mind also that Nerva, as an old man, was a transitional figure. He died of a stroke and secondary illness after fifteen months on the throne. At the time of his death, he was 67, pretty old for the First Century.

Joe Biden will be 78 when he is inaugurated, and he is clearly slipping into dementia. He may not make it fifteen months.

The key to Nerva’s significance is who he picked to succeed him: Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, an experienced and accomplished general whom we know as the Emperor Trajan. Taking power in a peaceful transition after Nerva’s death, Trajan went on to become one of Rome’s greatest emperors.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, picked Kamala Harris.

We’ll see.

If Your TDS Lasts Longer Than Four Years, Call Your Psychiatrist

November 12, 2020

He broke them.

I’ve often said there is plenty to criticize President Trump for, but his opponents ninety-nine percent of the time avoid these real criticisms and go “straight to Hitler.” This morning’s case in point is a tweet from Robert Reich, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration.

Also a certified hysteric:

This is either ignorance, which I doubt in Reich’s case, or a casual mendacity that shows his contempt for his readers.

Trump the “closest to a dicator” we’ve ever come? Let’s see, did he…

Why, no. Those were presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Barack Obama. Each used his powers far more dictatorially than Trump ever has. In FDR’s case, it was arguably the worst civil rights atrocity since slavery, all done on the order of one man. I’m sure we can find other examples.

Now, I’m not saying that any of those men was an actual “dictator;” that would be Reichian hyperbole. But to say Trump has done anything like this let alone being the closest we’ve come to a dictator is not just risible, it’s contemptible.

Which seems to be Professor Reich’s métier these days.

Postscript: In case someone argues that Trump was dictatorial, too, let’s look at three things often cited.

  • Children in cages. A policy pursuant in compliance with court orders regarding the children of illegal border-crossers, hardly the actions of a dictator. Also, begun under the Obama administration.
  • “The press is the enemy of the people!” Yep, a stupid, stupid thing to say. But what actions were taken to punish those enemies? Unlike the journalists spied on by the Obama administration, the Trump administration did nothing. Surely Jim Acosta would be in jail by now, if it had.
  • Immigration enforcement and ICE raids. Again, done under authority of existing law and often targeted at criminals who were a danger to the communities they were hiding in.

Not the actions of a dictator.