I had been musing about a post on how Joe Biden’s Presidency was the most dishonest in U.S. history, and then Brad Polumbo of the Washington Examiner coined the description, “Trojan Horse Presidency.” I’m angry at myself for not beating him him to it, but I am grateful for the metaphor.
It would be more useful, of course, if more than a fraction of the public were culturally literate. I wonder how many Americans know what the Trojan Horse was? They don’t teach Greek mythology in public schools; an amazing number of fans of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” are amused by the huge wooden rabbit King Arthur’s troop uses to invade a castle without knowing what it satirized. This is the tragedy of declining cultural literacy: it makes concepts harder to visualize and explain.
The tale of the Trojan Horse isn’t in the “Illiad” of Homer, which relates the tale of the Trojan War. It was the invention of Virgil, the Roman poet, in his rip-off of Homer’s “Odyssey,” “The Aeneid.” After a decade of attacking the walled city of Troy without success, the Greeks decided to try an off-the-wall scheme offered by “Wily Odysseus,” as Homer called him, one of the Greek generals. His loopy idea was to build a huge wooden horse and leave it outside the Trojan gates at night. The Trojans, see, being morons, would think the thing was a sacred gift from the gods, and move it inside their walls. Then, once they were all asleep, the Greek soldiers hidden in the hollow horse would come out and slaughter the city! Hey! It’s so crazy, it just might work!
It did work, but why used to confound me. Virgil wrote that three times while dragging the thing into the city, the Trojans stopped pulling, and heard the clatter of armor coming from inside the wooden horse. “Nah, it’s nothing! Keep pulling!” There was also the incident where Troy’s high priest, Laocoon, declared that the Trojan Horse was evil and hurled a spear at its side. Then two sea serpents arrived on the scene and ate him and his two sons. (The big snakes were the agents of sea god Poseidon, who was rooting for the Greeks.)
Joe Biden was elected president after a campaign rooted in rhetoric emphasizing unity, moderation, and compromise. But with every day that passes, the veneer of centrism that got him elected over rivals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders becomes more distant of a memory. Simply put, it sure seems like “moderate Joe” was a thin facade used to usher an ultra-progressive agenda in the backdoor….Biden’s centrist facade got him in the door, and now the liberal hordes are taking over his administration. On Friday, the White House announced a commission to study the idea of packing the Supreme Court, an idea that would constitute a partisan assault on the judiciary as we know it and erode the rule of law.This flirtation with radicalism is just the latest development in a series of extreme Biden administration policy overhauls that make former President Barack Obama seem like a conservative in comparison. For example, the president has embraced a federal $15 minimum wage, a job-killing policy rejected even by then-candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, and even tried to force it through as small businesses were struggling to survive amid the pandemic. And Biden’s early approach to spending makes the New Deal pale in comparison. He has utterly discarded any semblance of fiscal restraint he ever had as a senator, throwing caution to the wind to push through a $1.9 trillion partisan COVID-19 “stimulus” package that, adjusted for inflation and population, is twice the size of the Obama-era bailout and slightly larger than former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Never mind whether you like Biden’s emerging radical agenda or not; that’s not the point. The point is that this is not who and what he claimed to be when he was a candidate. Indeed, it was the consensus that Democrats and progressives were accepting him as a “none of the above” candidate because they knew one of the more extreme alternatives—they were all extreme—would not be able to defeat that hated Donald Trump. Most Americans are not socialists, totalitarians, statists or radicals. Thus a moderate Democrat, one who was familiar, religious (Joe is, he has always explained, a devout Catholic who believes that abortion is the equivalent of murder but that everyone should be able to decide to whether to murder their unborn child or not. Joe has never claimed to be consistent or bright), a known quantity and a nice guy, would be the candidate because the alternative was losing. Even with those assumption, it required a massive abandonment of integrity by woke Democrats to make Biden the standard-carrier. He is old, white, male, and a serial sexual harasser—“#MeToo? What #MeToo?” He is also obviously sliding into dementia, which makes supporting him especially hypocritical for those who kept trying to get Donald Trump removed via the 25th Amendment. Democrats, however, have adopted “the ends justify the means” as a core value.
Yet many or most of those who voted for Joe really did assume that he would be a centrist, unifying leader—because he said he would, and Joe was the honest candidate. It’s Donald Trump who always lies.
It is here that my planned essay was going to have as its starting point. For despite the four-year talking point that Donald Trump was a habitual liar, and all the exaggerated media lists of Trump “lies,” the vast majority of which were either not lies or absurdly trivial, Donald Trump was one of the very few modern Presidents who was exactly who he claimed to be during his first campaign, and his administration was remarkable in following through on the policies and governing philosophies he ran under. Reagan and Carter were similarly honest in presenting to the nation the kinds of leaders they would be. Bush I ran as a disciple of Reagan, which he was not (he was also not a leader.) Bush II said he was against nation-building and policing the world. Obama was going to bring the races closer together. None, however, deceived and betrayed the nation to the extent that Joe Biden is in the process of doing.
Biden is the opposite of the President most Americans thought they were voting for. Yes, yes, I know, he’s lost it, he’s old, he’s feeble, he’s being manipulated like an abused elderly parent whose adult children are bullying him. Maybe. It doesn’t matter: he was complicit in this cheat, and he is as responsible as his party. He wanted to be President so badly that he was willing to deceive voters and be a Trojan Horse, and for that he deserves to be judged as the most dishonest and despicable President ever. I can’t find another President who so completely misrepresented himself, though both Wilson and FDR are runners up.
There were a lot of modern Laocoons who saw through this scheme, and they were metaphorically devoured by the Trump-hating news media, nicely type-cast as serpents. There were also many equivalents of the Greek armor clattering from inside the hollow horse. As with the Trojans, Americans were weary of the partisan battles, and wanted to believe that this gift was benign and would solve all of their problems. They allowed themselves to be tricked. They wanted to be tricked.
Here, however, the analogy breaks down. It only took one night to sack Troy: Americans have every reason now to comprehend the dastardly deception that was used on them. The nation isn’t sacked yet. The Democrats know that if they don’t conquer quickly, the backlash at their perfidy will be furious.
No party, and certainly not a President, who attempts such a plot should ever be trusted again.