Programming note: Today, Wednesday, I'll be checking in with the great John Oakley on Global News Radio 640 in Toronto, live at 5pm Eastern. Hope you'll tune in.
~UPDATE to below: Bernie Sanders is to hold a 1pm press conference. So they've negotiated the size of his new beach house (or Gulfstream). [UPPERDATE: He's staying in at least till the Sunday debate. If there is a debate...]
~To modify T S Eliot in "The Hollow Men" (whose theme seems not inappropriate), this is the way the world ends, not with a Bern but a whimper. As I said on Rush the morning after Super Tuesday, Senator Sanders blew the 2016 election with a single line - his crotchetty insistence to Mrs Clinton that he was "sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails". That told Hillary that he wouldn't go after her on the subject of her corruption and lawlessness. Which in turn told Hillary that Bernie wasn't serious.
And so it proved.
Four years later, he was now, I said on the radio, making the same mistake again - in a pitiful Super Tuesday speech too gutless to mention Joe Biden by name. If he didn't butch up before Michigan, he'd be over. That means not oblique references to unspecified candidates whose positions on Social Security and 2008 bailouts he disagrees with, but clobbering Biden by name on a) his decades-long corruption; and b) his more recent but increasingly obvious cognitive impairment. Only if a Democrat makes either an issue will the court eunuchs of the American media be obliged to cover it. Absent that, in the post-Iowa/New Hampshire avalanche of primaries, people vote on a vague recollection of Joe Biden from fifteen years back, when, by comparison with a Castroite crank flapping his arms around, he seemed "likeable" - or, in the dreary clichés of presidential politics, the candidate you'd enjoy sharing a beer with - even if Joe had no idea he was sharing a beer with you and was convinced he was sharing a margarita with Esther Williams and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Bernie blew it. The closest he got was tiptoeing up to the issue by noting that, while he himself was out there giving hour-long speeches, Biden's were now down to seven minutes. If you're paying attention, you kinda sorta know what he's hinting at, even if trumpeting the charms of a stump speech eight times longer than your opponent isn't the most persuasive way to sell it.
But again he needed to say it, and he didn't. America's Castro turns out to be not a real revolutionary, just a Vermont weekending flatlander of a revolutionary, a Ben & Jerry's novelty ice-cream flavor of the real thing - Stalinist Swirl, Beria Blast, The Choctober Revolution, Hammer & Brickle...
What a joke.
~Oh, but his fans protest, Bernie's still got a chance to land one on Biden at this weekend's very first one-on-one two-hour debate. Alas, the Wuhan flu has already led to the DNC, out of "an abundance of caution", getting rid of the live audience and getting rid of the jostling journos in the spin room. How much more abundant could that caution get in the next seventy-two hours? Jim Clyburn, the Dem bigshot who saved Biden in South Carolina, is already saying we don't need any more debates.
As I wrote just a fortnight ago:
People wonder why Joe's minders continue to put him through this. But they're missing the point. To the minders, he's the perfect candidate. That's why all the professionals - the Consultant-Industrial Complex - hated Trump last time round: He had no minders and he just did what he wanted. Biden instead goes where they tell him, to get shoved out on stage in New Hampshire and announce he's in Iowa, or Guam, talk gibberish and threaten to give some petite coed the thrashing of her life. From the minders' point of view, a mindless candidate is a godsend. The last thing the entourage want is a guy with a mind of his own.
Who knows who'd be running a Biden presidency? But it certainly wouldn't be Joe, who'd be lost in rhapsodic dreams of when he rappelled into Robben Island to bust out Nelson Rockefeller.
To reprise my Tucker line, the Trump campaign was all candidate and no minders; the Biden campaign is all minders and no candidate. If they can pull this off, America will never need a real candidate again.
~If you're one of that small brave band that enjoys me on camera, I'll be back with Tucker tomorrow night, Thursday.
We opened The Mark Steyn Club over two years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. My only regret is that we didn't launch it seventeen years ago, but better late than never. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.
Oh, and Wuhan Flu notwithstanding, please give a thought to our Third Annual Steyn Cruise sailing the Med next year - and with Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, John O'Sullivan and Douglas Murray among our shipmates. We'll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you're minded to give it a go, don't leave it too late: as with most travel and accommodations, the price is more favorable the earlier you book.
As for Covid-19, my view is that:
a) by the time we sail in the fall the virus will be as burned out as Bern; or
b) if not, it will be so ubiquitous that cruising to exotic climes will be no more dangerous than a trip to your bare-shelf Price-Chopper.
I know, I know, I'm just a Pandemic Polyanna. But the glass is one-sixteenth full, and we shall set sail on the appointed date, zombie apocalypse or not.
See you on the Oakley show at 5pm Eastern.