The trope of lesser evilism has died with the Joe Biden presidency. Only cynical operatives and Democratic Party deadenders will be able to entertain the thought of Biden being thought of as a lesser evil when he aids and abets Israeli war crimes.
“Let me say from the very beginning that we at Black Agenda Report do not think that Barack Obama is the Lesser Evil. He is the more Effective Evil. He has been more effective in Evil-Doing than Bush in terms of protecting the citadels of corporate power, and advancing the imperial agenda. He has put both Wall Street and U.S. imperial power on new and more aggressive tracks – just as he hired himself out to do.”
During the 2020 presidential election season anyone who hesitated to voice support for Joe Biden was immediately subjected to pleadings for “harm reduction” and “lesser evil.” The ham-fisted effort was an admission that the Democratic Party doesn’t represent the needs and desires of its voters and can only point to right wing republicans as a point of comparison. Barack Obama and the other party oligarchs who chose Biden knew he didn’t have a true constituency or any appeal aside from being a democrat and not being Donald Trump. Hence the desperate need to make a weak case for a weak candidate.
If Barack Obama was the more effective evil, Biden is the ineffective evil. Joe Biden served as Obama’s vice-president for two terms without learning anything about committing acts of evil while appearing not to. Neither he nor his team of Obama administration hold overs have even a small ability to be savvy in their commission of war crimes. Of course Obama’s abilities in this regard are legendary. If any president had a teflon coating that allowed him to shrug off any and all wrongdoing, Obama certainly did. The same man who destroyed Libya and created an ongoing humanitarian crisis dares to speak of his crime as if he were an innocent bystander instead of the perpetrator. That example is just one of many. Obama can brag about increasing oil production and still be considered an environmentalist, or fail to secure legislative protection for abortion rights yet pretend that he did.
Neither Joe Biden nor anyone else has this unique set of skills. When Israel began its latest war crime frenzy against Gaza, Biden immediately went to meet prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and publicly proclaim his support after a Gaza hospital was bombed. The Arab heads of state that Biden also planned to meet begged off, unwilling to be seen with him at the moment their people were united in outrage against Israel.
Biden has bipartisan support of Israel in congress and buy-in from corporate media. But they can’t hide the revulsion that millions of people feel when they see entire Palestinian families killed by Israel’s bombs. Biden’s physical and mental frailty are evident and his failure to secure even minimal help for working people is not forgotten. There is no student loan debt relief, the Covid emergency plans have ended, and millions of people have lost their SNAP and Medicaid benefits despite having qualified for these programs. Build Back Better needed a better name because it never happened. Biden’s campaign lies have been exposed and his approval rating continues to fall, and is now at a low 37%.
There is certainly no harm reduction for Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has killed more than 8,000 people in an attempt to permanently depopulate this occupied territory and steal more land for settlement.
The only way to defend Biden is to claim that Donald Trump would have allowed Israel to kill even more people. But Trump isn’t in office anymore and imagining hypothetical actions of a now disgraced former president doesn’t cut it as the 2024 campaign season begins in a few months. The Democratic Party already announced there will be no debates for Sleepy Joe should any challengers emerge, so great is the fear that he will fall apart on a national media stage.
Being effectively evil means not repeating Israeli war propaganda about beheaded babies, only to reverse course and admit that no such evidence exists. It isn’t surprising that Arab leaders wouldn’t be seen with Biden after he repeated Israeli denials of the hospital bombing, “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.” Biden’s spokespeople openly sneered at the Gaza Health Ministry’s detailed death toll report by dismissing the ministry as a “front for Hamas.” The same spokesperson later released a video claiming that the U.S. was concerned about humanitarian aid only to backtrack the next day and say that a ceasefire, the one thing that could save lives, “benefits Hamas.” The ineffectiveness of Biden’s evil grows more pronounced every day.
Even people who give cursory attention to foreign affairs know that the U.S. has vetoed every United Nations resolution meant to bring peace or an end to civilian suffering. It will be interesting to see how Biden’s handlers manage to make the “lesser evil” claim after this latest foreign policy disaster and humanitarian crisis of U.S. and Israeli making.
It remains to be seen if Obama and others convene another smoke filled room and anoint someone other than Biden as the party standard bearer in 2024. The bullying of protest and corporate media lies can achieve only so much. Biden is the greater evil and no amount of wordsmithing can change that fact.
Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. You can support her work on Patreon and also find it on the Twitter, Bluesky, and Telegram platforms. She can be reached via email at margaret.kimberley(at)blackagendareport.com.