Hank Johnson’s Partisanship Is A Major Problem: When a second batch of classified documents was discovered in President Joe Biden’s private residence – a problem arguably more serious than the discovery of similar such documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate given that Biden did not have the power to declassify documents as vice president – some Democrats went to extreme lengths to defend him.
(Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel Here.)
Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat famed for his belief that the island of Guam was at risk of tipping over and sinking, went as far as telling Fox News that the documents could have been planted.
“Alleged classified documents showing up allegedly in the possession of Joseph Biden…I’m suspicious of the timing of it,” Johnson told Hillary Vaughn last Thursday.
“I’m also aware of the fact that things can be planted on people… things can be planted in places and then discovered conveniently. That may be what has occurred here. I’m not ruling that out. But I’m open in terms of the investigation needs to be investigated.”
Johnson’s logic was so flawed, however, that the president has already proven him wrong.
Joe Biden Has a Problem
When directly asked about the Obama administration-era documents, President Joe Biden said last week that they were indeed in his possession, but argued that they were in a secure location.
When Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked the president if the documents were found in his locked garage, the president responded, “Yes, as well as my Corvette.”
To suggest the documents were planted would not only be an obvious lie but would also put the president at odds with the nation’s intelligence and security agencies.
The Biden administration is no doubt scrambling for a believable defense.
Still, the idea the documents were “planted” is so far-fetched that even this administration isn’t willing to go there.
Hank Johnson Has a Problem
And now, Johnson is faced with a tough choice – sticking by his claim, despite the president debunking it, or admitting that the documents were Biden’s and becoming a critic of the sitting president.
Johnson’s argument that the documents may have been planted is a de facto admission that they should never have been in Biden’s personal residence in the first place – and should Johnson go back on his unfounded claims, he should theoretically be as critical of the president as the Republicans are.
Anything less than denouncing the president and calling for all the same punishments as the Democrats argued that former President Trump should be slapped with would constitute major hypocrisy.
Johnson, however, seems committed to the lie and hasn’t shown any sign he intends to correct the record.
Partisan “Buffoonery” As A Wider Trend
Johnson’s defense of the president is not only flawed, and not only an example of the kind of hyperpartisan sensationalism that has become embedded in American politics but a classic example of what attorney Gene Berardelli would describe as “political buffoonery.”
Berardelli, the author of “Schnooks, Crooks, Liar & Scoundrels: A Field Guide to Identifying Political Buffoons,” spoke exclusively to 19FortyFive about Johnson and suggested his unsubstantiated claims are just one of many examples of both sides of the political aisle taking partisanship too far.
“I half-expected Johnson to blame it all on a one-armed man a la The Fugitive, which, honestly, is not that much of a stretch if you know Johnson’s history proclivity to insert his foot directly into his mouth,” Berardelli said. “After all, Johnson is the man who openly questioned in a Congressional hearing whether increased troop presence on Guam would cause the island to capsize. This is the man who equated unionization of workers to, um… little people fighting a giant. He would later apologize for using a derogatory term for those little people, only to use that term again within his mea culpa.”
Berardelli went on to say that Johnson’s latest foible is just another example of how modern politics is “filled with individuals possessing a combination of an overabundance of self-confidence and a woeful lack of proficiency.”
Berardelli pointed to newly-elected Congressman George Santos, a New York Republican, as an example of how this behavior spans both parties. Santos is presently embroiled in a scandal focusing on a series of lies he told during his campaign, relating not only to his past education and career, but even his religion and name.
“Santos has been the subject of much consternation and handwringing within Republican circles. Many, including the party leadership in his home county on Long Island, have called for his resignation. But on the other hand, others urge Santos to remain, citing the support Democrats lend to embattled politicians as the goose to their gander. Sure, they say: Santos is a buffoon. Sure, Santos has done wrong. But so did Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who was never punished for her own anti-Semitic remarks. As did Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) lies about his Vietnam War record, yet there he remains in the halls of the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Paul Gosar get booted from committees, while Republicans stand idly by and let it happen,” Berardelli writes.
So, what is the solution? Berardelli says that politicians should embrace their responsibility to do good and be courageous.
When politicians are of the mindset that because “they” do it, “we” can do it too, Berardelli says, politics becomes defined by the “political buffoons who stand for absolutely nothing but their own lust to rule.”
With activist politicians on both sides saying and doing anything to defend their colleagues and agenda, even in the face of documented wrongdoing, it’ll take one side to break the pattern and do the right thing.
But who will do it first?
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.