Is this the beginning of the end of the Biden administration?
Attorney General Merrick Garland looks on as President Joe Biden speaks. (Getty)

When future historians congregate to conduct their postmortem of the short-lived Biden administration, what date will they pick to mark the crisis that signaled the beginning of the end? I'd like to offer October 4, 2021 for consideration.

In the weeks before, it is true, Biden's approval rating had been in free fall. (Fun pastime if you're bored: enter 'Biden' and 'free fall' into your favorite search engine). There was the world historical disaster of our evacuation of Afghanistan, the nearest parallel to which was not America's ignominious departure from Saigon in 1975 but William Elphinstone's disastrous evacuation from Kabul in 1842. There was the unfolding crisis at our southern border. The President insisted that the border was 'closed' (in the same way that he said that the cost of his doomed, $3.5 trillion spending plan was 'zero'), but his own officials are prepping for a surge of 400,000 illegals in the month of October. Inflation is at a 30-year high, with no end in sight. Gas, food, housing, clothes: the prices of all are skyrocketing. The President came to office promising to 'shut down' COVID, not the country, but since he took office some 250,000 people have died and ineffectual mask mandates, vaccine mandates, St-Anthony-Fauci-certified mandate mandates have proliferated like pussy hats at an anti-Trump rally.

Several weeks ago, writing about the incineration of 10 innocent Afghans (including seven children) in an errant drone strike that the lying US military first said had killed an Isis-K operative, I pondered the proverbial expression 'the straw that broke the camel's back'. Some trace that expression back to Thomas Hobbes, but I suspect the germ of the idea is much older. The basic idea, of course, is that an accumulation of evils is bearable up to a certain point, beyond which even a tiny addition, apparently insignificant, brings sudden disaster.

I wonder if Attorney General Merrick Garland has just supplied the proverbial straw that will send the camel that is the Biden administration crashing to the ground.

Garland was supposed to be a moderate. The Washington Compost assured its readers that there was a '98 percent probability that Merrick Garland is "in between" Ginsburg and Scalia. In other words, that he is comparatively moderate'. One of my friends even wrote that he was a 'superb' choice to be attorney general.

I wonder what he thinks now? Garland has been a willing collaborator with all the most egregious actions of the Biden administration. But on Monday October 4, he wrote a memo that will will go down infamy. I think it was Chris Rufo who first reported that Garland has instructed the FBI to mobilize against parents who oppose critical race theory in public schools, citing (completely unnamed) 'threats'. The National School Boards Association had complained to the Biden administration, describing the protests as a 'form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes'. In response, Garland outlined a 'Partnership among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement to address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff.' A 'partnership among federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement': think about that.

Again, no specific threats were adduced. What's really at issue here, as Mary Chastain notes at Legal Insurrection, is criminalizing dissent. 'Actually,' she writes, 'they want to figure out how to deal with parents who have the nerve to be involved in their child's education.' Like Biden facing resistance to his vaccine mandate, Garland finds his 'patience wearing thin' and orders the coercive apparatus of the state, including the FBI's Criminal Division and National Security Division, to bear down on parents who have the temerity to question the racist indoctrination of their children.

Chastain quotes another LI commentator, Jeff Reynolds, who outlined the strategy:

'The school board and superintendent organizations calling for federal law enforcement appear to be preemptively playing victim here instead of responding to a legitimate threat. Of course, this follows with the Biden administration's focus on white supremacists as the single greatest terrorist threat the United States faces today. An overblown fear of domestic terrorists makes for a great diversion from the parents across the nation with legitimate questions about what their kids learn at these schools. The NSBA seems to have forgotten that, as elected officials, school board members are not supposed to be the bosses — the parents are.'

The reaction to Garland's memo has been quick and furious. Will this episode be the turning point, the straw that broke the back of President Ice Cream? Coupled with Biden's response to the harassment of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was followed into a public bathroom and filmed by shouting activists, maybe so. That, Biden said, was 'part of the process'. But parents opposing the insinuation of Marxoid ideas into school curricula: that must be met by nationalizing the police power of the state and stomping down on any resistance as if it were an instance of 'domestic terrorism'. I am going long on tar, feathers, and pitchforks, also lampposts.

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About the Author

Roger Kimball
Roger Kimball is Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion and President and Publisher of Encounter Books. He is an art critic for National Review and writes a regular column for PJ Media at Roger's Rules.