What If There Is No Low-Hanging Economic Fruit? 

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on new actions to strengthen supply chains at the Indian Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 27, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden is in an economic-political bind, partly of his own making and partly more than a century in the making: He is a hostage of our national religion, the cult of the magic president. 

In this case, it is the president-as-rainmaker, the guy who is responsible for the economy—a belief founded on very little other than pure superstition rooted in ancient magical beliefs about national/tribal leaders as intercessors between men and the gods, who by their personal virtue and ceremonial correctness ensure material prosperity. If the rains are timely and the crops abundant, then the king has done right. If there is disease or drought, then … 

In the (very) old days, a sacral king who lost the mandate of heaven might expect to be ritually murdered by his successor, but now we just have elections—unless you take Donald Trump’s lawyers seriously, in which case apparently we can expect doddering incumbents to murder their would-be successors. As a tradition-minded conservative, I have to say that I prefer it the other way around, but that’s a longer story.

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (269)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More