Sunday, September 26

The scandal that wasn’t: Republicans deflated as the nation shrugs off Hunter Biden’s revelations | Republicans

Where is Hunter?

The rhetorical question about Joe Biden’s troubled son was posed over and over again by Donald Trump during last year’s US presidential election, but it never caught fire in the way that “Lock her up!” did against Hillary Clinton.

Still, when it emerged that Hunter would publish a memoir about his fight against alcoholism and drug abuse, and would give television interviews to promote it, some foresaw a time bomb in the first 100 days of the Biden administration. It has not turned out that way.

However, Hunter’s book has been praised for its honest honesty and literary style and for challenging the stigma of addiction. As Republicans scramble to find a sustained line of attack against Biden, Hunter’s self-disclosures have been met with a shrug in a nation apparently accustomed to scandal from Trump himself.

“It’s amazing how many of your hopes and dreams were focused on Hunter Biden’s addiction, Hunter Biden’s sex life, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and interesting for a political party that has relied so heavily on ‘nothing matters’ to discover to his disappointment that nothing matters, “he said Charlie Sykes, author of How the Right Lost His Head.

“Have you not established a little universe where nothing matters? You can pay a pornstar and it doesn’t make any difference. Did they really think that Hunter Biden was somehow going to make a difference? “

In the memoir, Beautiful Things, Hunter, 51, details a life-long struggle with drinking and drugs. He writes that his “deep descent” into substance addiction followed the 2015 death of his older brother, Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer at age 46.

Hunter admits that “in the last five years alone, my two-decade marriage dissolved, they put guns in my face, and at one point, I went off the grid, living in Super 8 motels at $ 59 a night. -95 while scaring my family even more than myself. “

In an interview About the book on CBS, the president’s son recalled spending 13 days without sleep while smoking crack and drinking vodka. “I spent more time on my hands and knees rummaging through rugs, smoking anything that remotely resembled crack cocaine. I probably smoked more Parmesan cheese than anyone you know. “

The Biden family hosted an intervention at their home in Delaware in 2019, inviting two counselors from a rehab center to dinner. Hunter swore and ran out of the house, but his father chased him down the driveway, who “grabbed me, spun me around and hugged me. He hugged me tightly in the dark and cried for a long time. They were all outside now. “

Hunter also uses the book to deny wrongdoing by joining the board of directors of Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine, where he made more than $ 50,000 a month between 2014 and 2019. Republicans allege he profited from his last name when his father he was vice president. . Hunter’s tax affairs are currently being investigated by the Justice Department.

Hunter Biden with his father at an event in Washington in 2016.
Hunter Biden with his father at an event in Washington in 2016. Photograph: Teresa Kroeger / Getty Images

The memoirs have garnered positive reviews. Weekly Editors Found that Hunter’s “courageous self-assessment makes the despair of substance abuse devastatingly palpable.”

In a propaganda On the book’s dust jacket, author Stephen King describes it as “heartbreaking and compulsively readable” with a boldness that is “heartbreaking and quite beautiful.” He comments: “Hunter Biden proves once again that anyone, even the son of a president of the United States, can take a ride on the pink horse down the alley of nightmares.”

And Dave Eggers, whose books include the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, writes in other blurb: “Beautiful Things is so concise, so unshakable and propelling, that apart from turning the pages and occasionally lifting my jaw off the ground, don’t don’t move between the first page and the last one. “

None of this gives Republicans the ammunition they have hoped for. Politically, the book has been a dog that did not bark (unlike the actual dogs of Biden, Champ, and Major, who have made headlines about biting incidents and excrement in a White House hallway) and rather than becoming a burden, it only seems to reinforce Biden’s image as compassionate and human.

Sykes, founder and general editor of the Bulwark website, He said: “It is also the story of a very loving and loyal father and it is difficult to turn that into something negative. There are many parents who know that dealing with a child who has problems is one of the biggest challenges they can face and therefore I think that people are just as likely to be empathetic as they are to see it as something negative.

Not to mention the fact that in the context of the loss of two of his children and his first wife to Joe Biden in tragic circumstances, Hunter Biden’s story is put in a very different light. I always thought it was deeply cynical that Trump wanted to exploit that as a weakness, to go after the only living son of a man who suffered so much tragedy. “

Efforts by the right wing to demonize Hunter have been further thwarted by a crisis in their own ranks. The memoirs played a secondary role in the face of almost daily revelations about Matt Gaetz, a fiercely pro-Trump Republican congressman, apparently under investigation for allegations of a relationship with an underage girl and payments for sex with women recruited online. Gaetz is considered by many observers to be a less sympathetic figure than Hunter.

Biden, 78, is far from the first president to face scrutiny on the behavior of their offspring. John Adams, the second president, once confessed, “My children give me more pain than all my enemies.” Adams disowned his third son, Charles, an alcoholic who was destitute when he died aged 30 from cirrhosis of the liver.

Joshua Kendall, author of First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama, said: “Throughout history there has been a lot of alcoholism and substance abuse in the children of presidents, but it has always been buried. Republicans are operating from, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to reveal these secrets and we’re going to show that this new president has this substance-abusing son and it’s all awful.’

But Hunter Biden is breaking the mold by writing some really honest memoirs. It is different from the 18th century, where everything would be hidden. By being so honest and straightforward, you are removing the political toxicity from your difficult life. It is a turning point in history where this material can no longer be assembled. That seems to be the lesson. “

Hunter is helping demystify the lives of powerful politicians, Kendall added. “We are learning that just because you are rich and famous, substance abuse can still occur. We are much more tolerant of that.

“If this had happened 50 years ago, it could be much more useful ammunition for Republicans, but it is running out because society has changed and we are much more used to the fact that presidents are real people. He did a thorough review and I think that’s resonating with readers and might actually help other people with substance abuse. “

That point of view is shared by Gabor Maté, a Canadian author and physician who has studied the links between addiction and trauma. He said: “The fact that Hunter shares his own trauma, addiction and continued work toward recovery will benefit many. I acknowledge your courage in doing so. Regardless of what some shortsighted politicians may think, all of us in the healing and medical communities can only be thankful for having spoken. “

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