Biden's Mistakes

It's difficult to think of a contemporary presidency that has disintegrated as quickly as this one.

This didn't have to be the way it turned out.

President Biden could have kept his campaign pledges and put himself and his party on track for a victorious 2022 if he had chosen to. He might have disregarded the shallow passions of Twitter and television news, cooled the heat that so often characterize our daily politics, and offered the calm, limited, and capable leadership that he pledged throughout his low-key campaign. Recognizing that his party only had a sliver of a legislative majority, he might have dialed back his grandiose aspirations and guaranteed that his personal concentration and the public's attention were as close as feasible. He could have whittled down the scope of his first COVID bill, ignoring the pressure to go large and restricting aid to just the most desperate. He could have made the bipartisan infrastructure bill a centerpiece, rather than an afterthought, of his first year. He could have grasped that, because federal power is so limited, his role in fighting the pandemic would be exclusively oratorical. He could have understood that people care deeply about illegal immigration and gotten serious about limiting it, even as he struck a kinder tone. Having realized that inflation was clearly not set to be “transitory,” he could have directed the sum of his efforts toward alleviating it. And, while he was doing all that, he could have paid attention to the details that his job throws up in abundance — particularly in the foreign-policy realm — and thereby avoided the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan that drove a stake through his presidency within six months of his taking his oath. A little more humility, a greater willingness to say “no,” and a more acute understanding of why he won in the first instance would all have gone a long way.

Instead? He, on the other hand, accomplished none of the above. Instead, he dismissed all evidence to the contrary and declared himself an international figure. Instead, he began discussing the country's "transformation." Instead, he proposed the most expansive spending package in American history. Instead, he conveyed a message of encouragement to would-be border crossers. Instead, he welcomed every nonsense neologism thrown to him by progressives: "Latinx," "BIPOC," "birthing person," and so on. According to NPR, a slew of irresponsible voices began "flattering him with analogies to two iconic Democratic presidents of the twentieth century — Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson" as soon as Biden won the race. And Biden, the idiot that he is, fell for it. In March, Axios confirmed to general derision that Biden was exhibiting a sincere “determination to be one of the most consequential presidents” in American history, and — euphemism alert! — to explore the “elasticity of presidential power.” The correct response to being told that he might be the next FDR would have been to laugh the speaker out of the Oval Office. Instead, flattered, Biden said, “Tell me more.”

It's difficult to think of a modern administration that has fallen apart so quickly as Joe Biden's. The man is not just unpopular, but also a joke after eleven months in government. Except as an alternative to Donald Trump, no one admires him. Except as a hindrance to their own political fortunes, no one fears him. Except if the alternative is a Democratic Party led by Kamala Harris, no one wants him to run for government again. He promised to be a "unifier," but all he's accomplished is to unify the electorate against him. He claimed to be a moderate, yet his popularity among independents has dropped by two or three to one. He promised a return to normalcy, but he's only managed to make things worse. He has continued the executive branch’s bipartisan assault on the Constitution, declined the chance to restore the presidency to a more modest place in our politics, and retained the destructive overpromising tendencies that have haunted so many of his predecessors. He is old, confused, inadequate, and, above all, demonstrably out of place. It did not take long after the inauguration for distracted Americans to ask, “Wait, that guy?”

This deterioration was not unavoidable. Joe Biden's unlikely climb to the White House could have turned into a gold mine if he had made better decisions. Instead, he has shattered the loom several times. Because the Democrats didn't want Bernie Sanders and the people didn't want Trump, Biden was elected president. His presidency collapsed because he became so enamored with his incredible rise that he forgot about it. He'll only have a few months next year to change his direction.

If he misses it? Deluge.

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