Dan O’Donnell breaks down President Biden’s press conference, which was a perfect metaphor for his presidency: A confused, rambling mess.
January 21, 2022
Perspective by Dan O’Donnell
For 111 agonizing minutes Wednesday afternoon, President Biden bumbled and stumbled, bloviated and obfuscated, and just generally screwed up so colossally that his press team spent much of Thursday doing damage control. It was the perfect metaphor for Biden’s first year in office: A confused, rambling mess that will ultimately require someone else to clean up.
The press conference was itself meant to be a form of damage control following one of the worst first years in American presidential history but instead served only to confirm what the country has long suspected: Joe Biden is an idiot who is dangerously in over his head.
As Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border, Biden all but invited them in.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” he said. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the forces amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine, and that our allies and partners are ready to impose severe costs and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.”
But a smaller-scale invasion would be just fine?
“That’s how it did sound like, didn’t it?” Biden mused later in his remarks when questioned by a stunned Reuters reporter. “I think we will, if there’s something that is—that—where there’s Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera—I think that changes everything. But it depends on what he does, as to the exact—to what extent we’re going to be able to get total unity on the Rus- —on the NATO front.”
That, incidentally, is a direct quote from the official White House transcript of the press conference. Doesn’t exactly fill one with confidence in American leadership on the eve of what could escalate into a global conflict, does it?
Biden clearly (and wisely) does not want the US drawn into war with Russia, but he committed the cardinal sin of international diplomacy by revealing his position to his opponent. Unsurprisingly, that position is appeasement. Just as his former boss, President Obama, did next to nothing after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014, Biden will tolerate a certain level of Russian aggression without acting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin almost certainly knew this before Wednesday, but now there can be no doubt: He can invade Ukraine without fear of any US reprisal so long as his attack is only a “minor incursion.”
On the international stage, American weakness begets aggression by bad actors, and it isn’t hard to draw a direct line from Biden’s disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan to a suddenly emboldened Putin. If Biden was willing to leave hundreds of Americans behind in his mad dash out of Kabul, Putin undoubtedly reasoned, then he would be okay with a few dozen dead Ukrainian soldiers.
Think of it as the opposite of “peace through strength.” How about “anarchy through fecklessness?”
The withdrawal from Afghanistan was the seminal moment of Biden’s presidency and the precise moment that he lost the American people. They were horrified by the unprecedented wave of illegal immigration, terrified of the out-of-control inflation, and mystified that a President who promised to “shut down the virus” seemed powerless to stop its spread, but Afghanistan crystallized their feelings about him: He is grossly incompetent.
Although his central promise on the campaign trail was to bring a steady hand to the White House, everything Biden has touched has worsened. There are eight times as many new COVID cases per day than when he took office. Inflation is at its highest level in 40 years. Illegal immigration set new records each month Biden has been in power.
Even with control of both the House and Senate, he has been unable to pass his two signature pieces of legislation—Build Back Better and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And even worse for Democrats, he has succeeded only in making the country more Republican. The GOP has a five percent party affiliation advantage for the first time in more than a quarter century.
Politically, economically, medically, globally; by any conceivable measure the Biden presidency has been a dismal failure. America’s wallets are stretched, its patience is thin, and its enemies are salivating at yet another chance to humiliate it. This is a pivotal moment for the country and, if it wasn’t obvious already, Wednesday’s press conference removed any doubt that Joe Biden is not the man to meet it.