During a rare press conference today, which lasted well over an hour, President Joe Biden told the press corps that he “didn’t believe the polls,” said he’d “over-performed” in his first year, accomplishing more than any president in history in his first year, scolded RealClearPolitics reporter Philip Wegmann and blamed the country for somehow misunderstanding what he meant when he labeled his political opponents as allies of Bull Connor. He also noted that without his voting legislation, that the 2022 and 2024 elections would be rigged and not legitimate.
The presser came at a time when a phenomenon is occurring in Biden-friendly media. Commentators are grappling with the realization that Joe Biden is not the “competent” (Washington Post) “non-divisive” (Daily Beast) and “stable” (Washington Post, again) magic grandpa capable of uniting a fractured America with a whisper and a hug. That Joe Biden is the man the Biden campaign sold the pundits on, and it comported with the ideal Joe Biden the pundits had concocted in their collective anti-Trump hivemind. But sadly, that ideal doesn’t match the reality of who Joe Biden is: a man who once told an audience of African Americans that Mitt Romney would re-enslave them.
As Biden’s approval ratings hit the kind of lows not seen since the Truman era, the pro-Biden, or at very least Biden-curious, media has issued a series of course correction instructions. These warnings, from the likes of the Washington Post and the Bulwark, are once again based on their own false notion of who they want and consider Joe Biden to be, and not who he actually is. There is no chance that Joe Biden and the Visiting Angels who run his administration will change the slant of his presidency. His Joe Rogan-length press conference today offered more evidence of that.
It would be easier welcome rigorous criticism of an inept president from DC’s punditry elite had they not spent the campaign and his first year in office willfully ignoring Joe Biden’s 40-year track record in the US Senate and as vice president, in order to sell voters on the image that Ron Klain wanted to project. Instead the commentariat’s about-face is jarring for average Americans. Most of them aren’t pro-Trump and really did just want to get some sleep after four years of Twitter screaming. Most of them have since been quick to realize that Joe Biden is not a “very stable genius” who could prove to be the comprehensive antidote to Donald Trump.
The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker tweeted “Biden was supposed to be the anti-Trump — steady, stable, competent. But the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal undercut that image, and facing a cascade of crises — covid, etc — Biden has never been able to recover.” Parker is seemingly unaware that Joe Biden is facing multiple crises of his own making. On top of that, often Joe Biden is the crisis, as demonstrated during his marathon Wednesday presser.
This is not the president that was elected a year ago — and certainly not the ideal one that so many DC pundits had concocted in their own heads.
He and his administration were elected to “shut down” a virus that he has for the most part ignored since July, when he declared “masked or vaxxed” and then stuck his foot in a hole in Afghanistan. His administration handlers ensured that the defining image from the Kabul catastrophe was footage of him turning his back to the American people, as he refused to answer questions about the manner of the troops’ withdrawal. We were told that Joe Biden was elected because of his empathy and competence. The commentators who told us that have since learned that he has neither quality.
Joe Biden is not suddenly going to become coherent when he speaks to the press. He can’t make Vladimir Putin back down by whipping out his aviators and heading to the nearest ice cream parlor. The pundits who bought the gingerly grandpa act may be praying that he can capture any fleeting fairy dust bestowed upon him by Barack Obama’s pop-culture prowess. But that won’t transform Biden into someone able to “shut down the virus.”
David Brooks thinks Biden needs to “begin revamping his presidency.” “Jennifer Rubin claims that “Biden needs a reset.” Frankly, any paid pundit begging for Biden to become the fantastical wise elder statesman they fantasized about should keep their thoughts to themselves. The rest of us should ignore their “expertise” when making any serious assessment of this defeated old man’s tenure.
Stephen L. Miller is a Spectator contributing editor.