Patterico's Pontifications

1/14/2022

Nearly One Year Into the Biden Administration, Jim Geraghty Is Not Impressed

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:03 am



[guest post by JVW]

This upcoming Wednesday will mark 52 weeks of Joe Biden’s Presidency. Coming on the heels of what has been a disastrous week (and, to be sure, really about six months) for the novice administration, there are sure to be plenty of think-pieces coming from right, left, and center, all appraising the first year of the 46th President and making suggestions for how the Chief Executive and his team can turn around what is pretty much by consensus an awful start (certainly there will be professional Democrats who will write pieces suggesting that Team Biden has had several substantial wins that will pay off down the road). Jim Geraghty at National Review has gotten a head start on the rest of the pundits with an amazing piece which makes a convincing case that Joe Biden’s Presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. I implore you go over there and read it in full, but I’ll tease you with a few tidbits:

[Biden] just screws up, over and over again. I ranted this litany to a friend who observed that this isn’t even counting the legislative fights that Biden chose, knowing the extraordinary difficulty of passage with a small majority for House Democrats and a 50-50 Senate: Build Back Better, a federal takeover of election administration, and creating at least a carve-out of the filibuster if not eliminating it entirely. As Phil Klein summarizes, “Biden wasted months of negotiations hoping that Manchin would suddenly change his mind on a kitchen-sink bill. . . . Clearly, Biden’s calculations on the art of the possible have been way off.”

[. . .]

Biden’s fundamental personal problem is that he wildly overestimates his own persuasiveness and charm. He’s prickly, thin-skinned, and as we’ve seen, a clumsy demagogue. (Some of us remember “Gonna put you back in chains!”) He’s frequently something of a jerk or an ass; people may remember Biden saying, “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,” but they rarely remember that it’s one of the first things Biden said upon meeting that Indian-American supporter. His better days seem rarer than in the Obama years, and even on those, he comes across as a garrulous wacky neighbor whom you start keeping your distance from because you know any interaction will lead to your being forced to listen to a lot of lengthy, meandering, self-aggrandizing stories. Biden was always prone to exaggeration, but now he seems to be blurring stories he once heard with experiences that actually happened to him. On his worst days, Biden’s indignation and anger burst forth with little warning and even less justification or coherence — “that was four or five days ago!”

[. . .]

[The decision to select the woefully incompetent and lazy Kamala Harris] as the Democratic nominee foreshadowed what the country would get with Biden as president. For a man who’s been in politics and elected office as long as he has, he has surprisingly bad instincts. And the consequences of those bad instincts and decisions are piling up higher and higher.

Again, I urge you to read the whole thing, especially Mr. Geraghty’s list of all of the ridiculous and unfulfilled promises that candidate Joe Biden made, as well as his comparison of the agenda demanded by the activist left (to whom President Biden has inexplicably tailored his own) to an agenda which would find favor with a center-left to center-right coalition of voters.

Joe Biden is a very mediocre man. If you were to gather him along with 1000 other random people in a room and measure their intelligence, I am willing to bet that at best Mr. Biden would come in somewhere in the very middle of the pack, in the 45%-55% range. When elected to the United States Senate, he almost certainly found himself in the bottom decile of members in terms of brainpower, and it’s not as if that body is exactly a collection of MENSA card holders. One hallmark of Joe Biden’s political career has been an ongoing need to justify himself — a small state Senator who was elected largely on looks and a certain degree of Irish charm — and to try to prove that he does indeed belong. He mostly has done this by ingratiating himself with his party’s leadership every step of the day, whether they be populist segregationists, Ivy League leftists, or corrupt party hacks. And his hail-fellow-well-met attitude has allowed him to attain a certain level of affection, though not really respect, with members of the other party. Now that he has made it to the pinnacle of his profession, you would think that he might drop the pretense and be just Good Ol’ Joe, but it seems pretty obvious that his feelings of inadequacy are so much a part of who he is that he is compelled to style himself as the next FDR or LBJ, which isn’t really what the moment calls for, regardless of the New York Times editorial page insisting otherwise.

Had things gone as they should have, Joe Biden could have wound down his long pointless career in the Senate and maybe retired after the 2014 or 2020 elections. It’s to our eternal regret that Barack Obama, himself a tyro and desiring a Washington veteran who would not overshadow him with anything resembling competence, dragged the garrulous blowhard into the White House beside him. It’s further to our eternal regret that the personal dysfunction of Donald Trump and the sheer lunacy of most of the Democrat candidates in the last election cycle led the party poobahs to settle on the crazy old codger as the electable figure and then to get their media allies to brand him as “centrist” and “unifying.” And no doubt there will be more regret to come until that blessed day when President Biden waves goodbye one final time and boards Air Force One (or a special Amtrak train) to head home to Delaware. Of course it is quite possible that he will be replaced by someone far worse.

– JVW

47 Responses to “Nearly One Year Into the Biden Administration, Jim Geraghty Is Not Impressed”

  1. But there I go again being so dyspeptic.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. I wouldn’t call Barack Obama’s leftovers a “novice” administration but, yeah, pretty much spot on. He should have thanked God for his longevity, retired his longwindedness, and posed as Cincinnatus.

    nk (1d9030)

  3. There is no denying that he did get 81 million votes. Hardly the work of a slouch.

    BuDuh (4a7846)

  4. You will know that Biden is on the way out when Harris resigns and Biden nominates Hillary as VP.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. It is too bad we got another inexperienced neophyte like Trump again. Just think if they’d reached out and gotten a 6-term Senator and former VP. But no, they got Biden.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. There is no denying that he did get 81 million votes. Hardly the work of a slouch.

    I sense some sarcasm here. But he did have a lot of help. Those ballots didn’t just harvest themselves.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. “Gravitas”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  8. I wouldn’t call Barack Obama’s leftovers a “novice” administration. . .

    Fair point. In professional sports terms they would remind me of an expansion team — a bunch of retreads whose best days are long behind them or who were never saw much playing time until now.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  9. There is no denying that he did get 81 million votes.

    A victory for Donald Trump. Nobody in election history got out more votes for a Presidential candidate than Trump did for Biden. And Biden did not even reward him with an ambassadorship.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. Biden’s about-face on the topic of paying $400,000 to each illegal immigrant family separated at the border was rather illustrative. His first reaction (something akin to, “What? That’s ridiculous”) was in line with Main Street USA. A few days later he was arguing for it.

    It is clear that Biden is merely a figurehead, and that the real decisions are being made by whoever prevails in the power struggles within the progressive cabal surrounding Biden.

    norcal (d4ed1d)

  11. Whoa, Geraghty was on a tear. Can’t argue any of it.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  12. Jim Geraghty Is Not Impressed

    ROFLMAOPIP. Get to the back of the line, Jimmy.

    Literally the bark of the last hair on the tail which once wagged the dog. Where the hell has he been for not just this year- but the past half century? Anybody who knew anything about the Plagiarist-In-Chief- or took the time to learn about the wrecvkage of his career- could have told Jimmy that the goose egg from Scranton [or is it Wilmington this week] is the poster child for the Peter Principle; a goose egg in the ledger of life; the last of the 20th century swampers. He makes Carter look like Lincoln.

    … and Jimma smiled.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  13. He looks better than LBJ and the Big Dick, DCSCA.

    norcal (d4ed1d)

  14. Every male Senator- even a mediocre putz- wakes up in the morning, coughs, pees, stand in front of the mirror and says, ‘Good Morning, Mister President.”

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  15. @4

    You will know that Biden is on the way out when Harris resigns and Biden nominates Hillary as VP.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/14/2022 @ 11:22 am

    I’m not even joking, but I think I’d rather have HRC as President than Joe or Kamala.

    My initial reaction is that abject incompetence is better than a savvy partisan like the Clintons. Now? I’m seriously reconsidering that.

    What if’ing here – I’m having a hard time believing a HRC presidency would’ve performed this badly. The dumpster fire gif that promulagated the ‘net during the 2017 election is really applicable for Biden’s administration.

    Biden has zero principles. He’s an Avatar for the loudest constituents in his party, which is now the extreme progressives.

    Help me please… am I crazy? For the love please talk me off the ledge…

    whembly (446c04)

  16. @14. Reaganoptics, norcal: botox and hair plugs don’t compensate for competence. LBJ & The Big Dick had power and used it. They didn’t ask their staff for permission.

    “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” -Henry Kissinger

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  17. You will know that Biden is on the way out when Harris resigns and Biden nominates Hillary as VP.

    Apologies to Patty Duke:

    Meet Hillie, who’s been most everywhere,
    From Washington to Leicester Square.
    But Kammie’s only seen the sights
    A girl can see from Oakland’s heights; What a crazy pair!

    But they’re cousins,
    Identical cousins all the way.
    Pantsuited pair of bookends,
    Different as night and day.

    Where Hillie adores a minuet,
    The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
    Our Kammie loves the VP role,
    A question makes her lose control; What a wild duet!

    Still, they’re cousins,
    Identical cousins and you’ll find,
    They laugh alike, they dress alike,
    At times they even talk alike.
    You can lose your mind,
    When cousins are two of a kind.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  18. I’m not even joking, but I think I’d rather have HRC as President than Joe or Kamala.

    N.F.W.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  19. Looks?!?! Herman Munster had a better look.

    Step away from the bong, Mr. Geraghty!!!!

    That was me, not Geraghty, who suggested that Biden won in 1972 because he was young and handsome. His hairline was, sadly, by then already starting to recede, but he was a relatively pretty bloke back then, all things considered.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  20. @20. We’ll agree to disagree. He had the ‘beauty’ of boil that needed lanced.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  21. I’m not even joking, but I think I’d rather have HRC as President than Joe or Kamala.

    I wasn’t joking either. I looked around for a better choice withing the Democrat Party that could withstand the hard left and who had been as least a little bit tested. And she’d have Bill Clinton for advise/ He might be ethically challenged but no one has ever said he did not know what he was doing, or did it poorly.

    Not my ideal, of course, but from the available Democrat pool she would at least advance the interests of the United States and would not encourage our enemies to miscalculate.

    She could name Romney as VP.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  22. Joe Biden is a very mediocre man.

    I am reminded of that great Greek philosopher Mediocrates who famously said, “Eh, good enough.”. Brandon personified

    Congratulations…you Never Trumpers got what you wanted…no more mean tweets, Orange Man gone, no more under $2.00 gas, Russia and China working together to destabilize the West, a VP who can barely formulate a coherent thought, ad. nauseum…

    Horatio (47545f)

  23. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/14/2022 @ 1:26 pm

    He might be ethically challenged but no one has ever said he did not know what he was doing, or did it poorly.

    People did say that, but they were wrong, although sometimes he outsmarted himself.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  24. I feel bad — but not too bad — for all of those pundits on the center-left who were so sure that Joe Biden, Good Ol’ Joe, whom everyone loves! — by the force of his blinding personality and sheer personal magnetism would charm and/or cajole a dozen or so centrist Republican Senators (Murkowski, Collins, Romney, Capito, Hoeven, Cramer, etc.) into joining with Democrats to advance Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ agenda. I’m sure Mr. Biden is a fine guy to have a beer with (if he doesn’t bore you to death by continually talking about himself), but I can’t imagine how anyone could ever have viewed him as some Great Conciliator, especially after witnessing him in action as Barack Obama’s Vice President for eight full years. But to so much of the intelligentsia, every Democrat is Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  25. @25. He might have– if this was the era of the Betamax, the Polaroid SX-70, the Steeler Dynasty and the Pet Rock.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  26. I wasn’t joking either. I looked around for a better choice withing the Democrat Party that could withstand the hard left and who had been as least a little bit tested. And she’d have Bill Clinton for advise/ He might be ethically challenged but no one has ever said he did not know what he was doing, or did it poorly.

    No. Just no. I would take any combination of Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Joe Manchin, Krysten Sinema, John Hickenlooper, and probably about 1000 other elected Democrats before I would suffer a return of the House of Clinton.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  27. Hillary???? Is THIS the future of America to pitch to a pandemic-weary people??????

    Before the first moon landing. Before Biden went bald. Before McDonald’s sold the first Quarter Pounder… It walked among us. Stalked among us. Talked among us… A bug-eyed terror; the most hideous of monsters… a feminist: that not even time could kill.

    https://www.life.com/people/life-with-hillary-portraits-of-a-wellesley-grad-1969/

    She’s too damned old to be POTUS.

    “No pleasure, no pain… no emotion, no heart. Our superior in every way.” – Dr, Carrington [Robert Cornthwaithe] ‘The Thing From Another World’ 1951

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  28. I’m not even joking, but I think I’d rather have HRC as President than Joe or Kamala.

    Hillary would have had the same agenda, she’d just do better at getting it pushed through than Joe and his puppetmasters.

    Manchin and Sinema, after all, probably know that people who oppose Hillary have the same survival rate as a Spinal Tap drummer.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  29. pantsuited pantload
    test new laser weapons on
    becankled heifer

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. The Democrats’ January 6 clown show was worse than even I expected. Their hysterical, pearl-clutching, lie-filled response to the events on January 6th, what Democrats are clearly hoping will be their transformative Reichstag moment, is unseemly, phony to its core, and purely and solely political.

    We know this because there was no outrage over the leftist rioters who attempted to stop the peaceful transition of power during President Trump’s inauguration. Not only did anti-Trump leftists riot, attack and injure police, set cars and buildings on fire, but they were later rewarded for this attempt to “subvert Democracy” to the tune of $1.6 million in taxpayer money.

    Do you know how many Congressional Democrats (or Republicans for that matter) wailed about our “democracy” on the brink? Do you know how many of these inauguration rioters were hunted down by the FBI, arrested, beaten and mistreated, and held as political prisoners for over a year? Do you know how many of them were harboring blueprints of the Capitol building . . . or wait, that was an unconstructed, still boxed, Lego set not a “model” used for terroristic purposes or whatever random lunacy the FBI preened at that time. If you said zero, you’re right on all counts.

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/01/flashback-may-2020-assault-on-the-white-house-60-secret-service-agents-wounded-president-trump-taken-to-secure-bunker/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. Nice piece minimizing violent Trump supporters who assaulted the police and briefly seized the capital in an effort to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

    Personally I’m opposed to that, probably because I care about my country, it’s laws and traditions.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  32. @29 I agree she’d likely be more competent. Don’t agree on the conspiracy implications about murder.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  33. 32… coffee break over?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  34. JVW – In December, the Washington Post published two pieces by one of its conservative columnists, Marc Thiessen. The first, on the 28th, is titled “The 10 best things Biden did in 2021″:
    Example:

    1. He signed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. Biden campaigned on a promise to usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation. Sadly, this was the only major piece of legislation to deliver on that promise. It will provide non-inflationary, long-term investments in roads, bridges, ports and waterways. Its passage also saved the filibuster, by delivering for Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) — the two lonely Democrats standing in the way of filibuster elimination — and vindicating their effort to reach across the aisle.

    Two days later, the Post published a second column, “The 10 worst things Biden did in 2021″.
    Example:

    1. His withdrawal from Afghanistan was the most shameful foreign policy calamity in my lifetime. Biden left hundreds of U.S. citizens and as many as 62,000 of our Afghan allies behind enemy lines, and forced NATO allies to abandon their citizens and allies as well. He put the safety of U.S. service members at the Kabul airport in the hands of the Taliban and Haqqani network, a decision that led to the deaths of 13 Americans in a suicide attack.

    Three observations: First, unlike Trump, he was able to get an infrastructure bill passed. That is no immense achievement, even with slim majorities. But I was genuinely surprised when Trump was unable to do that.

    Second, on the whole, Biden has been taking the right actions against the growing threat from “Emperor” Xi.

    Third, Thiessen sees Biden’s failures as outweighing the successes — as do I. It surprised me that he has been pursuing such an ambitious agenda, in spite of obviously not having the votes for it. And I think he was surprised — as was I — by the damage done by the Delta and Omicron variants, which he should not be blamed for.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  35. Time123 (9f42ee) — 1/14/2022 @ 3:22 pm

    Considering she did a passive-aggressive tweet quoting MLK’s criticisms of “white moderates” (talk about shades of Robin Diangelo), I’m positive she wouldn’t even bother triangulating like Bubba did.

    Hillary’s always been about Hillary’s Image and Hillary’s Authority, nothing more. And what’s really concerning is that the people who move up to take the place of the Boomer Dems in the next 2-4 years are nearly guaranteed to be more radical and self-aggrandizing than her. “Repressive tolerance” is practically dogma with these folks now.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  36. no one has ever said he did not know what he was doing, or did it poorly.

    With the possible exception of Juanita Brodderick.

    Voice In The Desert (6fff93)

  37. FWO, I hope my comment didn’t come across as overly positive about HRC. I just meant she’d likely be doing a better job then Biden at accomplishing her agenda. That’s it. I suspect you have a lower opinion of Biden then I do, but I think he’s doing a terrible
    Job. I honestly wish he were slightly less competent since what he has accomplished (spend lots of money) isn’t what I’d prefer

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  38. “The 10 best things Biden did in 2021″

    From his POV: awaken 365 times.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  39. FWO, I hope my comment didn’t come across as overly positive about HRC.

    To be fair, I don’t think anyone here views her in a positive light, even the left-leaning folks.

    I just meant she’d likely be doing a better job then Biden at accomplishing her agenda.

    Oh, I have no doubt she’d be far more competent at getting her agenda pushed through. She still has all her faculties and clearly is still incredibly thirsty for the job.

    Joe’s problem is that he became a meme a long time ago, and the dinosaurs like Clyburn didn’t realize that a meme isn’t sufficient to run the country.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  40. To put a finer point on it–I figured during Trump’s term that if Biden decided to run, he was going to be a very strong opponent, but I based that on the Joe who had been in the public spotlight during the Obama years. Someone who knew how to talk to the working class without talking down to them, and actually had a record of working with Republicans during contentious periods, such as when sequestration was being negotiated and Boehner had to go to him to get it done because Reid was being such a stubborn, childish jackass that wouldn’t budge on anything.

    As soon as that first debate happened, it should have been obvious to anyone that Joe absolutely did NOT belong up there. The decline in just four years was startling, and even his opponents knew it, because Julian Castro called him senile right to his face during one of the debates. The DNC should have been charged with elder abuse for giving him the de facto nomination after Clyburn endorsed him.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  41. @40 I never had a hard time understanding why ppl voted for Trump as a less bad alternative to Hillary.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  42. The first debate was a trainwreck for a Covid-infected Trump, not Biden.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  43. The first debate was a trainwreck for a Covid-infected Trump, not Biden.

    Paul Montagu (5de684) — 1/14/2022 @ 4:42 pm

    I was referring to the primaries. The fact I mentioned Julian Castro should have made that apparent.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  44. He won, didn’t he?

    nk (1d9030)

  45. Three observations: First, unlike Trump, he was able to get an infrastructure bill passed. That is no immense achievement, even with slim majorities. But I was genuinely surprised when Trump was unable to do that.

    I guess my only question is how much credit does Joe Biden truly deserve for that rare piece of bipartisanship? I know we aren’t privy to what went on behind the scenes, but from how it played out in the media it seemed that the President was pretty ineffective as a negotiator within his own party while Nancy Pelosi tried to reason with the angry young revolutionaries in the House who were continually threatening to blow up infrastructure unless they got a $3.5 trillion spending bill. Even after it was negotiated down to $1.9 trillion (or whatever the final figure was), there weren’t any real reports of President Biden himself successfully lobbying the Democrat Socialists to compromise, and when they caved in the end it seemed more of an acknowledgement that they had lost and were bowing to reality rather than that Biden had won them over. Sure Biden was talking to them, but he wasn’t moving the needle at all.

    But hey, maybe I’m entirely wrong about this and Joe Biden actually skillfully cajoled them into putting party ahead of principle. But based upon everything that I have observed about Joe Biden over this past year I seriously doubt that this was the case. At this point, I doubt that Joe Biden could sell beer to a fraternity on a three-day weekend.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  46. Apparently, per Buckingham Palace sources, he passes a lot of gas, too.

    That’s our angry, flatulent Joe.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

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