Patterico's Pontifications

6/5/2024

President Biden, His Usual Self

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:33 am



[guest post by JVW]

The Biden Administration/Reelection Campaign braintrust allowed their man to sit down and have a full interview with Time magazine last week. Clearly they expected Time to come through with a respectful encapsulation, and for the most part Time played ball and smoothed over some of the President’s notorious flights of fancy and inability to complete his thoughts, and seemed willing to accept his typically self-serving and far-fetched stories at face value. They did include a fact-check section of the President’s interview, and dinged him on some clear factual inaccuracies, some obviously incorrect anecdotes, and some assertions that are clearly bathed in political spin befitting a candidate whose 40 months in the Oval office have thus far been entirely lackluster.

But the most interesting part of the interview is that Time — no doubt sensitive to accusations that they would soft-pedal the elderly President’s clear infirmities — chose to publish the transcript of the 35-minute session and, it would appear, at most only very lightly cleaned up the President’s meandering and garbled narrative. We don’t have the audio version to check against the transcription, but from a cursory read it doesn’t sound as if they did Joe Biden any favors here. Allow me to pull out a few items of interest:

TIME: So understanding Putin’s aims, the world, the West, the United States, and you find yourselves facing a difficult situation in Ukraine. The war is stalled every day, an average of 42 Ukrainian civilians are killed or wounded. Is Russia’s proposal for, to end the war in Ukraine, the best that Ukraine can hope for at this point?

BIDEN: No, it’s not. And by the way, I don’t know why you skip over all that’s happened in the meantime. The Russian military has been decimated. You don’t write about that. It’s been freaking decimated. Number one.

Number two, NATO is considerably stronger than it was when I took office. I put it together. Not only did I reestablish the fact that it was the strongest alliance in the history of the world, I was able to expand it. While I was in one of the G7 meetings in Europe. when I got back I called on the President of Finland because when I had met earlier in the year with Putin, he said he wanted to see the Finlandization of NATO. I told him, he’s gonna get not the Finlandization, the Natoization of Finland. And everybody thought, including you guys, thought I was crazy.

And guess what? I did it. I did it. And we’re now the strongest nation. We have the strongest alliance in all of America, all of history. In the meantime, what we keep skipping over is what the consequence of the success of Russia in Ukraine would be. That’s why I brought this along. You probably haven’t read it. Most people haven’t read it. He says this is part of reestablishing the Soviet Union. That’s what this is all about. It wasn’t just about taking part of—He wanted, he wanted to go back to the, to the days when there was NATO and there was that other outfit that Poland, everybody belonged to. So that’s what it was about. And in the meantime, what happened was, we were able to—and by the way, we spent a lot of money in Ukraine, but Europe has spent more money than the United States has, collectively. Europe has spent more money than the United States has, collectively Europe has spent more money in taking on Russia.

Here we see two of Joe Biden’s most off-putting character traits: his petulance when he doesn’t feel that he is being given enough credit for his — ahem — accomplishments, and his annoying narcissism in taking full credit for anything he feels has gone right during his administration. “I was able to expand it.” “I did it.” He’s a chip off the ol’ block of the guy under whom he served as Vice-President in his gross usage of the first-person singular pronoun. (Donald Trump is a narcissist too, but that’s a given.) He also has the destructive habit of virtually all progressives in equating spending money with accomplishing objectives. Unsurprisingly, after making the points he (and his handlers) wanted him to make, he quickly gets bored with the conversation and runs out of gas:

TIME: I want to switch to Israel. But on that last point, is there a danger that NATO is on a slippery slope to war with Ukraine—with Russia, as things stand?

BIDEN: No, we’re on a slippery slope for war if we don’t do something about Ukraine. It’s just not gonna…anyway…

Speaking of Israel, the President tries to be much more supportive of our longstanding ally when he has been prepped by his team for a full interview, but he still can’t help but undermine his own message with a clunky response:

TIME: On what Hamas has done, are the eight US hostages there in Gaza is still alive?

BIDEN: We believe there are those that are still alive. I met with all the families. But we don’t have final proof on exactly who’s alive and who’s not alive. And by the way, I’ve been calling for—we should have a ceasefire, period. And to get those hostages. That’s the main reason why we push. Both the Israelis desperately want a ceasefire in order to get the hostages home. And it’s a way to begin to break the momentum. And so that’s why we’re pushing hard for the—and we’re—Is our intelligence chief in? Where is he now?

KIRBY: He is back, sir. He was just over in Europe, in Brussels, over the weekend.

TIME: And whose fault is it that the that deal, the ceasefire for hostages has not been consummated? Is it Hamas or Israel or both?

BIDEN: Hamas. Hamas could end this tomorrow. Hamas could say (unintelligible) and done period. And, but, and the last offer Israel made was very generous in terms of who they’d be willing to release, what they’d give in return, et cetera. Bibi is under enormous pressure on the hostages, on the hostages, and so he’s prepared to do about anything to get the hostages back.

[. . .]

TIME: [. . .] Some in Israel have suggested that Netanyahu is prolonging the war for his own political self-preservation. Do you believe that?

BIDEN: I’m not going to comment on that. There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion. [. . .]

As National Review reported yesterday, President Biden walked back the assertion that there is “every reason” to believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is prolonging the war for political reasons. So much for the deft touch of an old pro in foreign relations.

There is lots more in the interview, but one striking feature is that it is clear to me that the longer the interview goes on, the more rambling and disjointed the President’s responses become. By the end he is mostly at his Biden-est, mixing up names and numbers, relating semi-incoherent anecdotes that very likely never happened, and being his usual grouchy and demagogic self. I’m sure his partisans will judge him to have been “feisty” and “combative” and will hail the return of “Dark Brandon,” but I am left deeply lamenting that our two major parties ended up choosing two of the dumbest schmucks imaginable to lead the greatest country in the history of the planet at a moment when our future is so uncertain. May God have mercy on the United States.

– JVW


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