Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, the old saying goes, but they also don’t allow them to founder without a dose of tough love. Perhaps that is why a growing number of the most prominent left-wing media outlets who went all in on putting Joe Biden in the White House – or, more precisely, kicking Donald Trump out – are starting to actually report on the debacle that is the Biden presidency.
Indeed, an article entitled “Inside a Biden White House Adrift” would upon initial inspection appear to be just another hit piece from a conservative crank piling on a flatlining president. But the fact that it was published by arguably the most liberal of the major networks, NBC, might be more notable than even the content, which is disturbing at best and yet unsurprising to anyone who has been paying attention.
It’s like we are stunned when the activist media actually just reports the truth. And few punches are pulled in this damning critique by more than two dozen current and former administration officials, officeholders, and other Democrats close to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity. The heaping helping of pointed in-house criticism summoned up among Biden’s allies leaves very much unanswered the question of how Biden stands to recover from record-low approval. Indeed, his numbers are lower than Donald Trump, the bombastic predecessor he reviles with every fiber of his being, and an aide says “he’s really twisted about it.”
It again begs the question of whether voters stopped to consider if the aging, enfeebled version of Biden they were voting for in 2020 was the same guy they remember from his bellicose salad days of “put y’all back in chains” and “beating the hell” out of Trump in a schoolyard. That was back when his multitude of gaffes could mostly be laughed off. But now, his off-the-cuff musings can set off a global crisis, as they threatened to do when this president went off script and said he would respond “in kind” to Russians employing chemical weapons, or that Vladimir Putin “can’t be allowed to remain in power,” or that, contrary to longstanding policy, he would actively defend Taiwan should China invade.
Each of those statements had to immediately be walked back by nervous White House staffers fearful of letting stand the implication that seismic shifts in foreign policy were forthcoming. But Biden is clearly rattled, “bristling at how they’ve tried to stifle the plain-speaking persona that has long been one of his most potent assets.” He actually blames his own problems on his staff’s scrambled regurgitation of his words because it “undermines him and smothers the authenticity that fueled his rise. Worse, it feeds a Republican talking point that he’s not fully in command,” according to NBC News. But his staff appeared to actually take umbrage at the suggestion, with one official claiming, “We don’t say anything that the president doesn’t want us to say.” Biden is further depicted as furious about not being informed earlier of the baby formula crisis – blaming staff again.
It is an open secret in Washington that Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, will likely depart after midterm elections. Klain, thought to be at least competent, has proven surprisingly unsuccessful in the role, and the hope is that his likely successor might somehow be able to pull a rabbit out of her hat in time to set a derailing presidency back on the train tracks and at least limit the carnage expected on Election Day.
But no matter how you cut it, Democrats writ large are in open panic about the administration: “Biden’s angst is rippling through the party. Democratic lawmakers are sparring among themselves and blaming the White House for their dim prospects in November,” according to the authors. His midterm campaign strategy of traveling more to get out of the DC bubble has largely been futile, according to a prominent Democratic donor: “People confront him … all he’s hearing is ‘Why can’t you get anything done?’” Biden is portrayed as angry that he gets no credit for low unemployment or the infrastructure bill, that not enough Democrats are willing to go on TV and defend him, and that Republicans are not absorbing any blame for blocking his agenda.
Unable to sell his own record, Biden has taken to a scorched-earth strategy, attempting to tie the entire GOP to Trump and “Ultra-MAGA,” a moniker designed to scare the American people into the belief that the party is in the grips of fascism and white supremacy. But even that initiative has backfired, with Trump devotees embracing the Ultra-MAGA label. Fact is, the authors could not identify a single person who pretends to have a viable strategy for pulling the party out of the Biden political quicksand. After all, you can put a bonnet on a warthog, but in the end, it’s still a warthog.