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Joe Biden, Victim

Et tu, Dr. Jill?

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

Poor Joe Biden. As if he didn’t have enough problems already, it now appears the most important woman in his life is giving up on his collapsing presidency. With Democrats bracing for a beatdown in November, and many of them casting primary blame on her feckless spouse, Dr. Jill Biden has apparently finally reached her boiling point. She can no longer hide her frustration at how her husband – who registered at a pitiable 31% approval in the latest poll by Quinnipiac – has become an object of both scorn and pity.

And while it was stunning to witness a first lady openly complain about her husband’s fate, as she did recently in an address before a group of donors, what was even more staggering was the subtext. Her words betrayed a sense not of hope that the Biden presidency can be salvaged, but of outright hopelessness, portraying her husband as an increasingly helpless victim of circumstances beyond his control:

“[Joe Biden] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment. Who would have ever thought about what happened with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it.”

Of all the things to highlight, why a Supreme Court decision about an issue that likely will have the least effect on Biden’s popularity? But notice two other things: First, she referred to the administration in the past tense (“had so many hopes, the things he wanted to do, he had to address problems of the moment”). Second, notice what she didn’t say – not a single note of optimism, how her husband is equal to the task or his plans to turn things around. Only lament.

Joe Biden, Victim of Circumstance?

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1So, let’s consider this notion that Joe Biden had “so many things thrown his way” and the extent to which he “had to address the problems of the moment.” Does she truly believe her husband has been handed a raw deal? Is she blind enough to dismiss his failures strictly as a product of forces beyond his control – as if the circumstances surrounding him are uniquely perilous?

In fact, he rode into the presidency with the wind at his back. The elite media were all behind him. They lauded him for taking down a reviled president. He was handed three game-changing vaccines on a silver platter, and an economy well into recovery from the pandemic.

One wonders what other presidents – dead or alive – would make of the laughable claim that Biden has been governing under uniquely trying circumstances. Do you want to talk about some of the truly earth-shaking crises inflicted upon presidents – which, unlike Biden, really were through little or no fault of their own? How about Donald Trump and the pandemic, Barack Obama and the great recession of 2008, or George W. Bush and 9/11? Then, there was JFK with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War, Harry Truman and the Korean War, FDR and the Great Depression – and, oh yeah, World War II – Woodrow Wilson and World War I, Abe Lincoln and the Civil War, not to mention the many presidents like George H.W. Bush and, most prominently, Herbert Hoover, brought low by recession or depression. None of these presidents were given to publicly cursing fate the way the first lady has in defense of her husband.

Jill and Joe Biden

Jill and Joe Biden (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Finally, let’s examine the “many hopes and plans” of this 46th president which the first lady believes were derailed through no fault of her husband. Was he little more than an innocent bystander as his administration crumbled? Let’s see. Inflation? Biden was cautioned that the excessive $2 trillion COVID relief bill he and his fellow Democrats rammed through Congress would stimulate inflation – but he didn’t listen. Afghanistan? Biden’s advisors warned him of the cataclysmic fallout from an abrupt withdrawal – but he didn’t listen. Soaring gas prices? He shut down pipelines, re-regulated the fossil fuel industry, and refused to increase domestic production, choosing instead to go green and woke, and then went hat in hand to an Arab prince he had previously labeled a pariah. Border crisis? Biden had to know that reversing Trump’s border policies would create a flood of illegals – but he didn’t care. Supply chain crisis and baby formula shortage? He reacted too late – after they had grown into crises and hit the headlines. The ongoing crime wave? He has refused to even address the issue.

Now, one might ordinarily dismiss the public lament of a first lady, however unusual that is. After all, she can hardly be expected to be objective. Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, and Melania Trump, among others, likely cursed fate privately themselves. But the reason this is ultimately significant is not only that Dr. Jill appears to be, in some form, publicly waving a white flag of surrender. It is that she is doing so as the person with the most outsized influence on a president widely thought not to be his own man. Certainly, she either encouraged or permitted her husband to seek the presidency while knowing better than anyone else just how dysfunctional he had become.

To the oft-repeated question of who is really “calling the shots” in the Biden White House, oddsmakers would likely place short odds on Dr. Jill. Thus her despondent statement can reliably be viewed as a window into the soul of the first family. It stands as her recognition, especially with the possible/likely takeover of Congress by Republicans smelling blood in the water, that as painful as the first 18 months of her husband’s presidency have been, the remaining 30 months figure to be far worse.

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