The honeymoon for President Joe Biden is on the rocks. Like Captain Ahab in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the new leader of the free world’s determination to chase his own white whale of political crises could end up capsizing the good ship America. A lengthy string of executive orders mixed with an inability to deal with a once-friendly media are building to a mighty tempest Biden seems unable to navigate.
There remains a great deal of goodwill in the Democrat Party for Joe Biden, but with each new order and memorandum, his wall of support appears to be slowly crumbling.
Dissent in the Ranks
In response to Biden’s announced plan of “banning oil and gas development in federal waters and on federal lands,” a group of four Democrat representatives sent an open letter urging the commander in chief to rescind the order and reject any further related policies. Headed by Rep. Vicente Gonzales (D-TX), the group writes that such actions would have “far-reaching negative consequences,” that include:
- Near-term loss of potentially one million jobs.
- A cumulative decrease in U.S. GDP by $700 billion.
- Loss of one of the most significant sources of federal revenue.
Added to this is their fear that such a ban would destroy America’s energy independence and increase foreign energy reliance.
This is just four Democrat lawmakers out of hundreds, but if each executive order negatively impacts only two or three representatives or senators, the cumulative total begins to mount. President Biden’s commitment to dealing with his “four crises” and essentially seeking to erase Donald Trump’s legacy in short order means he is not considering all the angles. It is in the detail that lurks both the Devil and the ramifications.
No More Sweetheart Media
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, there was never a more swaddled candidate than Joe Biden. The legacy media largely ignored his personal and professional difficulties, refused to cover the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, and was seemingly unaware of the numerous flip-flops the then-candidate insisted on making. Yet Biden’s lurching from one crisis to the next is rapidly squandering the Fourth Estate’s patience.
The New York Times editorial board committed what White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield considers an unforgivable sin: They questioned the Big Guy’s actions. On Jan. 27, the board wrote that Biden’s moves were being cheered by Democrats and lamented by Republicans, but that this heavy use of presidential powers may be going a step too far. The board wrote:
“But this is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage.
“These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation. They are intended to provide guidance to the government and need to work within the discretion granted the executive by existing law or the Constitution … They do not create new law — though executive orders carry the force of law — and they are not meant to serve as an end run around the will of Congress.”
This was not well-received at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Bedingfield was quick to take offense on behalf of her boss, tweeting:
“As the NYT ed board criticizes President Biden this am for taking swift executive action to reverse the most egregious actions of the Trump Admin, I can’t help but recall that during the primary they encouraged voters to consider what a president could accomplish through exec action. So my question is which actions that the President took to reverse Donald Trump’s executive orders would they have liked to see him not pursue?”
The communications director of any organization is supposed to spearhead the messaging, not go head-to-head in pleading for a justification of the message’s reception. It seems this administration will not run afoul of the labels applied to President Trump in his reactions to the Fourth Estate shellacking; this government will be merely thin-skinned by proxy.
By chasing the White Whale, Captain Ahab’s obsession led the Pequod and its crew to tragedy. President Biden’s personal obsession with dismantling the Trump legacy is sending him into deeper and deeper waters, where the smooth seas of media cooperation and party unity cannot be relied upon. Instead, he is navigating the treacherous waters of uncertainty with haste and risks.
His crew – the formerly-friendly media and party faithful – look on aghast and powerless as Captain Biden steers the American ship into a tempest he himself created.
Read more from Mark Angelides.