Former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck once remarked that politics “is the art of the possible.” Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke termed it “the science of the possible.” But for Joe Biden, it is neither. Instead, politics for this 46th president more often resembles both the art and science of the impossible, that which cannot be achieved because of one ill-conceived presidential decision piled on top of another, the consequences of which he projects onto others.
Indeed, the leader of the free world is acting a whole lot less like a leader than a helpless bystander. Asked this week what he can do to ease the growing pain at the gas pump for everyday Americans, Biden’s response was to throw up his hands and wash them of any responsibility for the current state of affairs, offering nothing in the way of solutions to hard-pressed consumers contending with the highest gas prices on record: “Can’t do much right now. Russia is responsible.”
As usual, Joe Biden has passed the buck that was supposed to stop with him, and this time, instead of offering up even a plan that is too little, too late, he places a lump of coal in Americans’ collective stocking, hiding behind a patriotic imperative to endure out-of-control gas prices in order to “stand up to Putin.” His minions even have the chutzpah to name present market conditions the “Putin price hike,” as if this president is clear of all responsibility. With prices that have already exceeded $7.00 per gallon in some parts of the country, average Americans, almost two-thirds of whom are living paycheck to paycheck, are unlikely to accept this level of pain for long, especially when it leads to shortages and price spikes in all manner of goods which rely on fuel for shipping.
Yes, Biden presents as helpless when it comes to gas prices, even though they had already risen from under $3.00 to over $3.50 from the time he took office to when Putin invaded Ukraine. He has again done what he does best, targeting a convenient scapegoat, much like when he used the pandemic to hide like a coward in his basement while all but calling Donald Trump a murderer. Fact is, if he was the least bit responsive to the enduring needs of the people, there are several tangible decisions Biden could make to soften the impact of his ban on Russian oil imports and restore Trump-era energy independence. He could re-open the Keystone pipeline, resume drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR), reverse his cancellation of drilling leases on federal land, and loosen restrictions on methane emissions and on fracking.
Unfortunately, all those moves require something Biden has never demonstrated: courage. We all know this president will refuse to do anything to inflame his far-left progressive base – or, God forbid, admit he was wrong, or even that circumstances have changed, requiring a revised strategy based on radically different facts on the ground, like, say, a heartless tyrant invading a peaceful neighbor and threatening the world order. This president could use a sudden, shocking invasion and the specter of a third world war to rally the country around a renewed commitment to energy independence. Instead, official policy is that, yes, we will achieve energy independence, but it will only be via green energy. That’s their story and they’re sticking with it, come hell, high water or world war.
Perhaps the only real surprise is that Biden didn’t actually blame Donald Trump for the problem this week. There is a first time for everything, one supposes. Does this represent progress, a president who, while not accepting responsibility himself, at least, finally, is not blaming his predecessor for every one of the crises caused or exacerbated by his own administration? Well, hardly, given that various leftist opinion writers have done the job for him, laughably twisting themselves into pretzels by gaslighting their readers into thinking the Russian invasion was Trump’s fault, even though a child of three can plainly see Putin’s grand plan of conquering Ukraine commenced when he started massing troops along the Ukrainian border … almost immediately after Biden took the oath of office. What a coincidence.
How many times have we seen this president posture as a helpless victim of forces beyond his control, behaving as if he is so terribly aggrieved by having to clean up messes left by Trump when, in fact, he is creating mayhem through his own initiatives? Leading has been replaced by posturing. The Trump border policies, most especially the one allowing separation of children from parents, were so inhumane that he had no choice but to effectively blow up the whole border. Energy independence, a goal of every president for decades and finally accomplished by Trump, left a dangerously large carbon footprint, so he had no choice but to target the fossil fuel industry and needlessly drive energy prices higher.
Then there’s the price of groceries. Costs are soaring, but it’s the fault of the big four meat producers and other evil corporations suddenly deciding to gouge the American people once Biden set foot in the White House. The supply chain crisis? Blame it on inflation. Inflation? Blame it on the supply chain crisis. See how that works? Biden was intent on ending the war in Afghanistan – was it his fault that the Taliban seized control faster than expected and took full advantage of his incomprehensibly premature withdrawal of our military personnel and base of operations along with tens of billions of dollars in advanced military hardware? Not his fault. Not a joke.
The American people have always looked to their presidents for, if nothing else, leadership on the world stage, even if in a direction they do not explicitly favor. Nixon to China. Reagan and the evil empire. Bush 43 atop the rubble at ground zero. Obama’s raid on bin Laden. Trump and the little rocket man. While the war in Ukraine has allowed him to change the subject from his own string of failures on both the national and international fronts, as well as his party’s dismal prospects in November’s midterms, Joe Biden will have to come up with a whole lot more than “can’t do much right now.”
~ Read more from Tim Donner.