Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Incredibly Shrinking President

When you’ve lost the New York Times, you’ve really lost. If you are a Democrat president, one that the media sold its soul in order to get elected, you had best not lose your most fervent supporters.

While we are still awaiting the media’s full recognition of its dishonestly dispensing with objective reporting, in order to place a senile old fool in the White House, we see some glimmers.

We are not going to say that the media has completely come to its senses or that it is about to recover its lost credibility, but obviously it has begun to cope with the fact that Joe Biden is going to produce a tidal wave of electoral losses in November. So, it is getting ahead of the curve.

Witness this Time story yesterday by Peter Baker. To be fair, Baker is one of the better, more objective reporters around. He wrote an excellent biography of James Baker with his wife, Susan Glasser. It is called The Man Who Ran Washington, and it recalls the old days, during the Reagan and Bush administrations, when politics was about governance, and about getting things done. Such is no longer the case, but we can still recall.

So, Baker has now blown the Biden cover. True enough, in his recent profile Baker does quote White House staffers who speak well of the president, who see him as being up to the job, who testify that he is alert and attentive.

Fair enough. The staffers have a right to their spin. And yet, along with the spin, we find this:

But they acknowledged Mr. Biden looks older than just a few years ago, a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House stratagems like staff shake-ups or new communications plans. His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is not what it was, and some aides quietly watch out for him. He often shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire. He stumbles over words during public events, and they hold their breath to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe.

Want some more evidence? Baker provides:

Mr. Biden’s public appearances have fueled that perception. His speeches can be flat and listless. He sometimes loses his train of thought, has trouble summoning names or appears momentarily confused. More than once, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “President Harris.” Mr. Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over words like “kleptocracy.” He has said Iranian when he meant Ukrainian and several times called Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, “John,” confusing him with the late Republican senator of that name from Virginia.

This has meant that the White House staff has worked hard to shield Biden from press questions. It is difficult to argue that the man is up to the job while fearing that he cannot answer press questions:

The White House seems equally determined to guard Mr. Biden against unscripted interactions with the news media. He has held just 16 news conferences since taking office, less than half as many as Mr. Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had by this stage and less than a third as many as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a longtime scholar of presidential media strategy.

Likewise, Mr. Biden has given just 38 interviews, far fewer than Mr. Trump (116), Mr. Obama (198), the younger Mr. Bush (71), Mr. Clinton (75) and the older Mr. Bush (86). Mr. Biden has been more accessible taking a few questions informally after a speech or other event, which he has done 290 times, compared with 213 by Mr. Trump and 64 by Mr. Obama.

As for the contention, which we read about all the time, namely that Joe Biden has generated respect from world leaders, Baker puts the kibosh to that too:

During his European trip last month, foreign leaders followed his lead while protectively treating him like a distinguished elderly relative. At a photo opportunity, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany gently pointed Mr. Biden in the direction of the cameras. Just before a meeting, a reporter twice shouted a question about getting grain out of Ukraine. When Mr. Biden could not hear the question, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, rescued him. “We’re working on it,” Mr. Johnson responded.

Everyone has known the truth for quite some time now. We have reported it on this blog over and over again. Now that Biden is leading Democrats to electoral ignominy, the better reporters are daring to report the story. This might have something to do with a sinking ship.

Of course, the Democrats might pull out something less than total oblivion from the next elections. After all, they have one card up their sleeves-- Donald Trump. 

The Wall Street Journal editorial page, not a leftist redoubt, writes this, this morning:

Donald Trump’s whisperers are saying he may soon announce his plans to run for President in 2024, and Democrats are keeping their fingers crossed that he does. Since his surprising victory in 2016, Mr. Trump has been the main cause of Democratic electoral success.


Anonymous said...

How about the Governor of Florida? He looks like a comer!

Anonymous said...

My money's on Ron DeSantis. The Left is worried ...