On the pandemic as a 2020 election issue, Joe Biden was the media’s preferred candidate for president, not so much because he screamed confidence that he could stop people from dying. (He was literally underground for most of his public appearances.) But because he properly showed that he cared people were dying.
He had a soft voice and manner that soothed cable news anchors and brought comfort to reporters who find no greater arousal than in a man who cries in public.
The trick has earned Biden a lot of stock with the media, which then assured the public that he is the staid, competent leader this country needed after four years of Donald Trump.
He tried it again Thursday during a highly anticipated press conference to address the ISIS suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, that left 13 U.S. service members dead and more than a dozen others injured.
“They were part of the bravest, most capable, and the most selfless military on the face of the Earth,” Biden said. “And they were part of, simply, what I call the ‘backbone of America.’ They’re the spine of America, the best the country has to offer. Jill and I — our hearts ache, like I’m sure all of you do as well, for all those Afghan families who have lost loved ones, including small children, or been wounded in this vicious attack. And we’re outraged as well as heartbroken.”
Later in the conference, Biden bowed his head in what I assume was anguish ™ or maybe frustration ™ while a reporter asked him about his responsibility in the fallout.
The problem with the performance, though, is that the dead didn’t lose their lives because of a freak virus that the entire world is grappling with. They died because under Biden’s command, our military did not secure the perimeter of the Kabul airport that Americans are using to exit. And it has been under his command that the administration is scurrying against the clock to evacuate as many Americans as possible, lest we further tick off the new Taliban government that Biden has allowed to call the shots.
Biden and Jill’s hearts can ache 1,000 times over but this is his fault, and putting that tried and true empathy on display doesn’t change anything.
The very quality that the media used to assist in Biden’s election has us where we are right now. Since Inauguration Day, 200,000 people have died of the coronavirus with infections continuing to surge; a wave of just under 1 million new migrants have crushed the border; and now at least 13 Americans are dead, not while fighting a war, but while trying to leave one.
Empathy was nice for getting Biden into the White House. It hasn’t been much use since.