If there’s one thing this White House is actually good at, it’s stalling. Granted, that’s a pretty easy thing to do when it can count on the media’s tried and true assistance.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to give another one of his earnest-sounding speeches on Thursday, once again about COVID and vaccines. If you’ve been watching CNN (hahaha), you might have heard that this speech will be major.
“Biden faces hard truths of the pandemic ahead of major speech,” CNN’s Stephen Collinson said on Sep. 9
“President Biden will be delivering what’s being described as a major speech tomorrow,” said CNN’s Kate Bolduan the day before.
“Biden set to deliver major speech on next phase of pandemic response, sources say,” wrote CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Veronica Stracqualursi on Sep. 7.
The White House is billing Biden’s coming speech as an outline for his “robust plan to stop the spread of the Delta variant and boost COVID-19 vaccinations.” Biden will reportedly advocate for vaccination requirements from private businesses, announce a vaccination mandate for federal government workers, and probably say some stuff about more testing and other things that in more than a year did nothing to prevent us from experiencing yet our fourth and current surge of Wuhan virus infections.
This is what the administration always does. When there’s an undeniable mess sitting at Biden’s feet, his officials tease some “major” coming development — usually a meaningless speech or gesture, like getting Kamala Harris involved — then they sit back and watch the media do the heavy lifting of portraying it as decisive action.
Recall that when the Biden team finally started getting a flicker of heat for sitting on their thumbs as the border was overrun by hundreds of thousands of destitute migrants, the president’s big move was to hand the problem to his vice president. The New York Times dutifully wrote that the move “underscores the sense of urgency at the border.” That was back in March and look how it turned out. For that month, authorities had just over 173,000 encounters with illegal border-crossers. The next month, there were another 178,800. The next, another 180,500. In June, 188,900. In July, the latest month for which full government data is available, 212,600. Not in a single month did the numbers decline or stable. They have only gone up.
But we got a “major” announcement out of it!
Back in March, White House staff went to their friends at CNN to detail the very important and consequential work they themselves were doing on the pandemic. The report that came out of it cited two anonymous officials who said that pharmaceutical companies were being too slow to meet the demand for vaccines until Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus czar, saved the day. Zients called the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, the report said, “and urged the company to meet the moment, stressing that the U.S. is in a ‘national emergency’ and that it was time to go ‘big and bold.’”
And that, ladies and gentleman, is how Biden’s highly adept team ended the pandemic.
Just kidding. Back when CNN wrote up that report, we were averaging a little over 65,000 new infections each day. Today we’re at almost 150,000.
See how this works? Everyone notices things aren’t going so hot under the president’s watch, so the White House schedules a speech or something “major” in response, and then the media act like it means something. Then we watch as the situation further collapses.
But enjoy this week’s major speech!