The president stepped to the microphone and thoughtfully laid out the litany of issues now plaguing America in the “middle of a cold dark winter.” Opening up to speak candidly for the first time, he related his concern about how “this virus has disrupted our lives,” from canceled holidays and weddings to botched gender reveal parties that caused wildfires and, well, something about Novak Djokovic.
Then he looked straight into the camera and proclaimed in his signature voice: “America, I’m here to tell you, there’s one simple thing you can do to make this whole virus go away – stop seeing ‘Spider-Man!'” Yes, “Just stop seeing the movie, “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Laughter erupted as he attempted to explain to the studio crowd at NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
For once, SNL’s writers ever so slightly acknowledged the flaws of a Democrat president, and they got it precisely right. The insanity of the comedic Joe Biden perfectly exposed the real Joe, not as commander in chief, but as the blamer in chief that Americans increasingly recognize in the Oval Office.
After absorbing the shock of the latest inflation numbers showing consumer prices rising at the highest rate in 40 years, people from both blue and red states wanted answers from the guy in charge. What they got from President Biden was more of the same — obfuscation, blaming, and no solution.
Rather than chart a safe path forward, Americans suffering under the weight of a new 7.5 percent inflation tax heard the president instead assure them it wasn’t his fault but a consequence of supply chain issues and the fact that “a few giant companies” control certain industries such as meat processing.
Families struggling to find food on grocery store shelves should perhaps be forgiven for failing to understand that the president, the leader of the free world, the one who commands every federal agency, is powerless to take action about supply chain breakdowns. Our leader is unable to explain why cereal is 10 percent higher because the delivery truck was delayed, but not due to input price increases (labor, materials, and energy).
Those worried about higher meat costs should likewise be forgiven for wondering why the man who chaired the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee for eight years — the one tasked with handling antitrust laws — did nothing to prevent a corporate monopoly in the meat processing market, or in any of the markets he so desperately wishes to take a judicial stick to today.
Joe must know that CEOs, especially those who have been with a company for decades, don’t get a pass for operational failures. They can’t just blame somebody else or some nebulous force beyond their reach. The markets don’t allow them to say “we have been using every tool at our disposal” to fix the problem while providing no detailed guidance on what that actually means.
Politicians are expert at dodging, obfuscating, and blaming. Leadership requires ownership, an honest assessment of the situation, and the ability to communicate and implement the solution. If Americans seem dismayed at this point (and polls suggest they are), it’s because they hear nothing in Biden’s words, and more importantly, they see nothing in his actions or policies to indicate that he understands the issues or can remedy them.
After his Afghanistan withdrawal exploded into a televised foreign policy disaster, the president declared to the nation, “I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me,” before explaining that this excluded the part caused by past President Donald Trump, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Afghans themselves, and anybody else within reach of culpability.
Biden has become the political equivalent of Steve Martin’s Navin Johnson character in “The Jerk,” the carnival barker who offers everything, meaning anything “below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses” — or rather, “anything between the ashtrays and the thimbles” — or actually, “anything in this three inches, right in here in this area that includes the Chicklets but not the erasers.” His zone of personal responsibility is as small as it needs to be to never lose.
More than a dozen times, candidate Biden promised on the campaign trail, “I’ll put in place a plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly … I’m going to shut down the virus.” Not only did his plan not work, but there’s been no willingness to modify it based on the reality on the ground or to be accountable for the failure. Instead, he has become an SNL parody of a leader who would rather blame anything, even Spider-Man, than own a problem.
As SNL’s “Joe Biden” explained to the bewildered “press corps,” everything from Covid to inflation, the Ukrainian mess, and failures in legislative goals, are all somebody else’s fault. So expectations are lowered. We must stop expecting so much. He’s only the president.
Even as polls show rapidly growing concern about inflation, he remains stubbornly flat-footed in his response. Rather than pivot to address the core spending problem, he continues to lobby for the remnants of his big-spending “Build Back Better” legislation, which would inject more cash into the dangerously hot economic system. Pouring gas on an out-of-control fire that you just lit with the expectation that the Federal Reserve Fire Department will come to the rescue is still economic arson. Voters are watching, and they are on to it.
Things have deteriorated to the point that even Democrat-friendly legacy media are now calling out this president’s failure to take on the inflation problem. In a sit-down interview with NBC News, Lester Holt asked about his statement last year that inflation would be temporary.
After Biden shot back calling Holt a “wise guy” and citing Nobel laureates to back him up, CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers slammed his “terrible answer” and noted that “nobody … wants to hear what Nobel laureates actually say about the problem” but they “would (like to) hear more about the solutions” because “the problem is yours to fix now.”
A few weeks earlier the president called Fox News’ Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b-tch” for asking if “inflation is a liability in the midterms.” More troubling than the insult was that he defended inflation as “a great asset.” Perhaps the Nobel Laureates called from Davos to share this wisdom with him, but it’s doubtful voters will agree or reward such callousness at the ballot box.
In each instance, it’s noteworthy that the president never offers any solution. He appears to simply hope the inflation will just go away, or as he said, “start to taper off as we go through this year.” No, hope is not a business plan, nor does trillions more in spending constitute sound monetary policy, but our captain insists on staying the course even if it means sailing into the abyss of historic inflation.
“In the meantime,” he adds, “I’m going to do everything in my power to deal with the big points that are impacting most people in their homes.” The president should first review “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” and ponder which things are more important to the average family than food, energy, and shelter, the specific items that drove most of the increase in the January CPI-U number.
SNL’s “Joe Biden” was eventually asked if “elsewhere in the multiverse there’s a version of you that wants people to see Spider-Man,” one that takes responsibility for problems. “Finally, a good question!” he retorts to more laughter, explaining “that there are at least three Joe Bidens,” the one in the White House, the one that lost to Trump, and a third “who is the greatest president in history.”
If the real Joe Biden was watching, let us hope that he realizes that Americans are longing for the one willing to tackle real problems with real solutions. Enough with the blaming.