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How Can Biden Model Success For The Next Generation If He Can’t Even Explain What It Is?

Instead of looking into the eyes of the future and offering an answer that might truly speak to young people, Biden made it all about himself.

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It was the most basic of questions a child might ask a world leader, and Joe Biden couldn’t answer it: “What’s the top step to success?”

Biden was at the Dublin Airport during his “roots” tour in Ireland when a schoolboy posed the question to him. His first answer revealed his cluelessness.

“Oh, well, making sure that we don’t all have Covid. What … are we talking about here?”

Hunter Biden’s attempt to clarify by rephrasing the question for his father — “What’s the key to success?” — didn’t help.

“I’m not sure I’m the best guy to explain it,” Biden said, before launching into a convoluted story about getting along with people you disagree with from his days in the Senate. The next student, another obviously bright, up-and-coming mind, decided to lower the bar for the hapless American president by asking him how his dog is doing. 

A Swing and a Miss

“What’s the top step to success?” 

It’s a softball question for a president if ever there was one. An intelligent, inquisitive young school child provided Biden with a golden moment, a moment other U.S. presidents of the recent past — Reagan, Clinton, Bush (take your pick), Obama — would have relished. Easy home run, trot around the bases, wave at the adoring fans, smile for the camera. The possible answers are endless:

“Never give up.”

“Work hard.”

“Believe in yourself.”

But even better than the pop psychology responses above would have been a short version of something called the “Success Sequence.” As explained by the Institute for Family Studies, the “Success Sequence” consists of three steps that, if followed, drastically increase one’s chances of having a happy, prosperous life:

  • Graduate from high school.
  • Get and hold a job.
  • Don’t have children until you get married.

The Institute for Family Studies notes that the sequence “was first identified by social historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and Marline Pearson, a sociology professor and author of the Love Notes curriculum. It was later popularized by Brookings Institution scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. … The latest research shows that 97% of young people who follow all three steps are not poor as adults. And 90% of young adults who complete the first two steps (graduate high school and get a full-time job) are not poor in their 30s. In comparison, half of adults in their 30s who missed all three steps (52%) are in poverty.”

To the three steps above, I would add:

  • Don’t do drugs.
  • Spend more time reading books than on social media.

      That’s it. That’s all the president needed to say, and he could have done so in a lot less time than he spent telling a story that would make the most idealistic, wide-eyed schoolchild’s eyes glaze over (not to mention everyone else in the place).

      It’s Not About You

      But this president doesn’t have that kind of answer in him anymore, if he ever did. Instead of looking into the eyes of the future and offering an answer that might truly speak to young people today and to the future that is quickly slipping from their grasp, he (again) made it all about himself. If I counted correctly (I really don’t want to check my math by counting again), he said “I” more than 30 times in his response.

      Dear Joe: It’s not about you, your image, your second term, your legacy, or your tired, worn-out stories from your overrated, mean-spirited, ill-advised political career. It’s about the future of the country and the world. You have a stage, a podium, and a megaphone that few people ever will. Do better. If you can’t, step aside.


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