After dawdling long enough to cause speculation that he might not seek a second term, the president finally announced his intention to run for reelection in late April. Since that time, very little of his daily calendar has been set aside specifically for fundraising or campaign events. Even without the threat of Covid looming as it was during 2020, the Biden team appears to be following the same “bare-bones” playbook.
The question now, of course, is when he will actually leave office. As a senator in the ’90s, Biden predicted he would be “dead and gone” by the year 2020. Instead, he was running for the presidency while remaining largely holed up in his Delaware home to avoid catching Covid. For a man infamous for his verbal gaffes, 2020’s pandemic lockdowns provided Joe Biden’s campaign team the perfect excuse for keeping their candidate hidden away.
Like it or not, Joe Biden’s presidency has been transformational for the country. In wide-ranging policy initiatives that have included Covid mandates, government-directed censorship, the opening of America’s borders to an unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants, “green” energy-induced inflation, a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, race-based policy preferences, and an infusion of “transgender” ideology across public institutions, this administration continues to remake America in consequential ways.
If President Biden is a mere marionette, then the puppet master offstage and in charge must be exhausted from putting on such a show! Even Ol’ Joe might be surprised to learn how much he has accomplished.
Perhaps not since President William Henry Harrison became ill and died one month into office has America had a more ghostly leader in the White House. Joe Biden is technically alive, yet he does not seem to be fully “with us.” He addresses guests who have already passed away, he often wanders around or outright stumbles while on stage, and his verbal struggles when reading prepared remarks sound like those of a man just trying to stay awake.
When he does manage to speak coherently, any number of inexplicable falsehoods have come tumbling from his mouth — including claims that a drunk driver killed his first wife and daughter, that his eldest son died in combat in Iraq, that part of his career included teaching as a university professor, and that he recently cured cancer.
It is difficult to say whether walking up stairs or staying on script is the most perilous activity of the president’s day. His White House staff looks like a combination of offensive linemen trying desperately to keep the press away from their limping quarterback and a moving company swaddling the president in enough bubble wrap to prevent further injury. His detractors are fond of calling him “Dementia Joe,” but it seems those around him are just happy he still has a heartbeat.
Sometimes President Biden does not even appear to know he is President Biden. He has referred to himself as “senator” or “vice president” on numerous occasions. He has referred to First Lady Jill Biden as Obama’s vice president. He has introduced Vice President Harris as both the first lady and current commander-in-chief. When he speaks before reporters, he often tells them unabashedly that he is not “supposed to be” answering their questions. When he does take questions, he relies on notecards for even the simplest of answers — suggesting that his staff have already preselected reporters to engage in a kind of choreographed theater for the public’s consumption.
When Biden begins to ramble and that choreographed dance turns into something more freeform, someone off to the president’s side quickly calls time and ushers him away. It is surreal to see the “leader of the free world” whisked away to avoid potential embarrassment. It is downright “Manchurian,” however, when the president claims someone else is in control of what he may or may not say.
With inflation, rising crime, open borders, a fentanyl epidemic, and nuclear tensions with Russia — among many other problems — all weighing heavily on Americans today, one would expect Biden to have his hands full in an uphill fight for reelection. Instead, he has once again jaunted off to the beach. Since taking office, in fact, the president has spent 360 days on vacation. If 40 percent of his time is spent on leisure activities away from the White House, does that make Joe a part-time president or a president-in-name-only?
Nevertheless, if he succeeds in his efforts to win the presidency in November 2024 and carries out his duties through a second term, he will finally leave office at the ripe old age of 86 — perhaps giving fresh context to what it means to “86” something for good.
Yet in the background of Biden’s increasingly noticeable infirmity and less-than-robust campaign schedule are signs that Democrats would prefer someone else to take his place. While Democrat Party leaders have belittled Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s efforts to win his party’s nomination — despite his double-digit primary support and high favorability rating with voters — Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., seems to be running a not-so-subtle “shadow campaign” as Biden’s rightful heir.
If that is what Democrats have in mind — to swap Biden for Newsom in the next few months — then President Biden is already a ghost in his own White House.