Scientists recently discovered what they believe to be the oldest common an ancestor of today’s octopus and other cephalopods. It lacked a backbone, was slimy, and is now a fossil. Without any apparent irony, they named it after Joe Biden. Syllipsimopodi bideni, as this ancient vampire squid is now known, was reportedly named after Biden by paleontologists for his work on climate change. This was apparently before Biden’s climate change work began to destroy the American economy.
But the name remains apt. Cephalopods will attempt to ooze out of tight situations that they have gotten themselves into. Biden is using the Russian invasion of Ukraine to explain high gas prices, which were on their way up well before Putin went after Kyiv. The president declared war on carbon-based energy immediately after taking office. That virtually ensured prices at the pump were going to rise. Biden and his advisers obviously hoped that the increases would be gradual enough that they would go unnoticed. As they have been so often in the past 15 months, they were disastrously wrong.
A cephalopod will change colors to adapt to its environment. Biden has shown this trait throughout his political career, but it has never been more apparent than in his switch from candidacy to presidency. Having misjudged the direction of the country, the slightly pink candidate has again turned a light shade of blue as president. Having failed to deter Putin, Biden will try to blame the Russian president for all his administration’s failures.
A cephalopod will change colors to adapt to its environment. Biden has shown this trait throughout his political career.
Putin has proven himself to be a truly malign actor, but much of what has happened in our country since January 2021 is beyond even his capability to create mayhem. Nor can Biden continue to blame Donald Trump. In Trump’s case, Biden promised to bring the country back together after Trump’s alleged mismanagement. He has had a year, and the country is more divided than ever. He promised to beat COVID, but managed to make it worse, and destroyed confidence in the nation’s public health system in the process. In Putin’s case, he had nothing to do with the Afghan debacle. Those were decisions made by the president against the advice of his military commanders and intelligence chiefs. There is no amount of lipstick that will make that pig look like Lady Gaga.
Nor did Putin engineer the Build Back Better fiasco. Biden made the decision not to break that unpassable leftist wish list into digestible parts all by himself because he had absolute faith in his ability to forge compromise based on Senate experience when he was just one of the gang. But there is a Putin analogy here. BBB is Biden’s Ukraine. Both men believe that they are the smartest people in the room and their misplaced self-confidence appears to have ignored good advice from advisers and congressional allies who should have been trusted. Putin may have cowed advisers into agreeing with him. But leaks from the Biden White House give solid evidence that the president really believed that he could push the package through by using his charm to win over the two rogue Democratic senators needed to pass. Even after the bill died, he refused to stop referring to his agenda by name.
Even the president’s two signature successes have proved inflationary. The second stimulus package put unneeded money into the economy and was probably the spark that started the fire. Even the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill proved inflationary as it immediately drove up the demand for construction materials past existing supply, and that will be the case at least until the midterms.
Nonetheless, Biden is reportedly going to attempt to escape the lobster trap he has gotten himself into by blaming the whole mess on Russia, labeling high gas prices and further inflation a “Putin Price hike” and portraying himself as a crisis president. It won’t work. First, the American people may have a short attention span, but they can remember last month. They may give him a pass on that portion of gas prices caused by the war in Ukraine, but they know that they were already mired in inflation far before the invasion started. In addition, most Americans understand that Biden’s lukewarm response to Putin’s threats at the start of the crisis caused him to factor out the U.S. and NATO in his equations. This does nothing to bolster his credibility as a crisis president. And he continues to double down. Instead of sending Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, Biden sent Vice President Kamala Harris to Poland. She giggled when asked her first serious question. We are lucky that we are not at war with Poland.
One thing that Biden can feel good about is that he is not the first president to have a new species named after him. Barack Obama’s namesake was a parasite, also an apt analogy.
Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.
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