Press conferences have gone from feverishly adversarial under Trump to dull and idle under Biden. He faced few difficult questions until the end of the interminable press conference on Wednesday when he finally moved off his sheet of approved questioners. Still, not a single reporter asked him about two of the biggest crises of his first year in office: the invasion of the southern border and crime sprees across the country.
Much of the press conference revolved around issues of little interest to Americans — Russia-Ukraine tensions and dead-in-the-water voting bills — along with Biden’s repeated insistence that everything is going swimmingly. “I don’t believe the polls,” said a president with an anemic job approval rating.
He has governed as an obvious puppet of the far-left, yet told reporters, “I am no Bernie Sanders.” Could Sanders have done any worse?
Biden displayed his usual tics — odd pauses, stalling babble, lame sarcasm, whispering for no apparent reason, brain freezes, statements begun and then abandoned, toothy grins alternating with geriatric voice elevation. He got very heated at the suggestion that he had compared Republicans to Bull Connor. But, of course, he did indulge in that intemperate rhetoric.
And it is not the first time, as the press corps should have reminded him: In a 2020 speech, he said, “The Bull Connors of today don’t stand in the street with fire hoses and dogs. They wield their power rolling back rights, punishing the poor, denying access to health care and quality education, and turning away refugees and asylum seekers.” In other words, merely opposing liberal policies makes Republicans akin to a monstrous racist in Biden’s eyes.
Biden congratulated himself for his handling of COVID and declared that “enormous progress” has been made. But the very fact that reporters asked their feeble questions while still masked up belies his claim. They didn’t question his exclusive and failing focus on vaccines or his outrageous suggestion that the problem can’t really be addressed until the entire “world is vaccinated.” Biden’s COVID-related answers conformed perfectly to the proverbial definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Taking credit for economic successes he inherited while disclaiming responsibility for failures he caused, Biden portrayed his first year in office as astonishingly positive and productive. He challenged reporters to name a president who had accomplished more in his first year. They could have thrown out almost any president’s name at random and met that challenge. But naturally, they didn’t.
His first year was a stunning failure, largely the result of his mindlessly ideological undoing of Trump’s policies on immigration, crime, energy, and the economy. He has governed as an obvious puppet of the far-left, yet told reporters, “I am no Bernie Sanders.” Could Sanders have done any worse? Biden is still playing the faux-moderate after all these years. To the extent that he acknowledged “frustrations” during his first year, he blamed them on COVID and irrational Republican obstructionism. He nonsensically claimed that he no longer knows “what Republicans are for.”
But after whining about a lack of Republican cooperation, he acknowledged that he hasn’t even reached out to moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney. “I didn’t call many Republicans at all,” he admitted. Maybe he is still worried Romney might put blacks “back in chains.”
Biden gingerly addressed the problem of inflation, hesitating a bit before using the word. At first, he referred vaguely to the problem of “prices.” With a straight face, he proposed the passage of the tax-and-spend behemoth Build Back Better as a solution to inflation. Print more money, kill productivity, and push energy-blocking environmentalism — that’s Biden’s answer to rising food and gas prices.
So much of the Democratic Party’s program is just creating problems and then demanding bigger and bigger government to eliminate them. Hence, Biden could blather on at the press conference about the desperate need for government-subsidized childcare without mentioning his own role in helping to create it through anti-family policies. The public school closings orchestrated by his friends in the teachers unions went unmentioned. He said that most schools are now open, but that is no thanks to him and his allies.
Biden is a very dull dog these days. He can barely recite his talking points before trailing off. His supposedly momentous elaborations end in the most hacky and shallow asides. He quotes his relatives and parents with annoying frequency — quotes that are never unique to them or even remotely insightful.
Even after a year of failures, he had trouble summoning any regrets. “I have no apologies,” he said about his monumentally chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. He praised Kamala Harris and assured the press that he will run with her again in 2024.
His complacency and indifference to public discontent were on open display. His only self-criticism appeared to be that he feels he is too cooped up in the White House and that he needs to make more speeches across the country while interacting with “academics” and “editorial writers,” whatever that means. He also promised to “campaign” vigorously in the upcoming elections. But many Democrats now fear that help more than welcome it — a fear that Biden’s tone-deaf press conference could only have strengthened.