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Expectations for President Biden

Post # 180, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

'Joe Biden believes as Former House Speaker Sam Rayburn (D., Texas) said, To get along, go along.'

Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal 7/29/21

I have previously mentioned that I had a chance to meet then U.S. Senator Joe Biden in 1975. I was attending a legislative function at Disney World in Orlando, and my colleague Rep. Tom Gallagher (R., Coconut Grove) had brought his old friend as a guest. For some reason Senator Biden seemed to be interested in me and my opinions. We talked for the better part of an hour, and I found him attentive, interesting, and very polite. But, I did not find him inquisitive, intrusive or overly intelligent. I told Susan his election to the Senate might have been a bit of a fluke as his home state of Delaware was so small that it was much like a local election in Florida. Boy was I wrong about his potential in politics--he went on to a 36 year career in the Senate, served as Vice President for two terms, and then elected President with the largest total vote count for President ever.

Now that President Biden has been in office for 6 months, I can look at his record and make a judgement about him. We probably need to lower our expectations for President Biden because:

  • He has average intelligence, but is gregarious so will generally remain popular.

  • Republicans are almost universally committed to his lack of success in office.

  • Although his polling is about 10 points better than President Trump, Biden seems to have a lid on his popularity about 55%. For the first time in his Presidency, Biden has slipped in the polls.

  • Biden strikes me as a "partial" policy maker--he is for or against something, but with strings. As an example, he is a very devout Catholic, but favors right to choose on abortion.

  • His lack of military experience is apparent, as accountability, cost-benefits, and esprit de corps all seem to be foreign to President Biden. He is not decisive.

  • His weak public speaking raises questions about illness and sickness being kept from the public.

  • Lacking a strong identity, Biden's Democratic Party seems to be badly splintered among Moderates (like Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois) and Liberals (like Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont voting with the Democrat caucus). Biden appears to be equally splintered.

  • Although Covid-19 has been difficult to predict and cure, Biden's response has been equally confusing. The same was said of President Trump.

In a future Post to this Commentary, I will recommend Biden seize on a critical need of desperate Cubans--the internet. Biden should declare that as a red line in the sand and deliver it to our neighbors 90 miles from Key West. Like President George W. Bush, Biden should then declare victory.

Perhaps then we can raise the bar on expectations for him as someone who targets a problem, gains consensus on a solution and solves the problem. Then raise the bar.



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