Joe Biden Is a Lousy Politician (Matthew Continetti, May 14, 2024, AEI)

We pretend that the chief executive and his inner circle have a deep and mystical insight into the mood of voters and how best to shape public attitudes. The reason for this illusion is that there is only one president at a time. Winning the White House is an enormous task. To achieve it, the president and his team must build a national coalition. They must earn a mandate. They have got to know what they are doing.

That’s the cover story. Every so often, though, a president comes along who dashes the nation’s expectations of fitness, capacity, and suitability for office. The president may be an honorable man or an effective demagogue. His record may be admirable or mixed. But, at some point, his poll numbers go south. Nothing goes right. None of his solutions work. Looking back, it appears as if he were doomed from the start.

Such was the fate shared by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump. They belong to a club no one wants to join: a motley crew of one-termers. It may soon welcome a new member named Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

All Joe was hired to do was beat Donald. No one thought he’d be an effective executive. He should have chosen a capable vp and resigned once his job was done.


Biden’s “An Illegal” Remark Is More Than Just a Slip: The president has moved right on immigration. (Isabela Dias, 3/08/24, MoJo)

Biden’s impromptu flub echoed the direction of his policies—making immigrants, as a collective, seem lesser, somehow stripped of peoplehood.

“The rhetoric President Biden used tonight was dangerously close to language from Donald Trump that puts a target on the backs of Latinos everywhere,” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas said on social media. “Democrats shouldn’t be taking our cues from MAGA extremism.” The National Immigrant Justice Center’s X account posted that “blaming an entire group of people for the alleged acts of one person is xenophobia which must not be tolerated in part of the US government.”

Naturally, Biden’s “an illegal” moment played right into Greene’s hands. The congresswoman took credit for making Biden “go off script” and telling the “truth” by admitting “Laken Riley was murdered by an ILLEGAL!!!” […]

Immigration and the border have been front and center this campaign cycle. Biden also took the opportunity to rail against Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers for tanking a bipartisan senate border deal so restrictive it would have previously been unthinkable for Democrats to stand behind it.


Special counsel report questions Biden’s memory (Alex Thompson, 2/08/24, Axios)

The report said that “Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations,” citing his interview with the special counsel’s office and recorded conversations with his ghostwriter.

“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report said.
“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Props to the Special Counsel/DOJ for recognizing that, while invoking the 25th was beyond their remit in this instance, the conversation needed to begin and to the staff who wheeled him out last night to bolster the case.


Biden won’t be charged in classified docs case; special counsel cites instances of ‘poor memory’ (Ryan J. Reilly, Ken Dilanian and Megan Lebowitz, 2/08/24, NBC news)

Hur’s report included several shocking lines about Biden’s memory, which the report said “was significantly limited” during his 2023 interviews with the special counsel. Biden’s age and presentation would make it more difficult to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the now-81-year-old was guilty of willfully committing a crime.

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” it said. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

And he didn’t have much on the ball to begin with.


The Immigration Policy Spiral: Joe Biden, from a position of weakness, is trying to cut a punitive deal on border policy without the House. (DAVID DAYEN, DECEMBER 15, 2023, American Prospect)

As talks flailed, Mitch McConnell, who sees Ukraine as part of his personal legacy, announced that the only way anything would happen on the border-for-Ukraine swap is if Biden got personally involved. McConnell is someone with personal experience fleecing Biden in moments of weakness, dating back to the 2012 fiscal cliff. And because Biden both believes Ukraine is the leading foreign-policy challenge of his presidency, and hopes against hope to take the border issue “off the table” in the next election, he was eager to engage, from a position of weakness.

Biden sent his chief of staff Jeff Zients and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas into the talks, and made a series of concessions. One allows for unilateral expulsions without asylum screenings, a reversion to the Title 42 expulsion policy that was lifted when the pandemic emergency expired, on days with a high number of border crossings. (How this would not violate international law is unstated.) In addition, Biden has offered tightened “credible fear” standards for granting asylum, mandated detention for some migrants pending a court hearing (it’s anyone’s guess where they would be held, as there is already a shortage of beds), and expansion of expedited removal to deport migrants anywhere in the country who fail an asylum screening. As Dara Lind of the American Immigration Council explains, if that ever passed it would be a nice tool for Stephen Miller’s dreams of mass deportation.

The offer has made some Democratic lawmakers, commentators, and immigrant rights groups apoplectic. It devolves the deal-making from “comprehensive immigration reform” to a border crackdown, with no new path to legal standing in the U.S. for any migrant. I’m not sure Latino voters, whose top issues are inflation and jobs and whom Biden is messaging to by likening Trump to Latin American dictators, will see this as a betrayal, but the people who volunteer and knock on doors for Biden might.

There was never any chance he’d govern well, but he needn’t have been as bad as this.