Biden's Been Around So Long that Reagan and Obama Both Had Opinions of Him - And Both Were Right

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It’s hard to believe, but we’re going on six months of the Joe Biden presidency. Depending on how you look at it, the time has either flown by or felt like an utter eternity. Put me down for the latter camp.

I had low expectations of Slow Joe going in. Politics interested me since I was a kid, and I followed the goings-on in Washington the way other kids followed sports — which I followed too, I just made time to watch the Sunday morning talking-head shows before church, and sports afterward.

Biden has been a fixture of those shows and politics generally as long as I’ve been following politics, and he has never managed to be impressive or do anything noteworthy during that time. That’s not to say he’s done nothing. He’s just never stood out as a leader. He’s not known for his soaring oratory, or his exceptional intellect, or…really anything except the image of being a kind of regular guy. He cultivated that image by claiming to ride Amtrak trains, which most of the country doesn’t have and can’t relate to, and by eating at restaurants that may or may not exist.

In half a century in politics, as I watched him from afar, he did two things that stick out. The first was during the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president and it was morning in America again. Looking back at those years now is bittersweet. Reagan was a unique president, fully committed to the conservative cause in ways the Bushes and other major Republicans have never truly been, and one of the greatest communicators of ideas in American history. Reagan loved America deeply, and for the eight years of his presidency, most of America loved him for it. He defeated Jimmy Carter, whose policies and demeanor depressed and stressed the country, and absolutely crushed Walter Mondale in 1984. Even his worst scandal, Iran-Contra, centered on his desire to fight and defeat communism. He hated that ideology that enslaved millions and did everything he could to dismantle and destroy it.

During those years, Sen. Joe Biden wasn’t all that helpful to the cause. He’s a Democrat, so a certain amount of partisanship can be expected, but Biden the alleged moderate wasn’t a moderate at all. He acted as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s henchman in trying to thwart and scuttle Reagan’s agenda. He also used his Senate Judiciary Committee perch to help launch the judicial wars that plague us now. Every time a Republican nominee faces a gauntlet of smears, Biden’s fingerprints are all over that. It began with the nomination by Reagan of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, carried through the Bush nomination of Sen. John Tower to Defense Secretary and 1989, and continues through the Clarence Thomas nomination, to Brett Kavanaugh, to the next Republican nominee whenever that happens. Biden has always been a divider who flashes his pearly teeth when he’s getting ready to take a bite out of the truth and decency for the sake of partisan gains and maneuvers.

I mean, the idea that Kennedy scuttled anyone’s nomination over any character defect ought to be laughable. Kennedy had a hard-won reputation for hard-drinking and abusing women — he left Mary Jo Kopechne to die in the Chappaquiddick — and was never a paragon of virtue at all. He was awful, but not so awful that Biden wouldn’t follow him like the little dog in those cartoons in which the big dog is calling all the shots.

Kennedy was Spike, Biden was Chester. Sylvester fills in the role of any Republican nominee during Biden’s and Kennedy’s heyday.

During his presidency, it’s no exaggeration to say that Ronald Reagan was out to save America from socialism and communism. He’d dedicated his public service career to that, and forged an alliance with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II to that end. Now we have a socialist pope, but that’s a topic for another day.

Toward the end of his presidency, Reagan had the measure of his foe Joe Biden. Reagan wrote in his diary in 1987 that Biden is “a smooth but pure demagog [sic]– out to save Am. [America] from Reagan Doctrine.” Reagan had laid out his Doctrine two years earlier in his 1985 State of the Union Address: “We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.”

That’s what Joe Biden was trying to thwart: America standing with and helping people fight for their own freedom. In the 1970s, Biden had already shown his true colors when it came to people seeking freedom from communism when he was the lone senator to vote against assistance to the people escaping Vietnam as it finally came under the clutches of the communist north.

“The United States has no obligation to evacuate one — or 100,001 — South Vietnamese,” he said at the time. Yes, this is the same man who regards every illegal border crosser now as merely seeking a better life, and not the drug-runner, coyote, or cartel operative — or terrorist — they may be.

Biden condemned innocent freedom-seeking people to torture and death at the hands of ruthless communists, and he probably didn’t lose a second’s sleep over it.

Fast forward to this week, and see what Biden did with an address. My colleague Tyler O’Neil reports on Biden’s overt race-baiting and demagoguery in a speech on the heinous Tulsa massacre, tying that horrific event in which many died to the Capitol riot, in which only an unarmed rioter was actually killed in the violence — managing to cheapen both events for the sake of his warped understanding of history. Biden had the opportunity to unite the country on Memorial Day, but didn’t. He hasn’t been a uniter at all. He doesn’t even try to speak on behalf of America or anything good about the country. Biden divides as a true demagogue does. This earns him nothing but mistrust among about half the country and the majority of the state I live in, but he has never shown the slightest capacity to care about that. He’s a party uber alles kind of guy.

When he isn’t being deliberately anti-freedom and divisive, which is most of the time, he’s just bad at the job of leading. Throughout his career, Joe Biden has never actually been a leader who was accountable for results. He never ran a business. He never ran an agency. Now he’s accountable for the operation of the federal government, after never having run anything other than his Senate office staff and whatever financial shenanigans and angles he was working with his addict son, Hunter.

He flung the border open on Day One, chaos ensued, he dithered about it all and then appointed Kamala Harris to just fix it, or at least act like she was. Harris couldn’t even manage that, she hasn’t visited the border and has no plans to. The problem hasn’t abated, it’s getting worse.

And now Harris’s team is publicly fretting that she wasn’t really tasked with fixing the border in the first place. They went to CNN (where else?) to complain about it. Harris’s take now is that Biden only actually appointed her to deal with the “root causes” of illegal immigration, whatever that is, not, you know, actual security at the actual border, which is the one thing the sovereign United States can do the most about. Trump proved that with two policies — the wall, and the “remain in Mexico” policy. Biden scrapped both and then sent the unpopular and unlikeable Harris to go do something or make a show of it.

And if Harris is right, that Biden gave her a different job than the one the whole country thought he gave her, that’s on him and his poor communication skills. Literally everyone thought he was handing Harris the border, with the main speculation being whether this was to burnish her credentials ahead of her inevitable time as president when he gets the 25th Amendment boot, or to deep-six her as a rival to another person vying for power behind the Biden presidency — DOCTOR Jill Biden, Susan Rice, or someone else who wants Harris damaged and sidelined. If Biden misled the country, he either lied or was just being the bonehead he has always been. Neither is a good look.

Trace all this out and every part of the problem comes back to Biden. He blew up successful border policies on the first day, then he announced Harris had the job to fix it, and that’s after he painted himself into the demagogic corner of basically having to select Harris as his running mate in the first place. She wasn’t qualified for the job. She hadn’t even made it to the first primary in 2020. She has an off-putting demeanor and no discernible moral principles, no proven record of strong communication…nothing other than her gender and ethnicity to go by. She’s not in the same league as Obama on communication and lacks chops on foreign and domestic policy. But Biden declared, stupidly, that his running mate would definitely be a woman of color and therefore not based on any real qualifications for the job. How he didn’t understand that this would box him in and weaken his eventual choice is a bit mind-blowing. It would have been obvious to anyone who isn’t totally oblivious to how real people think.

But this is Joe Biden. President Barack Obama had the measure of the man when he said “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up.” Obama hasn’t said many things I instantly agree with over the years, but that statement sticks. Obama also said Biden running for president would “Make Hillary (Clinton) look so much better.”


Obama now says that Biden is “finishing the work he started,” which also isn’t exactly a compliment. Obama may think it is, because he thinks the world still revolves around his every utterance. But it’s belittling in the same way Biden’s running mate declaration was belittling to Harris. It says outright that Joe Biden isn’t really calling the shots. That’s probably true, but it’s not the thing people usually say out loud if they’re really rooting for the guy.

But back to the two quotes from two very different presidents. Reagan nailed it when he said Biden is a demagogue. He is. Joe Biden has no moral or patriotic center. Obama said he’s a massive screw-up. He is. Six months in and we’ve already got a chaotic border, had a war in the Middle East, and we’re headed for inflation thanks to Biden’s absolutely irresponsible energy policies and spending spree. There’s a joke making the rounds that lumber costs so much now because Biden is cutting down all the trees to keep printing money.

He’ll eventually find a way to give Iran a pile of money borrowed from China, while his son continues to do business with the communists who are still bent on dominating the world.

It’s a rare character who can prove both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama right. Joe Biden is that character, and he’s in the White House now. God help us.