May 14, 2021

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Waking Up In The Wrong Movie.

The remarkable thing about the multiple crises facing Joe Biden is how quickly they’ve multiplied and worsened. These include, in no particular order:

the Mexican border problem;
the expanding war between Israel, Hamas, and possibly with Iran;
the gasoline supply disruption stemming from the cyberattack on the Colonial fuel pipeline;
economic trouble and warnings of impending inflation.

These sprung up in the first days of his term with an abruptness and progression that has taken pundits by surprise. The administration must have anticipated eventual problems would arise but not so soon nor from so many directions.

Not all of us were surprised, though even I have noted that it’s weirdly impressive how fast they’ve managed to wreck things:

The New York Times writes that the fighting in Israel caught Biden on the hop. Lulled by recent quiet in the region it did not seem a priority until all hell broke loose. “As spiraling riots, rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and airstrikes on Gaza threaten to escalate into a major conflict, calls are growing in the Democratic Party for Mr. Biden to play a more active role.”

They were also blindsided by the Colonial pipeline attack. CNN writes that “Biden administration officials have privately voiced frustration with what they see as Colonial Pipeline’s weak security protocols and a lack of preparation that could have allowed hackers to pull off a crippling ransomware attack, officials familiar with the government’s initial investigation into the incident told CNN.”

April’s dismal job numbers were also a total surprise. The administration had been expecting a boom. The NYT wrote that “April’s anemic job creation was so out of line with what other indicators have suggested that it will take some time to unravel the mystery.” It was so shocking that newsrooms had to junk prewritten articles announcing a Biden boom.

The progressives are hoping that the administration’s current woes are temporary in nature, that the misfortunes will soon wear away.

Yeah, don’t bet on that.

Plus: “Perhaps the biggest potential mistake the establishment might have made was that they overestimated the reserve buoyancy of the political system. With Trump gone they assumed they could rule as before, spend as before, lecture as before. Even Joe could do it. If Joe Biden’s woes are due to more than bad luck it, could be a sign that the design margin they had counted on for so long no longer exists.” They burned through that during the Obama Administration. Trump knew that, even if they didn’t.

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