Low and Slow Joe

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Typically someone goes into a situation with a certain amount of capital; the gambler’s stake, the firm’s initial investment, a fighter plane’s available energy. Those without enough capital of their own borrow it and politicians seeking office but lacking wide support or charisma issue promises to their donors in exchange for a loan of support.


Joe Biden’s balance sheet coming into office was highly leveraged. With only average charisma and without a notable record, the former VP, in order to obtain what he needed against Donald Trump, issued Green energy and social policy notes to the left that were not merely difficult but practically impossible to redeem. When these nonproductive policies not only failed to pay off but created new liabilities (like the border crisis), Joe found moderate and conservative sources of support evaporating, forcing him to issue more promises on even more onerous terms to the only political lender remaining, the progressive left.

What we are watching is an administration getting deeper into hock just to keep aloft. It needs energy desperately, but from where? Although Biden was probably aware that his partnership with the progressives would eventually run things down, he underestimated the rate at which his foreign policy would fail and ‘renewable’ energy would underperform, and how deep the damage to the supply chain caused by COVID-19 restrictions would be.

Suddenly, disaster was upon him. By the time his handlers were alive to the danger, in the shape of plummeting poll numbers and runaway inflation, the damage was done. They realize with horror that the trends cannot now be reversed before the midterm campaign season, however hard the engines back. Joe is low and slow, and America’s enemies are lining up on his six o’clock.

Russia is feinting with conventional forces against the Ukraine border. China continues to menace Taiwan and even Australia. Biden’s present low estate contrasts poignantly with the early over-expenditure of capital typified by the unfolding disaster in Yemen. “In its early days in office the Biden Administration removed the Houthi rebels of Yemen from the list of foreign terrorist organizations and withdrew weapons support for the Saudi-led coalition aiding Yemen’s government. How are those goodwill gestures working out?” asks the WSJ. By the Houthis seizing part of the US embassy compound, that’s how.


It was thought that the capital would be recovered when it paid off, but it never did for reasons that appear to baffle Joe’s advisers, who can only blame hard luck. “There’s no doubt inflation is high right now,” said Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council. But “the pandemic has been calling the shots for the economy and for inflation,” Yellen said.

But some pundits, like Andrew Sullivan, are beginning to wonder if anyone can see it coming.

In victory there’s plenty to go around, but in adversity it’s every man for himself. Now in the midst of this cascading crisis, the ugly smell of political double-cross is in the air as the coalition partners seek a way out. CNN, a source notably supportive of Biden, says that Kamala Harris seems unhappy about being strapped to his downwardly spiraling administration. Chris Cilliza writes:

Remember that when Biden ran for president, he purposely cast himself as a sort of bridge candidate for Democrats — holding the office until some of the party’s younger stars, several of whom ran against him, were ready to take on the mantle of leadership. …

When Biden picked Harris as his vice president, the message was clear: She was the future of the party. Two things have happened since then.
1) Biden has said publicly and privately that he plans to run for a 2nd term in 2024 when he is in his early 80s
2) Harris has stumbled — whether through the tough assignments given to her by Biden or by her own struggles to serve as second in command.

That bridge that Biden envisioned then is shaky. And, as Psaki’s tweet makes clear, the White House knows it.


‘But who wants a bridge to nowhere?’ Kamala might well ask. ‘Who wants a nowhere bridge?’ Joe could just as easily retort. Two sides that deserve each other are wondering what to do next. The present plan is to print more money to ease inflationary pressures.

But this is unlikely to work. Rather than digging out, deficit spending will probably only enlarge the inflationary hole. Perhaps this time, Andrew, the MSM will see it coming. One always hopes. But ultimately someone must find a way to bring the political middle back into the picture to pull the republic out of a dive. There isn’t enough energy on the left flank to do the trick. Joe’s game is mug’s game. Someone has to rebuild the governing consensus, whether from the Democratic, Republican or another party, we do not know. All we know for the present is who cannot.

Books: The Last Duel by Eric Jager. In 1386, a few days after Christmas, a massive crowd gathered at a Paris monastery to watch two men fight a duel to the death. A trial by combat to prove which man’s cause was right in God’s sight. The dramatic story of the knight, the squire, and the lady unfolds during the tumultuous fourteenth century. A time of war, plague, and anarchy, as well as of honor, chivalry, and courtly love. The notorious quarrel appears in many histories of France, but no writer has recounted it in full, until now.



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