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Reagan vs. Biden: How to Handle/Not Handle a Crisis

(AP Photo/Scott Stewart, File)

By now the Biden administration routine has become all-too-familiar.

Something big goes wrong, usually because of bad policy decisions like extending overly generous unemployment benefits for far too long, or pulling our military out of Afghanistan before getting our civilians out.

Then the White House trots out poor old Presidentish Joe Biden to address the nation, except that the man we see looks sometimes irritated, sometimes lost, sometimes angry, sometimes weepy, always tired, and sometimes all of the above.

This can’t be helping.

When the nation needs to see a strong executive or commander-in-chief, instead we’re treated to the sight of an aging political hack who can’t admit mistakes.

Worse, it sometimes seems as though Biden is unaware he’s done anything wrong, as though he’s so addled he buys his own B.S.

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The worst example from Biden’s brief-yet-all-too-long tenure in the Oval Office was just two weeks ago. The confusion in the administration was arguably worse than the confusion in Kabul. Biden remained hidden away at Camp David for more than a day, ignored frantic phone calls from UK PM Boris Johnson for 40 hours, finally came back to the White House to give a terrible teleprompter address, stomped out on the press, retreated back to Camp David, signaled he’d return to Delaware but then didn’t, and then came back Friday to give another tired teleprompter speech.

During all of that, Biden doubled down on the same disastrous policies that created the crisis in the first place.

Compare that to Ronald Reagan in 1983 following the terror bombing of our Marine barracks there.

Don’t kid yourself: Beirut was largely Reagan’s fault. He ordered the Marines in without a real plan for what to do with them there, and without understanding the true nature of the terrorist threat. Although to be fair, no one really did in ’83.

Reagan came back quickly, addressed the nation extemporaneously and with strength, accepted responsibility, pointed no fingers, then signaled America’s continuing resolve just two days later by ordering operation Urgent Fury to topple the Communist dictatorship in Grenada and rescue our people there, mostly students.

Biden blamed everyone but Biden and then signaled our continuing resolve, or at least tried badly to, by ordering a drone strike that killed seven children and three other civilians.

Disaster strikes every administration. It’s a big, messy, dangerous world and sometimes the proverbial stuff hits the fan even when you do everything right.

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It’s in those moments that a president earns his paycheck by acting as a leader, by showing resolve, by comforting the survivors… whatever the moment requires.

The fatal flaw of the Biden administration is that it is led — if I haven’t stretched that word far beyond its meaning — by an increasingly tired and senescent old man who has never held a leadership position and has a history of punching down when things don’t go his way.

They trot tired Biden out because he’s the man who took the oath of office on January 20. He is the brittle clay with which the West Wing must work.

And, no, it isn’t helping.

Biden came into office without much of a swearing-in bounce, and those are the best poll numbers he ever enjoyed.

If you want to know why Biden can’t get his signature, multrillion-dollar “infrastructure” bill passed, this is why. For a president to get anything done on Capitol Hill he needs clout.

Clout in DC is measured by the level of love, respect, and/or fear he can generate with the various senators and congresscritters.

They want love, they crave respect, but they’ll settle for fear.

You don’t see Biden generating any of those things, and his less-than-tepid responses to the weakening economy and his bungled bugout from Afghanistan won’t help him any.

What we have in Joe Biden might be an American first: A first-term lame duck.