Biden’s Press Conference - and the Blame Game

Boasting, gaffes, delusions and passing the buck.

President Joe Biden began his January 19th news conference with scripted remarks boasting about his first-year performance. He continued with an eyebrow-raising, delusional self-assessment for nearly two hours, in which he claimed that he had “probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen” while blaming Republicans and COVID-19 for failing to do even more.

“Can you think of any other President that has done as much in one year?” Biden asked reporters rhetorically. In one sense, he had a strong point: it is a challenge to think of any other U.S. president who has done more damage to the country domestically and globally in his first year in office than Joe Biden has done.

Biden rambled much of the time in responding to questions from the press regarding such topics as Russia’s designs on Ukraine, the economy, COVID-19, his pledges to bring unity to the country, and the fate of his Build Back Better and voting “reform” legislation. Rampant crime in cities across the country and unremitting surges of illegal aliens across the open southern border with Mexico did not come up.

Biden made his usual share of faux pas, most notably seeming to give Russia leeway for a “minor incursion” into Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki quickly released a statement intended to walk back this gaffe. Biden himself followed up with his own “clarifying” statement but it was too late. “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shot back on Twitter. “Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."

At times, Biden became sarcastic, even testy when a few reporters challenged him with pointed questions. One reporter asked him about his recent speech in Atlanta promoting his voting “rights” legislation. Many people objected to his comparing opponents of his legislation to those who took the side of avowed racists such as s George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis in past struggles over issues of race.

“Look at what I said, go back and read what I said,” Biden angrily retorted. Then in a sarcastic, condescending tone, he added, “I assume you got into journalism because you’d like to write.”

Looking back at what Biden said in Atlanta, it’s true that he didn’t outright call his opponents George Wallace, Bull Connor, or Jefferson Davis. But that’s just semantics.

Jefferson Davis was a traitor to his country, fighting to preserve slavery. George Wallace vowed "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Bull Connor used police attack dogs against civil rights activists. Biden disgracefully said that those who oppose provisions in the Democrats’ voting bills, such as mandating no-excuse mail-in balloting nationwide for anyone who requests it, are just as much on the wrong side of history as those infamous bigots from very different eras. He insulted many Americans today who have legitimate qualms about a one-size-fits-all federalization of election procedures. And he trivialized the noble achievements of true civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.

The president did not apologize for his inflammatory remarks, which had drawn criticism even from members of his own party. Instead, he doubled down.

He also recklessly suggested that failure to pass his legislation intended to federalize voting procedures could call into question the legitimacy of this year’s midterm elections.

"Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question inquiring about the impact of changes to some states’ voting laws on the 2022 elections. Referring to his voting legislation which went down to defeat in the Senate hours after he spoke to reporters, the president added that “the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”

Jen Psaki did some cleanup here too, trying to deflect attention back on the Democrats’ favorite boogeyman, Donald Trump.

What defeated the Democrats’ attempt to ram through federalization of the voting process and run roughshod over long-established Senate practice was the refusal of two courageous Democrat Senators – Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – to be bullied. Right triumphed over might in the Senate when a bipartisan majority voted down a cynical attempt to alter the filibuster’s protections of the minority’s rights.

The president is relentless at playing the blame game. In the Biden White House, the buck stops everywhere but on his own desk.

Biden falsely claimed that Republicans today refuse to play ball. He yearned for the good old days when Republicans “weren’t nearly as obstructionist as they are now….”

If Joe Biden had not tacked so far to the Left to please the Democrats’ progressive radical base, he might have found more willingness on the part of Republicans to cooperate with him. Even so, Republicans worked with Democrats to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, one of the few legislative victories that Biden managed to achieve even with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. Infighting within the Democrat Party delayed its final passage.

The  U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed the Senate back in June with a big bipartisan majority, 68 to 32. It's the Democrat-controlled House that is sitting on the legislation. Biden's problem lies more with his own party than it does with the Republicans.

Despite legitimate concerns about the Democrats’ runaway spending, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was even willing to work with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in order to raise the national debt ceiling and avoid a possible default.

As for Biden’s complaints about the filibuster, which he strongly supported during his long Senate career, Democrats used the filibuster to stop the bipartisan police reform bill during the last year of the Trump administration. They did so for obvious partisan reasons. During the 2019-2020 Congressional term, a record-breaking 328 filibusters were recorded while Democrats were in the minority. This year, while they hold majority power, Democrats even used the Senate filibuster they now claim to hate to block sanctions on businesses tied to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany. Russian President Vladimir Putin is no doubt grateful.

Biden accused Republicans of not standing for anything except obstructing his agenda. "I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” Biden said, oddly referring to himself in the third person. “Think about this: What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”  

Here are just a few things that Republicans are for, which resonate with many millions of Americans: secure national borders, safer streets, support for law enforcement, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and less regulation, peace through strength, parental rights, school choice, and individual freedoms.

If Republicans can continue to thwart the progressive Left’s radical agenda, they can prevent what Biden's former boss Barack Obama promised would be the "fundamentally transformation" of the country.

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