Joe Biden just might be the dumbest president in recent memory. Just look at his sad press conference where he drooled and stumbled his way through.
I know what you’re thinking, “This is Craig Shirley, a well-known conservative writer and speaker talking, of course he would say that!” Allow me, though, to convince you because in less than three months as our commander-in-chief, Biden certainly has convinced me.
We know he graduated near the bottom is his law school class then lied about it, as he often lies about other things in his life. In contrast, Ronald Reagan’s IQ was estimated to be 170 by his longtime aide Marty Anderson, who given his Ivy League degrees, knew of what he spoke. Others such as Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Richard Nixon were believed to have high IQs, as well. Our dumber presidents have included LBJ and Biden. They both had and have a naïve and child-like belief in government’s ability to solve all our problems.
In truth, I don’t think Biden has been this way his entire political career. One does not stay in office on the Hill for four decades by being a complete nincompoop. But since being sworn in, his decision-making has been at times downright mind-bogglingly bad.
First, let’s consider the way he’s handled his relationship with the press. The media got its brief honeymoon period with Biden in the immediate aftermath of his inauguration, but for all the pounding reporters took at the hands of Donald Trump, Trump was nothing if not transparent. Trump spent nearly every day of his presidency attacking the press, but at least he had the temerity to do it in-person.
From his impromptu pools to rambling, free-wheeling press conferences, the media had ample access to Trump and his stream of consciousness (and for some reason if that failed, they could always check his Twitter). Biden has been almost the polar opposite. Despite talking big about reestablishing good relations with the media and reinstituting the daily press briefings, Biden has steadily avoided answering questions and didn’t give a press conference until March 25, the longest silent streak of any modern president.
Moreover, Biden has flat-out tried to hide negative information from the press by refusing them access to detention facilities on the border (more on that issue in a moment). It took a Democratic member of Congress releasing photos of migrant children packed in cages to prompt the administration to do so a few days later, but the damage was already done.
In short, after promising to treat the media better than his predecessor, being nice to the press should have been an easy win for Biden. Instead, he’s kept them at arm’s length constantly for no apparent reason, letting his handlers usher him away as soon as he’s read the script. When the Democratic-friendly media is fed up, you know you’ve dropped the ball.
Such a screw up, my friends, is dumb. Think Forrest Gump or Rain Man.
Speaking of the southern border, let’s talk about the crisis. Or not, if you ask the White House press office.
Now when you have an unprecedented number of migrants - many of them children and many of them COVID-19 positive in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic - flooding across the border, most people would rightly call that a crisis. When said children are forced into cages in overcrowded holding facilities by overmatched border agents, that too qualifies as a crisis.
The whole mess on the border is, by any objective definition, a crisis. But for reasons unknown to me and the rest of the pundit class, Biden has decided to adopt the line that the situation is, in fact, not a crisis.
It’s been sadly hilarious watching the incompetent Jen Psaki bend over backwards to rationalize this bizarre party line the White House has adopted. It’s been downright astounding to watch progressives, congressional Democrats, and the media grow increasingly frustrated with Biden for steadily refusing to call this what it is.
Again, this should have been an easy messaging win for the president from the start. After all, it’s not like the border is the only crisis we’re dealing with. Any comms staffer worth their meager salary should have told Biden to say that, as president, he would address the crises of COVID, the border, the rise of China, etc. and tackle them head-on or something to that effect.
Biden could have spoken ad nauseum during his first days in office about fixing the numerous crises facing the country. Hell, he could even have used his victory with the recent stimulus package as a springboard to say “and now I’m going to go fix the crisis at the border.” Saying “we’re dealing with the crises of COVID, the recession, and that very unfortunate situation on the border” doesn’t flow off the tongue quite as well. First-term presidents are all about uplifting speeches on facing challenges, especially during the first few months. That’s how you get the good soundbites for your reelection campaign.
Biden apparently isn’t even smart enough for that.
You have to be dumb, or my name isn’t Craig Shirley, to get both parties and the press mad at you for denying objective reality. If my house were burning down, it would be like me saying the building wasn’t on fire.
Joe Biden is the leader of the free world and I’m a writer of books, so far be it from me to tell him how to run his administration (if he’s running it at all, but that’s a subject for another column). But if dumb decision-making skills like this are what we have to look forward to, then my Lord we have a long four years ahead of us.
Craig Shirley is the author of four bestselling books Ronald Reagan's campaigns, including "Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980," out March 21, 2017. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, "December 1941," and is the president of Shirley & McVicker Public Affairs.