Joe Biden is no Ronald Reagan. It’s not even close. The difference in effectiveness between the two presidents is staggering. But Biden’s powerful proclamation in Poland last month that “for God’s sake, this man (Vladimir Putin) cannot remain in power!” was positively Reaganesque.
His voice, ringing with righteous indignation, blasted the Russian leader for using antiquated methods of brute force to seize absolute power and control, and in no uncertain terms warned Putin not to even think about moving on one square inch of NATO territory.
Biden’s knee-jerk advisers and various political opportunists were quick to pounce. Biden’s staff fecklessly explained away the comment, purporting that the president wasn’t calling for regime change in Russia, but rather meant that Putin can’t be allowed to exert power over Ukraine and other non-Russian nations. Yeah, right, and telling someone to go jump in a lake means you’re wishing that person a nice, refreshing swim.
Republican Senator Jim Risch (IN) called Biden’s comment a “horrendous gaffe.” Something tells me he wouldn’t have uttered a peep had a fellow Republican said it.
To his credit, the president doubled down and refused to backpedal. He confirmed that he absolutely meant what he said, describing it as an expression of moral outrage. As well he should have.
Let’s not forget, while the overrated Nixonian-Kissingerian foreign policy wonks fancied themselves grandmasters on the world stage and tried to finesse their way to détente, and the spineless Democrats begged for a nuclear freeze, Reagan saw the world as black and white. Reagan stated, simply and firmly: we are good, and the Soviet Union is an “evil empire.” But Reagan had an infinitely better supporting cast than Biden has; they didn’t try to walk back his bold words.
Reagan’s vice president was George H.W. Bush, who in retrospect was a rather good president in his own right, even if perpetually overshadowed by his legendary immediate predecessor. Heading the State Department was George Shultz, whom the think tank snobs dismissed as a simpleton, but who ultimately turned out to be more effective than, say, the hyped-up Deans, Acheson and Rusk, and the aforementioned Kissinger.
Reagan was also a monumentally better speaker than Biden. The oldest sitting president at the time, and despite having survived a serious gunshot wound and seven years doing arguably the world’s most stressful job, Reagan was a young 76 when he compelled Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” (the Berlin Wall, from which he delivered that famous speech in 1987).
Biden, in stark contrast, is a very old 79. He slurs his words routinely, much like a guy at the bar on his fifth drink. He stammers. He closes his eyes in momentary confusion to try and remember what he wants to say and/or to phrase it properly. That makes Biden old, but not senile.
Nonetheless, if there was still a Berlin Wall standing, it wouldn’t surprise me if Biden called on Putin to “wall down this tear!” Such blunders tend to weaken the overall message’s thrust, but not by all that much.
Perhaps the stakes are too high for Biden to be at the helm, but he’s who we’ve got and he’s right on this issue. I can’t say I fully understand or support former President Trump’s strategy vis-à-vis Putin. I do think it’s ludicrous to suggest that Trump was on Putin’s side. Trump was more of a pragmatist, as opposed to Reagan’s and Biden’s “this cannot stand” absolutism.
When Trump was reminded that Russia spies on us, he very aptly replied: “well, we spy on them too.” That wasn’t anti-American, it was real. What many fail to realize is that in Trump, we have a serial exaggerator who openly professed that he will lie when he thinks it’s prudent, but who has also told us more truths than other presidents dared say aloud.
Trump’s the guy who’ll lie to you that he didn’t steal from you when he did, but he’ll also be the one to give you the blunt but useful tip that your outfit is three sizes too small and looks ridiculous on you, whereas the others in the room, who’d never steal from you in the first place, shower you with phony compliments that your outfit looks great.
But enough about Trump; he’s not the president either. Right now we’ve got a cold warrior in place with moral clarity.
The last president to have such a steely, unwavering focus on right and wrong was George W. Bush – a self-declared compassionate conservative who was also markedly more passionate than his more complex contemplating father. But the country stood together after 9/11, giving the younger Bush a long honeymoon of almost unconditional support.
Unfortunately, we have devolved into a nation of haters, firmly planted in one camp or the other, fighting over everything from presidential politics to double booster shots to gender-neutral pronouns. Consequently, Biden’s not going to enjoy widespread support. Granted, the collective deranged lunacy exhibited by pathological Trump haters was worse, but the bottom line is, Biden should have more backing at the dawn of a new Cold War – which is where we are, though many are afraid to admit it out loud – especially when he gets something right.
Oh, and making good, strong picks to fill his Cabinet – and while we’re at it, judicial vacancies – rather than politically overcorrect picks to somewhat mollify the wacko woke contingent, would be an excellent place to start. We need outstanding professionals, not newbies playing ‘house’.
There’s plenty to criticize Biden about, but not his stand on Putin.
And let’s pray Biden stays healthy; I shudder to think how things would be with Kamala Harris in charge.