Opinion

KOLB: Joe Biden’s Continuing Bad Judgment

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Charles Kolb Deputy Assistant to George H.W. Bush
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Perhaps my 24-year-old daughter should run for president. Unfortunately, given the U.S. Constitution’s mandatory age requirements, she (and we) must wait another 11 years before she can stand before us and take the presidential oath of office.

President Joe Biden is more than three times her age but seems to have, at best, about one third her common sense. Last month, for example, he told Americans that neither he nor anyone else on his team anticipated the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Vice President Kamala Harris further informed us that no one in the administration foresaw either the Delta variant or the Omicron variant.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but we pay our leaders to have foresight, to anticipate, to plan for worst-case scenarios rather than to wait, reactively, for the next crisis to arrive.

My daughter, who is now two years out of UVA with a double-major in English and economics, lives in Manhattan and works as a health care equity analyst for a large U.S. bank. Last July, after having received two Pfizer vaccinations, she experienced a “break-through” COVID infection.

Fortunately, her symptoms were mild, resembling a modestly annoying cold. She quarantined, worked at home, and ordered online several at-home COVID testing kits. Just in case.

After Omicron arrived, starting the week before Christmas, she began testing herself almost daily – four times in a row, in fact. Most of her network of New York friends were testing positive for the new variant, and she was concerned about being around her 93-year-old grandfather and other family members at Christmas. Fortunately, all of her tests were negative. The point here is that she was prepared.

Now we find the Biden administration, once again, flat-footed with shifting, confusing pandemic messages. Why did they not see Delta and other mutations coming? That’s what viruses do: they mutate.

Belatedly ordering 500 million virus test kits is fine, but with over 330 million Americans, that’s not even two swabs per person. That approach is like pumping three days’ worth of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to lower oil prices. Too little, too late.

We’re now learning on the home front what former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said about Joe Biden on the international front: he’s been wrong on every major foreign-policy issue for four decades. (Gates served as Defense Secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama). Why should Biden’s domestic policy judgments be any different?

Poor judgment, especially for a president pushing 80, is a trait unlikely to change. For the nation, however, the consequences are massively challenging.

Let’s review the bidding.

After Kamala Harris branded Biden a racist during the first 2020 presidential debate, Biden nonetheless embraced progressive identity politics and selected her as his running mate. Was she carefully vetted? Unlikely: her poor office-management and political skills have been noted in every position she’s held.

Biden then tapped democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders to craft a possible domestic agenda.

On his first day as president, Biden launched his assault on America’s energy infrastructure by ditching the Keystone pipeline project. In under twelve months, we’ve gone from energy independence (which also included net exports of natural gas) to begging OPEC and Russia to pump more oil.

Biden’s relentless assault on U.S. fossil fuels continues, even though we’re still years away from having sufficient alternative energy sources.

Biden’s immigration policies have failed to halt a tsunami of illegal immigrants pouring into the country – a situation that is further driving the country’s Hispanic population into the GOP’s welcoming arms.

Biden’s COVID messaging and policies have been uneven and, possibly, counterproductive. The jury is still out as to the efficacy and legality of Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies with 100-plus employees. Under Biden’s proposed approach, millions of Americans must choose between jobs and jabs, at a time when millions of jobs remain unfilled. Fortunately, the Supreme Court will settle the matter in a few weeks.

Biden has pursued recklessly expansionary fiscal policies. When coupled with self-induced energy shortages and the Federal Reserve’s equally reckless monetary policies (continued quantitative easing plus zero interest rates), Biden’s policies demonstrate that today’s inflation is anything but transitory.

Biden’s Comptroller of the Currency nominee refused to disclose her thesis written while studying at Moscow State University. She withdrew her nomination. What was she hiding?

If Biden continues to embrace a far-left progressive agenda, 2022 will be as bad as 2021. At least Bob Gates warned us what to expect.

Charles Kolb served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy from 1990-1992 in the George H.W. Bush White House