By Frank Miele
Have you heard about Joe Biden’s historic presidency? Or about the historic accomplishments of Joe Biden’s first term?
I have. Repeatedly. Of course, I force myself to watch “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Jake Tapper on CNN, and Jonathan Karl on ABC, so I’m well-informed about the thinking of left-wing elites and their game plan for keeping Donald Trump out of office. Apparently, part of the plan is to convince the American public that Joe Biden has been a great president, mostly when you weren’t looking.
In a sense, this is the political equivalent of the recent cleanup of San Francisco by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to make the dangerous and dirty city look better for the arrival of the Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping. I’m not sure who Newsom thought he was fooling. The residents surely know that the city is an open sewer, and a two-week makeover wasn’t going to change that. Xi Jinping himself was also not fooled. He probably reads the papers or has someone else read them for him, and he probably got a chuckle out of the governor’s groveling.
But Newsom apparently didn’t care that he was fooling no one. It’s politics, after all. No one has any expectation that there is any honesty or legitimacy to anything a politician does. They simply do what is convenient and then deny having done it if it turns out wrong.
In a sense, Newsom turned San Francisco into a real-life Potemkin city. According to Britannica, a Potemkin village, in its original meaning, referred to “any of a number of fake villages designed [by her lover Grigory Potemkin] to impress the Russian empress Catherine the Great.”
Legend has it that Potemkin arranged for fake pasteboard villages – complete with waving, happy peasants who had been moved in from central Russia, herds of farm animals, and fireworks – to be set up along the river. As Catherine’s boat arrived she was greeted by throngs of grateful subjects; when her boat had passed, the “towns” were quickly dismantled and moved, along with the livestock and throngs of peasants, to a location farther downriver to await her sailing by.
Historians now think that Potemkin never really pulled off this stunt, probably because he worried that Catherine would get wise. Nonetheless, the term has come to be used to describe an elaborate façade that is intended to mislead people into believing a fantasy instead of harsh reality.
So, back to Biden.
Vox magazine in April said that Biden’s presidency had “an exceptionally productive first few years.” The Atlantic magazine likewise declared the first two years of Biden’s presidency as “among the most productive of any president in the past half century.” Jonathan Lemire of Politico said on “Morning Joe” that “Joe Biden’s first years in office were extraordinarily successful.”
Those glowing media assessments, and many more like them, are the foundation of the Potemkin presidency of Joe Biden. I read them eagerly to find out just why Biden is supposed to be such a great leader, and I have come up with the following list:
– Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which included massive spending for COVID-19 relief, just when the COVID pandemic was ending.
– Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included massive spending, perhaps as much as $1 trillion, for so-called clean energy and health care, on the premise that pouring more money into the economy will somehow magically reduce inflation.
– Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $1.2 trillion in spending for so-called infrastructure, but which turned out to be funding not so much for roads and bridges but for left-wing agenda items like green energy and climate change.
If these really are accomplishments, the credit should go to Congress, not Biden, but they aren’t accomplishments at all. Not for everyday people. These bills all had the same ultimate purpose: spending money to benefit Democratic donors, not Democrat voters, and certainly not the vast range of the American citizenry. So far, the Biden administration has increased the national debt by approximately $5 trillion, with no end in sight, thus fueling an inflationary spiral that has taken its toll on the rest of us.
Not convinced of Biden’s success yet? Vox points out that among Biden’s other accomplishments, “he’s used executive action in an attempt to cancel student debt, pardoned thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession, and appointed a new wave of judges at a rapid pace.” Notice that the Supreme Court rejected his unconstitutional executive order on student debt (although he’s trying again), and only the most rabid supporters of drug abuse would consider his pardon of a few thousand drug users to be a major accomplishment. Gotta give him credit for the judicial appointments, but let’s remember that those judges never would have been approved without the help of Republican senators, so maybe it’s their turncoat accomplishment, not his.
And let’s not forget Biden’s masterful exit from Afghanistan. But Joe is the only one who thinks it was masterful. Because of his incompetence, 13 U.S. service members lost their lives, the Chinese gained a world-class air force base at Bagram, and the Afghans became the owners of $87 billion worth of the world’s best munitions – ours.
But perhaps the most illusory accomplishment of the Biden presidency is “securing the border.” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeated that claim for three years now, despite the fact that our lying eyes have watched hours of video of illegal immigrants crossing the border and being flown or bused to cities across the country. According to the New York Post in September, “a jaw-dropping 3.8 million people have entered the United States through its borders since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.”
Unbelievably, Biden was getting away with this scam of a “secure border” until hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants started congregating in Democrat-run cities, which house them for free in hotels, provide food and health care, and generally treat them like welcome visitors instead of lawbreakers.
Yet despite all this, the national media is selling the idea that Biden is the best president since Reagan. Then why is he trailing Donald Trump by approximately 2 points in the RealClearPolitics Average of polls for the November 2024 general election? Why is Biden’s approval rating hovering around 40% despite the Potemkin presidency being sold to the American public?