The Underestimated President

I come to praise Joe Biden, not bury Donald Trump. He’s doing an excellent job of that himself. I couldn’t care less if he runs in 2024. He’s a loser: I counted the ways yesterday. In the immortal words of BB King:

Let’s get back to the Underestimated President.

Joe Biden isn’t a great speaker. He’s known for his gaffes and linguistic quirks. That’s not malarkey, that’s the truth.

At his core, Joe Biden is a fundamentally decent man who describes himself as a “fingertip politician.”

In the face of endless mockery by the smarty pants pundits, President Biden made democracy the closing theme of his slice of the midterm campaign. Democracy and freedom as exemplified by abortion rights and election denialism were on the ballot.

Joe Biden was right; the pundits were wrong. He presided over the most successful midterm election for a Democratic president since 1962. Biden is too modest to rank himself with the first Irish-Catholic president John F. Kennedy, but the proof is in the electoral pudding.

In both 1962 and 2022, no incumbent Democratic senator was defeated. There’s a runoff in Georgia but I’m confident that, without control of the Senate at stake, Senator Warnock will defeat the dumb, horny, and hypocritical jock. I know from personal experience, that there’s only so long that voters can wear a clothespin. It hurts like hell.

Underestimate President Biden at your own peril.

Pondering Biden’s political and legislative successes, made me think of a derisive quote by Winston Churchill about his successor as British Prime Minster: “Clement Atlee is a modest man with much to be modest about.”

History proved Churchill wrong. Clem Atlee’s Labour government accomplished big things, most notably the National Health Service. That was a BFD.

Despite his accomplishments, Atlee remained a modest man. That goes for Joe Biden as well. His modesty becomes him. It’s a relief after the relentless narcissism of his 2020 opponent. I guess I came to both praise Joe Biden *and* bury his predecessor.

I too wish that Joe Biden were 15 years younger but he’s the right president for our time. The Kaiser of Chaos built a cult of personality based on egotism in his time in the White House. Joe Biden has taken a step back and shared credit with others; something his predecessor is incapable of.

Franklin Foer nailed the Biden presidential style in an essay for The Atlantic:

Biden had his own strategy for tilting the culture war to his advantage—or at least neutralizing it so that it didn’t damage his party. He believed that he could “lower the temperature in the country.” After the turmoil of the Trump years, the nation needed a chance to breathe, even if it wasn’t ever going to find a state of happy coexistence. What it didn’t need was a president who tweeted about every ephemeral flash point.

 

Sometimes, Biden could sound like an old man waxing nostalgic for the bipartisan age of his youth. Sometimes, he seemed like a politician who simply didn’t have the oratorical skills, or energy, to command the nation’s attention. But his low-key presence was also intentional—and it worked.

Joe Biden is the anti-Trump. He does not need to be in the spotlight all the time. He understands that the country needs a break from politics. Hell, even I need a break from politics after the frenzy of the Trump era.

Unless you’re a pundit or the Impeached Insult Comedian, it’s too early to talk about the 2024 presidential election. Joe Biden understands that. Donald Trump never will.

Underestimate President Biden at your own peril.

There were many embarrassing pieces written before the election demanding that Biden not run for reelection because he was old and out of touch. He *is* old but not out of touch. He’s a steadying force in a turbulent time. It’s why he was elected in the first place.

Again, I wish Joe Biden were 15 years younger. I’m sure he does too. It’s up to him if he runs again but I would prefer that he does. The country can’t afford to take a chance on untested leadership with the forces of reaction and wingnut anarchy raging. They’re down but not out.

We live in a time of fast news cycles, hot takes, and instant analysis. Despite that, Joe Biden believes that slow and steady wins the race. That’s why he’s the Underestimated President.

Repeat after me: Underestimate President Biden at your own peril.

Joe Biden has always thought of himself as an underdog. Spoon gets the last word:

5 thoughts on “The Underestimated President

  1. I am long a fan of your writing, Sir, and admire the words that you know and use that I don’t. That being sed, it is my opinion that in your opening salvo you meant to say “I couldn’t care less”, not “I could care less”.
    Carry On

      1. Writing is a one-off, like a wooden boat. Pls don’t change on my account. It’s just that it’s like saying irregardless, except in eastern Michigan where they are wont to say ‘Hurongardless’.

  2. As I age (I am now 70) I appreciate calm wisdom. Speaking for me only, my race car driving way through my life accomplished much, but missed a lot.

    Thanks, Joe.

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