Every president wields a certain level of power. Irrespective of their party affiliation, their background, their training or their political ideologies, these elite individuals will always have bestowed upon them a unique ability — and even understanding — that with the office comes a level of power they can use to advance a good greater than themselves.
I’m not referring to authority, defined here as the duties, roles and tools of the office holder by sheer virtue of the office itself. That is clearly delineated by Article 2 of the Constitution, federal laws and other statutory instruments that set out those duties reserved only for the commander in chief.
No, I’m talking about raw power — the unspoken influence that every holder of the highest office in the world possesses. An undefined yet potent and palpable sense to steer the body politic as he discerns.
What that individual chooses to do with power is the X factor that makes a good president great, or even a bad president good.
Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan … These presidents, and many more, knew the intrinsic value of the power that came with the office, and they used it to change the course of history.
So what can be said of today?
Joe Biden stands at a pivotal moment in his presidency. One in which the initiatives he’s decided to pursue — or not — will shape how history writes his chapter in liberty’s great narrative.
I’m not convinced he is up to the task, largely because he has used the power of his presidency to advance causes and programs that present a position of weakness instead of strength, of regression instead of advancement, for our great republic.
Biden’s State of the Union address punctuated what I had quietly lamented for months.
Aside from the fact that it was a classic nod to special interests that have crowded the smoky halls of Democratic circles for decades, Biden’s remarks failed to signal any show of force and dominance that America’s interests will always be the lens by which he makes his decisions.
Nowhere is this failure and weakness more prevalent than his remarks on China. A communist, totalitarian regime that is hell-bent on destroying any competitor is caught red-handed spying over American soil. Biden’s response? Tepid, underwhelming, modest — bare minimum. His remarks before millions of Americans on the one stage where his power should have been on full display were even more forgettable: past tense pabulum about how threats to America will be dealt with. I’m sure that sent chills through the spines of the Chinese politburo.
Other global leaders sense this weakness and have stepped into the vacuum that was left.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move this week to suspend the country’s obligations under the new START nuclear missile agreement signal he fears no American repercussions for his actions. Even if he’s losing in Ukraine and his citizens are disillusioned, he is clearly moving into a position of strength — likely the last of only a few diplomatic moves he has remaining. Has Biden sensed this geopolitical flank left exposed by Putin and led? I don’t think so.
The southern border is another example of Biden’s weakness as president. Suspend for a moment the argument around any workable solution, the simple fact is it took nearly two years into his presidency for Biden to even travel to Texas and address the issue head-on. Presidents with power seize moments such as these. They lead even if it costs them politically, and they drive various factions toward a solution. What did Biden do? What only weak presidents can muster: He sent Vice President Kamala Harris.
History is littered with the debris of presidents who dispatched their second in command to tackle tough issues they themselves had no idea how to address.
Bear in mind Biden’s presidential impotence is not the result of one signature failure but rather the accumulation of missteps, misreads and sheer misjudgment that lead many poll watchers to simply shake their heads in dismay: The toxic train spill in Ohio, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s slow and incomplete response; the gushing of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl across our borders, and Biden’s empty pledges to win the drug war; crippling inflation; entitlement spending and $30 trillion-plus in American debt.
The list sadly goes on.
These are the times that try men’s souls. And these are the times that demand strength and a convincing sense of what needs to be done. I wish Joe Biden could stand in the gap for the sake of all Americans. But right now, I’m not even sure he can stand and address any one of these issues head-on.
And that may be the greatest display of weakness history has known. I pray that I am wrong on this account.