A senile phantasmagoria

Yesterday President Biden held a rare press conference to observe the first anniversary of his tenure in office. I assess Biden’s press conference yesterday the worst ever — the worst presidential press conference, that is. The White House has posted the transcript here. I have embedded the C-SPAN video below.

He went on for nearly two hours. The longer it went, the worse he got. He defamed Republicans. He defamed the United States. He is an embarrassment.

Biden rambled, blundered, lied, dissembled, and streamed his consciousness like Molly Bloom in the last chapter of Ulysses or Benjy Compson in the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury. He searched his notes for talking points. He lost his train of thought, such as it was. He put his senile phantasmagoria on display for all to see. Does he have more than 26 cards to deal from his deck? It was appalling.

What about school closures? Might that be a political problem for you?

Oh, I think it could be, but I hope to God that they’re — that — look, maybe I’m kidding myself, but as time goes on, the voter who is just trying to figure out, as I said, how to take care of their family, put three squares on the table, stay safe, able to pay their mortgage or their rent, et cetera, has — is becoming much more informed on the motives of some of the political players and some of the — and the political parties. And I think that they are not going to be as susceptible to believing some of the outlandish things that have been said and continue to be said.

You know, every — every president, not necessarily in the first 12 months, but every president in the first couple of years — almost every president, excuse me, of the last presidents — at least four of them — have had polling numbers that are 44 percent favorable.

So, it’s this idea that — but you all — not you all — but now it is, “Well, Biden is at — one poll showed him at 33 percent. The average is 44 — 44, 45 percent. One polled him at 49 percent.”

I mean, the idea that — the American public are trying to sift their way through what’s real and what’s fake. And I don’t think as — I’ve never seen a time when the political coverage — the choice of what political coverage a voter looks to has as much impact on as what they believe; they go to get reinforced in their views, whether it’s MSNBC or whether it’s Fox or whatever.

I mean — and one of the things I find fascinating that’s happening — and you all are dealing with it every day — and it will impact on how things move — is that a lot of the speculation in the polling data shows that the — that the cables are heading south; they’re losing viewership. You know?

Well, Fox is okay for a while, but it’s not gated. And a lot of the rest are predicted to be not very much in the mix in the next four to five years. I don’t know whether that’s true or not.

But I do know that we have sort of put everybody in — put themselves in certain alleys. And they’ve decided that, you know, how many people who watch MSNBC also watch Fox, other than a politician trying to find out what’s going on in both places? How many people —

Again, I’m no expert in any of this. But the fact is, I think you have to acknowledge that what gets covered now is necessarily a little bit different than what gets covered in the past.

I’ve had a couple — well, I shouldn’t get into this.

But the nature not — the nature of the way things get covered — and this is my observation over the years I’ve been involved in public life — changed. And it’s changed because of everything from a thing called the Internet. It’s changed because of the way in which we have self-identified perspectives based on what channel you turn on, what — what network you look at — not network, but what cable you look at. And it’s — it’s never quite been like that.


This was a classic for the ages: “And so, I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera.” It depends on the meaning of “minor.”

What about our own border? Nobody thought to ask. One reporter touched on the question this way: “I wonder if you’re planning on traveling also to South America and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, given the fact that China has gained a lot of influence in the region?” While Trump got the border under control, Biden blames Trump for the invasion that we have suffered over the past year:

[L]et me answer the first question.

I’ve spent a lot of time in South America and in Latin America. When I was Vice President, I spent the bulk of my eight years basically in Europe and/or in Latin America. I’m in contact with the leaders of the countries in South America, and we’re working closely with making sure that we do everything — for example, with the — to deal with helping the countries in question, particularly those in Central America, to be able to help them with their ability to deal with the inter- —

People don’t sit around in Guatemala and say, “I got a great idea: Let’s sell everything we have, give the money to a — to a coyote, take us across a terribly dangerous trip up through Central America and up through Mexico, and drop us — sneak us across the border, drop us in the desert. Won’t that be fun?”

People leave because they have real problems. And one of the things that I’ve done, when I was a Vice President, and got support with — although I don’t have much Republican support anymore — is provide billions of dollars to be able to say to those countries, “Why are people leaving? And how are you going to reform your own system?” And that’s what we’ve worked on a long time. It still needs a lot more work. And we’re focusing on that.

I also believe — I’ve spent a lot of time talking about and dealing with policy having to do with Maduro, who is little more than a dictator right now, and the same thing in Chile and Af- — not the same thing, but with Chile, as well as Argentina.

So, look, I made a speech a while ago, when I was Vice President, saying that if we were smart, we have an opportunity to make the Western Hemisphere a united — not united — a democratic hemisphere. And we were moving in the right direction under our — under the last administration — the Obama-Biden administration.

But so much damage was done as a consequence of the foreign policy decisions the last president made in Latin America, Central America, and South America that we now have — when I call for a summit of the democracies — I called that, and a number of nations showed up for this Summit of Democracy — what is it that’s going to allow us to generate — we’ve actually had a reduction in the number of democracies in the world. And it seems to me there’s nothing more important.

We used to talk about, when I was a kid in college, about “America’s backyard.” It’s not America’s backyard. Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard. And we’re equal people. We don’t dictate what happens in any other part of that — of this continent or the South American continent. We have to work very hard on it.

But the trouble is: We’re having great difficulty making up for the mistakes that were made the last four years, and it’s going to take some time.

Translation: We are screwed.

RCP’s Philip Wegmann was the subject of one of Biden’s hissy fits, but has a good straight news account of the press conference here.

Quotable quote: “Can you think of any other President that has done as much in one year? Name one for me.”

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.