So far so good, I suppose. But wake me when more than one person asks questions at a time — and when Jill Biden isn’t acting as Joe’s wingman. Politico took a lot of heat over this suck-up tweet, especially in a ten-week period where the new president has yet to hold an actual press conference:
Two and a half months in, President Biden has surprised some of his former colleagues and allies with a largely gaffe-free White House debut after a lifetime of verbal stumbles. https://t.co/Iz4Pr1kEd9 pic.twitter.com/06G1mKs1JF
— POLITICO (@politico) March 15, 2021
My prediction: This will not age well. It shouldn’t even age at all, at least not among the White House press corps, who might be wondering when Biden’s absence from the Briefing Room will finally get some notice from their colleagues in the media. There has been a curious lack of pressure from media outlets over access to Biden, even more so from media outlets that adopted slogans like “Democracy dies in darkness” during the previous administration.
And what exactly does “largely gaffe-free” mean, anyway — especially in just a ten-week period? Is that anything like praising a spouse for being “frequently faithful”? Via Twitchy, here’s a taste of what it actually means:
— TheRightWingM 🇺🇸 (@TheRightWingM) March 16, 2021
To be fair, Politico’s actual write-up is a bit better than its tweet, but not by much. After watching the clip above, try not to giggle at this first line:
JOE BIDEN, disciplined messenger?
Two and a half months in, that’s undoubtedly the case. The president so far has surprised some of his former colleagues and allies with a largely gaffe-free White House debut after a lifetime of verbal stumbles.
We’re about to find out if it will last.
Biden’s forays into less-controlled settings to sell his recovery package in the coming weeks will test whether he has indeed developed new discipline or if it’s just a pandemic-induced mirage. Biden is set to appear on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday — only his second sit-down television interview as president — and has pledged to hold his first White House press conference by the end of the month.
Politico’s writers seem to forget that we have already found out about Biden’s discipline. Remember his Super Bowl interview with Norah O’Donnell, when Biden appeared to lose the thread on a question about Iran? O’Donnell asked Biden if the US would lift sanctions first, to which Biden said “No.” When O’Donnell followed up by asking if Biden would insist that Iran stop enriching uranium before the US would lift sanctions, Biden nodded but curiously didn’t respond verbally. The next day, the White House spent part of its briefing by declaring presidential head-bobs inscrutable after Iran refused Biden’s demand.
“Largely gaffe-free,” eh? Let’s ask this: Has Biden done any more of these one-on-ones without Jill Biden since this happened?
Eventually, the White House will have to stop protecting Biden. When they do, the gaffes will return — but all of this insulation suggests that the White House is worried about more than gaffes. With the national media running this much interference and creating emperor narratives for the man without clothes like this, however, one has to wonder why they’re worried at all.