by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
That the Biden administration should be incoherent is the least surprising development so far of 2021 — Joe Biden himself is generally incoherent on a personal level. Biden’s incoherence is not (contra the popular right-wing talking point) mainly the result of his advanced age or the state of his mental acuity — he has been a little bit dim and a little bit all over the place for the entirety of his very, very long career in public office, since he was a young man, because he is a creature of pure self-serving opportunism without a moral center or real principles.
It would be easy to call him a weathervane, but a weathervane is anchored on something and centered. President Biden is more like that plastic bag blowing around in American Beauty — empty, lightweight, subject to the moment’s prevailing wind.
Because of this debility, President Biden cannot manage a “team of rivals” the way more serious figures such as Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt did in their respective times. This is a particularly troublesome shortcoming in a president for whom FDR and his administration are the guiding lights, even if the guidance derived from that quarter is almost exclusively a matter of rhetoric and nostalgia. …
… The Biden administration also is home to quiet rivalries between its moderate-pragmatist elements (Janet Yellen, Lloyd Austin), its hardcore left-wingers (Xavier Becerra), its amoral power-seekers (Kamala Harris, in the West Wing, with the icepick), and its workaday crackpots (Deb Haaland et al.). But the Biden administration does not have Franklin Roosevelt at the head of it — it has the bad luck to be headed by Joe Biden, who apparently believes that … he can be the Ronald Reagan of a new Cold War with China while playing Woodrow Wilson’s role in a new League of Nations. At home, he presents himself simultaneously as the sensible pragmatist and . . . Santa Claus.