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President Biden’s weakness dulls America’s strength

David C. Innes | A weak government is a government that betrays God’s calling


Associated Press/Photo by Patrick Semansky

President Biden’s weakness dulls America’s strength
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In his first address to the nation after the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members in Kabul by suicide bombing, President Biden expressed the nation’s griefthen he slumped over his podium in silence. He looked like a president immobilized by events. His theatrics were excessive. It was not what we or our enemies needed to see. He seemed broken by it, tired, and undone.

But this was more than an optics problem or failed judgment in political self-presentation following a national tragedy. Biden has projected weakness for the past year, from his campaign from the safety of his basement to his indifference toward enforcing our southern border. The Kabul debacle simply dispelled all reasonable doubt. A mid-September Quinnipiac poll showed public disapproval of him as Commander in Chief at 55-40 and of the way he ended our presence in Afghanistan at 65-31.

More recently, the president has been outplayed by the left wing of his party, showing his political weakness. A weak president is a bad president. We elect presidents to do something vitally important, so weakness on the job exposes the nation to real danger.

Alexander Hamilton explained this clearly in Federalist Papers No. 70: “A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.”

The Bible teaches that when God gives us the blessing of government (Romans 13:4), it is—or ought to be—not only righteous but strong. He endows it with “the sword,” suggesting a very real power and authority. An effective government must instill confidence in the public—even at times exercising its authority in a way that is firm, fearsome, decisive—especially in the eyes of our enemies.

Weakness in government is a betrayal of God’s calling and thus a source of evil. Government, to be good, must be both safe and effective.

The way President Biden withdrew our forces from Afghanistan has endangered the country because it signaled weakness to the world—to friends, rivals, and enemies alike. Our retreat from Afghanistan presented the appearance of fleeing with our national tail between our legs, pillaged and overrun by a motley crew of taunting medieval maniacs, pleading their mercy for the safe evacuation of our people.

To compensate for this impression of weakness and incompetence and to remedy the political crisis it presented for the White House, the president gave a tough-talk speech and announced a drone strike on ISIS-K operatives (who turned out to be an aid worker and his small children delivering water). Yet, in this final speech on Afghanistan, Biden strangely shouted. He was likely told that he needed to sound firm, to communicate resolve and toughness. But it was too late for that. At home and abroad, people had taken his measure. And it was bad acting, besides.

The tough-guy act was an attempt to overcompensate for previous weakness. More recently, the nation has seen President Biden pivot to his domestic COVID war, where he can try out the part of the great American hero-president, bringing firm and decisive leadership. His “six-point plan” speech on the pandemic was yet another “No more Mr. Nice Guy” signal. But his speech turned Americans against each other, rather than against the virus.

God establishes government to do the dangerous and important job of securing people in their liberty to serve him in godliness. Executive authority must enforce the law at home—equally, forcefully, and prudently—and deter threats from abroad. This requires strength both in speech and deed; it requires credible threat and faithful execution.

As for the president and his pivot, well, weakness has a way of pivoting back on you.


David C. Innes

David C. Innes is professor of politics in the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program at The King’s College in New York City. He is author of Christ and the Kingdoms of Men: Foundations of Political Life, The Christian Citizen: Faith Engaging Political Life, and Francis Bacon. He is also an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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RSHA8046

I disagree with your commentary. Biden is not weak; conservatives are just overly critical of him. He is not perfect and nor was anyone else that held the office of the president. My challenage to conservatives is to hold Biden to the same standard you did Trump. Trump messed up early and often, but I don't remember seeing enough fuss about his lack of leadership abilities. I just find the conservatives criticism of Biden to be so two-faced given the silence around Trump. There wasn't nearly enough criticism of him. And, Trump did far more damage to our world-leader role than Biden.

DWALTON1961

Very true the distinction between a podium and a lectern....thank you!
I do believe you are referencing a different time of speaking in noting President Biden asking for a moment of silence though, Meg. I believe Mr. Innes is referencing the time of President Biden's initial comments after the killing of 13 members of the military during the withdrawal from Afghanistan. During this nearly 30 minute comment/question time, as Mr. Biden was being questioned by a Fox News reporter, he did become visibly frustrated and did slump over the lectern and show signs of inadequacy in answering the question of his accountability and the handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. These were two distinct times of the President addressing the situation.

MWHE1179DWALTON1961

Perhaps it is true that I am referencing a different speech by the president, and if so, I stand corrected and apologize to Mr. Innes. However, I accessed the speech that I am referring to by clicking on the link in Mr. Innes' article where it referred to President Biden's "first address to the nation after the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members". The presidential address I was directed to by the link had only a moment of silence in it. I watched the whole thing in an effort to see if what Mr. Innes wrote was accurate. Perhaps that link should be corrected to direct readers to the appropriate presidential address to avoid further confusion. Thank you very much.

fearlessandtrue

Speakers stand on podiums; they speak behind and can slump in a demonstration of their incompetence on lecterns.

MWHE1179

I have to say that I am very disappointed in this opinion column. I do not agree with how our President brought us out of Afghanistan. And I agree with you that the way he did so made us look weak, like we were running away. But, for you to repeat the claim that Biden "slumped over his podium in silence" as though he were "immobilized by events" when he had actually just asked everyone in the room to join him in a moment of silence out of respect for the dead is clearly dishonest reporting on your part. If you are going to hold our president to biblical standards, you absolutely ought to hold yourself to them as well. The truth is always all-sufficient for an honest opinion. I hope you will hold to it from now on, and not repeat inaccurate characterizations just to make your point sound more convincing.
Respectfully yours,
Meg Wheeler

Steve SMWHE1179

Here's the link: https://www.c-span.org/video/?514304-1/president-biden-terrorists-we-hunt-make-pay
Minute 8:57 supports what Meg is saying. Thank you Meg, for pointing this out.

BURNINGHEART

The vaccine mandates are another sign of weakness. They are not actually legal government mandates but only words in a press conference. Even though there are Republican governors, and many others, opposed it seems there is nothing "legal" to challenge in a court. So all of them are just words at a press conference = weak words.

LROB4976

I doubt Trump would have done any better. Both men have mental problems. We as a nation have gotten what we deserve as leaders.
Unless we repent and turn to God things will continue to get worse.
There is ample Scripture telling us not to look to man but to God. As a nation we have failed.