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Tags: presidency | democrats | republicans

The Curious Case of the Vacant Presidency

The Curious Case of the Vacant Presidency
President Joe Biden seated in the Oval Office. (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 April 2021 10:22 AM EDT

Thirteen months ago, Joe Biden's campaign was on life support and he could not fill a telephone booth in either Iowa or New Hampshire. It was only through the power of a Democratic Party Machine terrified of nominating Bernie Sanders that Joe Biden swept through South Carolina and dominated Super Tuesday.

Aided by the pandemic, candidate Biden descended into his basement only to be heard from again in tightly controlled circumstances. The entire Democratic campaign of 2020 was predicated on Biden being the anti-Trump candidate.

Democratic operatives decided that vacuous, focus group-driven displays of "empathy" and "decency" would win the day. It worked in that President Trump was removed from office, but the 45th president was replaced by mere air.

A functionally vacant presidency presents problems for the president's party, challenges for Republicans, confusion abroad and danger for the world.

The country has had infirmed and aged presidents in the past, but those presidents had a clear vision of where they wanted to take the country and a team of close advisers, Cabinet members and appointees who were committed to the president's vision. The 46th president, who ran on nothing, has had his administration filled with people who were selected solely because they represent various factions within the Democrat Party.

Abroad, this means a foreign policy that a friend of mine has described as "bipolar" and "schizophrenic." Without direction and a coherent foreign policy blueprint we have a White House capable only of convulsion.

Recently, The Department of Defense authorized the deployment of two warships to the Black Sea as a response to the unfolding crisis in Ukraine only to have those orders rapidly rescinded with no concurrent change in the situation. Ordinarily, the U.S. response to this situation would have been planned with all contingencies considered so that a steady resolve would be conveyed to friend and foe alike.

The abrupt pivot to a sanctions-based approach was a reaction to executive branch infighting rather than coordinated strategy.

The administration's approach to Iran is equally confusing. The relaxation of some sanctions while vaguely expressing a desire to negotiate is causing head scratching and uncertainty in Tehran, Jerusalem and Riyadh.

North Korea is likewise getting the non-message message and is resuming missile testing.

The recent humiliation of the administration by China in Anchorage and John Kerry's outsized influence and exclusive focus on environmental issues has communicated that there is no understandable U.S. policy in Asia.

In the U.N., we have Linda Thomas-Greenfield focusing on racial issues in America rather than advocating for the administration's policy objectives. This incoherence is very dangerous and greatly increases the likelihood of a critical misjudgment by an American ally or adversary.

The administration's confusion on Afghanistan is likewise puzzling. Absent was any coordination between the Defense Department, State Department, allies in Congress and the White House Press Office. Poor Jen Psaki.

Confusion reigns in D.C. as well. Departments and agencies of the executive branch receive no policy direction from the White House The recent decision to reverse the Department of Homeland Security's limitation on the number of refugees changed only when Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez riled up the left.

Given the importance and heat of the immigration issue, a functioning incoming administration would have had an immigration policy ready for implementation on Day 1. Here, there was just bureaucratic status quo at DHS followed by an abrupt pivot when the political animal reared its head. After years of bashing Trump for "children in cages" the administration can't even manage the messaging leaving poor Jen Psaki to twist in the wind.

Republicans in Congress are also challenged by the consequences of a vacant presidency. Fretting over the president's high approval numbers, congressional Republicans are desperate to bring them down.

While it is true that current polling significantly oversamples Democrats, President Biden is widely perceived as an inoffensive gent who angers no one. He is politically unattackable, and this is driving Republican operatives crazy.

The good news for Republicans is that unlike in the past, the president's approval numbers won't matter next November. It is the behavior of Democrats in Congress that will determine the outcome of the midterms.

These aren't the Reagan, Clinton or Obama years where the president will be vigorously campaigning leveraging his vision, oratory and persona to drag candidates across the finish line.

Alas, we are, in fact, in a political "new normal" for the next few years. Political operatives of both parties will eventually figure out that the presidency is vacant and that the politics of the presidency have changed.

The danger to America and the world is how this vacuum is perceived abroad. Exploitation of this weakness by our adversaries or a feeling of being cornered and abandoned by our allies could result in any one of several tinder boxes around the world turning into a conflagration.

John Jordan, former Navy intelligence officer, pilot, attorney, international economist, overseer at Stanford's Hoover Institution and conservative political consultant. Jordan is a regular contributor for Fox News Channel, Newsmax, Sky News London and Sky News Australia. Read John Jordan's Reports More Here.

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A functionally vacant presidency presents problems for the president's party, challenges for Republicans, confusion abroad and danger for the world.
presidency, democrats, republicans
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 10:22 AM
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