President Biden's Long List of Self-Inflicted Wounds to His Legacy and to the American People


Wesley Smith

June 29

6 min read

Public Policy



With President Biden, the hits just keep on coming.  But it is not the hits that one ever wants.  Rather, it is the self-inflicted punches to his political legacy—and more regrettably to the safety and well-being of the American people.  It is like he cannot control himself in damaging his credibility and making choices that literally work to the detriment of millions of people, both at home and abroad.  He has a gift, rather a penchant, for making bad choices with an apparent lack of self-awareness. His former boss, Barack Obama, was quite correct when he opined that one should never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to mess things up. 

Any rational, patriotic American wants any President to succeed in fulfilling his oath and taking care of the country—even if they did not vote for him. This is not meant to be a cheap shot at Joe Biden.  Most of us have had quite enough of the ugly rhetoric and petty attacks so prevalent on social media and in society at large.  If our leader, the leader of the free world, fails, it has huge unwanted ramifications for virtually everyone.  We cannot afford for an American President to stumble on important matters, become an embarrassment on the international stage, or continue to make poor choices—the serious ramifications of which are obvious to most everyone, except the President.

The President appears as a bystander to most of the serious challenges faced by the people he pledged to serve.  Most of the time he is in reaction mode as opposed to being proactive.  Often, he comes off as a follower rather than a leader.  The lack of critical thinking and self-critique is troubling.  Let me be clear:  this is not an attack on his intellectual capacity.  Rather it is a disturbing assessment of his leadership skills and his inability to unify and inspire, doing things that are of benefit to the whole nation.  It seems he simply cannot pull it off—or simply won’t. He lacks acumen, which the dictionary defines as the ability to make good judgements and quick decisions in a specific domain.

His missteps began on his first day in office.  On that day the first shots in the war on energy were fired from the Oval Office when he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and put restrictions on oil exploration and production on federal lands.  Subsequent energy policies exacerbated the problems.  So today we have the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history and inflation is the highest in over 40 years.  The cost of fuel in transportation is literally passed on to every product purchased by Americans.

The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that torpedoed U.S. credibility with our friends and emboldened our enemies—costing the lives of 13 young Americans—was only one in a series of issues mishandled by this Administration.  In his memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

This is evident in Biden’s opposition to the Gulf War in 1991 that united the world against a tyrant, and then again with his support of the Iraq War in 2003—which he later regretted.  He criticized George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq in 2007, even though it led to a dramatic decrease in civilian and military deaths and led to the defeat of the counterinsurgency there. 

The Biden White House is still in talks with Iran about renewing the Iran nuclear deal and lifting sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism—even though Iran is on the verge now of acquiring a nuclear weapon. In 2011, Biden said, “the Taliban per se is not our enemy.” Former President Obama, in his book A Promised Land, said Biden advised Obama to take more time and rethink his decision to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The list of missteps, mistakes, and poor choices of words could go on and on.

President Biden, in reversing his predecessor’s border policies carte blanche, has created the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border. Millions of people have illegally entered the country, with more to follow.  Untold thousands of girls and young women fall prey to sexual trafficking, hundreds die in their journey to our border, over 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year in drugs brought through our porous border, and the cartels have operational control of the U.S. border.  The President has never even visited the southern border.  His Vice President did a photo-op there once, and the White House Press Secretary said this week the border is “closed.” 

Perception is nine-tenths of reality for most people.  Whether or not every challenge facing us today is Biden’s fault, the people expect him to address the issues and take responsibility for fixing it.  He appears incapable of doing so, and one must wonder why his senior advisors are not steering him in a different direction.  For example, regarding fuel prices and the high cost of food, Biden said, “There’s a lot going on right now; but the idea we’re going to be able to click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline, is not likely in the near term.  Nor is it with regard to food.”  It didn’t start with a switch.  It started, Mr. President, with your pen as you sat at your desk.

We need a leader who will take responsibility even if “it’s not his fault.”  We need a strategic thinker who understands the long-term consequences of policy decisions.  We do not need presidential anger directed at corporations, the GOP, or the Supreme Court; we need presidential resolve and moral courage. We need humility and honesty.

Perhaps Biden’s chief weakness is that he was unprepared to be President.  As a career politician with 40 years in D.C., he was never required to lead anything more than a congressional committee.  Rather than surround himself with seasoned leaders, he is advised mainly by younger staffers who have lots of theories but not much real-world experience.  He has also pledged his allegiance to the radical Left of his own party, even though they are out of touch with the average American.

The cliché is true:  It is what it is.  We pray for our President.  We pray for America and all her people.  May God guide and protect the United States of America through the days ahead.  Elections do indeed have consequences.  We have another round of elections in November.