Roger Kimball

Joe Biden has become a global embarrassment

(Photo: Getty)

What time is it? A bit like the emperor Domitian, Joe Biden seems confused about the time. Warned by an omen that his death would come at midday, Domitian daily pestered people around him with that question, relaxing only after the dreaded hour had passed. 

Alas, his caution availed him not. One day in September 96 AD, a treacherous servant lied to Domitian about the time, inducing him to let down his guard. A knife-wielding steward did the rest. 

I am not sure that President Biden is still possessed of a guard he can drop. But if his recent performance in Hanoi is any indication, he does seem to be confused about the time of day.

‘Good evening, everyone. It is evening, isn’t it? This around the world in five days is interesting. Well, one of my staff members said, “Remember the famous song, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam?’ Well, good evening, Vietnam.”’

It was a feeble effort to make a joke, emphasis on ‘feeble.’ The president’s increasingly wary aides took the hint. They had been holding their collective breath as he rambled on. ‘Lying dog-faced pony solider,’ ‘John Wayne,’ ‘my brother,’ ‘climate change,’ ‘worse than nuclear war.’ 

‘We talked about stability,’ Biden slurred, ‘we talked about the Third World, excuse me, the Third World, the uh, uh the southern hemisphere has access to change…’ 

This wasn’t going well. You can’t talk about ‘the Third World’ in polite company anymore. Suddenly, Biden’s mic was cut and the dulcet tones of his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre intervened: ‘Thank you everybody. This ends the press conference. Thanks everyone.’ Unaware of what happened, Biden maundered on for a few seconds. Then, like Nietzsche’s Last Man, he gazed vacantly about him and blinked. Then he shuffled slowly off stage and disappeared behind the drapery.

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