Biden is the most engaged president of the last 13 years


Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist
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Is President Joe Biden a great president or an utter failure? With less than a week before the midterm elections, a CNN poll has his approval rating among likely voters at 42%. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found only 40% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance. But while his poll numbers are low and Democrats are now predicted to lose their House majority, Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues Biden’s record and performance as president are more complex. While he doesn’t necessarily agree with Biden’s economic policies, Zeihan believes Biden’s wisdom, government experience and degree of humility help make him the most engaged president of the last 13 years.

Excerpted from Peter’s Nov. 4 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The last modern American president we’ll be discussing in our leadership series is – you guessed it – Joe Biden.

Similar to Barack Obama, President Biden didn’t spend much time working a “real job” prior to entering the U.S. Senate…a few centuries ago. Throughout his ~plentiful~ time spent in government, he has learned his fair share, but hasn’t actually done much. Although his leadership style may lean more ideological than most presidents’, he can undoubtedly run a meeting better than many of his predecessors.

Given Biden’s understanding of how to utilize the tools of government and willingness to ask questions, we are seeing the most engaged president of the past 13 or so years. This doesn’t necessarily equate to great policy, but it is a promising sign of a return to industry-informed policy.

Hey everybody, Peter Zion here coming to you for one final video from Washington, DC got the white house behind me. So guess who we’re gonna talk about the guy who actually lives there. Now, Joe Biden. Now, commenting on a sitting president is always dangerous, because no matter what I say, I’m gonna piss everybody off. So let’s just get to it knowing that that is where this is going to go. In terms of previous experience, the only president that we have ever had that is kind of in the same league as Biden, for actually having a real grown up job is Brock Obama, sometime around the fall of Rome. Biden was a legal clerk for about a year and a half. And he hasn’t had a real job since he has been in the Senate since about the time of the Crusades. And so he’s seen a lot, but he hasn’t really done much of anything except for sit on meetings. Now, the negatives of this are obvious, he’s guided more by ideology than most presidents because he really doesn’t have a lot of real world experience. On the flip side, due to it knows how to run a meeting. And when you bring that attitude, that sort of, for lack of a better word, wisdom into a room, it means you realize that you’re not going to know everything. And so you’re okay with asking questions, you’re okay with showing your belly a little bit. And that means unlike Donald Trump, or Barack Obama, Biden is the most engaged president we’ve had in, you know, 1314 years, you can even make the argument that when it comes to shaping a policies even better than Clinton, or W, he’s only two years in, I’m not willing to say that he’s better or worse than W or Clinton, I think the jury’s still out. But he’s clearly better than Obama or Trump, simply because he’s willing to use the information that’s provided, and the tools of state. Now, that doesn’t mean that I or anyone have to agree with him. I’m simply talking about managerial competence at this point. And in fact, in economic policy, who say what you will about Trump, he had a number of people on his cabinet, especially in the first year that really knew their way around and say what you will about Wu, he had some serious leading lines and intellectual heavyweights, Clinton was able to pick people and throw them at problems fairly effectively. And even Obama, while his cabinet was highly ideological, had very little real world experience. They were all clever people who understand that if you want to get something done, you have to use actually, the tools of state, Biden’s superior to all of them in that regard, and that he understands and trust in the power of government. But his cabinet is not all that he really doesn’t have anyone on the Cabinet who I would consider a leading light in the space that they’re supposed to be regulating. But that is not just a negative, there is a positive to that, because there is an understanding throughout his cabinet taking cues from a boss who doesn’t claim to know everything. And for the first time, since at least the W administration, cabinet ministers are actually reaching out to industry to ask questions. And that degree of humility is something that I think will bode well for what comes for the next two years. That said, I can’t say I’m overly impressed with economic policy, I’d probably give that a salad D. Biden is setting us up for a lot of prep problems that we’re going to pay for over the course of the next 50 years. That’s a different topic. But on security policy, specifically, the fact that Biden was there when the pyramids were built means that he understands what’s going on in the world and the broader context of it. So when he sees the Russians carrying out policies that we have not seen for a very long time, he understands exactly where that leads. And so security policy visa vie the Russians and Ukraine and NATO, you know, I kind of give them a B for most of that. Now, security policy is a narrow subset of foreign policy where I’m less impressed, which is a narrow subset of all the policies that the President is ultimately responsible for. So I do see some hope and not really right off Biden, like I have the last for at this point. There are reasons to be optimistic, but I think the single biggest one is having a president that doesn’t think that he knows everything, and so asks, and tries to learn from everybody. I’m going to call that a win. All right, that’s it for me. Until next time,

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