Do a president’s words matter, or not?

Do a president’s words matter, or not? If a president keeps making declarations that bear no relationship whatsoever to actual administration policy, he is at best irrelevant. But President Biden’s many verbal slip-ups and ad-libs can be expected to enrage Vladimir Putin and make him redouble his efforts when the United States should be exerting effort in the other direction, to encourage Putin to de-escalate.

We’ve just learned that when President Biden called Vladimir Putin’s acts “genocide” the remark didn’t really count, any more than it counted when Biden called Putin “a war criminal,” (never mind, said his staff). Nor was the president making policy when he called for Russian regime change by saying, “for God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power” (no, he can remain in power, said flunkies).

We should also forget all about how Biden said use of chemical weapons by Putin would “trigger a response in kind” (not that kind of in kind, said his team), how he told the 82nd Airborne that they would soon learn about Ukraine because they’d see it firsthand when they “were there” (they were staying put, said underlings), or that when he suggested a Russian invasion wouldn’t be so bad “if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, etc.” No, any incursion would be bad, Biden later said.

As Phil pointed out, Biden is so old and so used to thinking of himself as a member of the Senate, where he spent 36 years, that he still blathers like a senator.  Senators can say pretty much whatever they think because no individual senator makes policy, and senators aren’t commanders in chief.

We’ve got war going on in Europe that involves a nuclear power, and we can’t trust the president of the United States not to veer off script and into the danger zone. It seems that for the good of the country, Biden’s handlers should make him stop talking before he blunders us into very scary waters. We have a crisis president who cannot actually be trusted not to endanger us with his wayward tongue every time he opens his mouth. Biden is himself therefore a crisis.

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