The Terrible Political Takes on Biden's Approach to the Middle East
No, the President didn't go Israel to boost his campaign.
On Thursday night — fresh off a high-stakes, dangerous diplomatic mission to Israel, President Biden addressed the nation to talk about why it was in America’s interest to support Israel and Ukraine in their time of need. During the speech, Biden said he would ask Congress to pass a $100 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel, humanitarian aid, and other domestic priorities.
There was much to unpack from the President’s speech and the compounding international crises dominating Biden’s attention — what role should the U.S. play? Can we afford to be involved in so many conflicts simultaneously? How the hell would the President get his aid package through a House of Representatives rendered inoperative? And to be fair, there was plenty of thoughtful reporting and commentary on these more significant, complex questions, but the political press defaulted to the lowest common denominator horserace political coverage.
The headline of Politico Playbook was “Biden tried to make it a foreign policy election.” The influential newsletter promoted a piece by Politico’s Michael Hirsch that treated Biden’s trip to Israel like a campaign tour to Manchester, Lancaster, or Milwaukee. Here’s Hirsch making his case:
In some ways Wednesday’s historic visit and Thursday’s Oval Office address could be viewed as a kind of reopening of Biden’s already troubled re-election campaign. Above all, the 80-year-old Biden is trying to change the narrative on what has become his biggest liability, his age, which polls have shown may be the top concern of both Democratic and Republican voters. The internet is rife with memes and clips of Biden shuffling, falling and misspeaking. His campaign wants to turn that vulnerability into a strength by arguing that only Biden has the experience and wisdom to handle what is becoming one of the most perilous international landscapes since World War II, campaign aides say.
We are about to embark on several news cycles that view everything Biden does on the world stage through the prism of politics. And that assumption is just wrong.
Is Biden’s Focus on Israel a Political Strategy?
Every move and word of a President running for reelection is inherently political. There are staff in every White House whose job it is to analyze every move's political implications and then share that analysis with the President and fellow advisors. I had that job for President Obama.
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