Joe Biden’s catchphrase of exasperation was reaffirmed countless times in the 2020 campaign he waged against Donald Trump: “C’mon, man!” he groaned whenever forced to respond to the incumbent president’s hostile blather. In a fitting piece of symmetry, it’s the very same phrase I hear in my own head when reading one of Biden’s latest tweets from the White House.
In one sense, a post like this is par for the course on Twitter, a platform where many of us like to say what “should” or “needs to” happen, knowing that the words themselves won’t make it so. Although we feel powerless, we derive some satisfaction from imagining a better world and seeing others agree with our vision. Biden, however, is not powerless. He wields the most power of anyone on the planet. He’s the president of the United States — yet his social media presence has the tenor of someone begging to talk to a real human when they’ve called an automated customer service line. It’s always an appeal to some greater, unknown authority.
While conservatives always have an apoplectic response to these remarks, progressives despair at the ineffectual posturing. I can remember when presidents made promises things — often empty ones, but promises nonetheless. “I will,” not “We must.” Biden’s communications have been sapped even of that resolve, making it seem as though our election of Democrats is never enough to enact the agenda they ran on. If, as a few optimists have argued, we’re short-changing Biden’s achievements in this first term, like the infrastructure deal and lowered unemployment rates, it could be that on the tough issues, he sounds like he’s passing the buck.
I realize that running the country isn’t an easy or ordinary gig. But listen, anybody else who goes around their workplace demanding solutions, only to be repeatedly asked “Isn’t that your job?” probably won’t have that job much longer. And while I’m positive that a great many people would surpass Biden as a chief executive, I’m not in the mood for him to lose the office to Trump in a couple of years. For that reason, perhaps he can start talking like he’s actually in charge.
Where’s the action, my dude? Is this how you saw yourself governing? Bro. Buddy. C’mon man.