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Who is watching the store in Washington?

Who is watching the store in Washington?

Republicans say that President Biden is not up to the job – implying that the folks around him are actually running the store.  Probably a bit of political hyperbole. But recent events suggest some legitimacy in the accusation.  Two cases seem to expose the problem – and they are serious ones.

The French Dis-connection

The Biden administration cut a deal with Australia to provide nuclear submarine technology to the island nation.  In view of the growing tension in the region over Chinese aggressive policies, that could be considered a wise move.

But it was an action that created a MAJOR rift between the United States and France – America’s longest ally.  France had their own request for the same information and hardware.  French President Macron went ballistic when he read the reports of the deal in the French newspapers.

This was no small diplomatic blunder by a President who claims to have great experience in matters of international diplomacy.  Macron ordered the withdrawal of the French ambassador.  That is something that one usually does when there is state of war – or at least in response to adversarial actions.

The French ambassador has since been returned, but based on the recent meeting between Biden and Macron at the G20, the wound has not yet closed.

Biden offered a mea culpa of sorts by conceding that the entire matter was handled in a “clumsy” manner.  Then Biden said something extraordinary.  He said that he was unaware that the French government had not been informed.  In other words, it was not his fault.  The buck never seems to stop on Biden’s desk.

There are two problems with Biden’s excuse.  How involved was he in the negotiations and decisions that led up to the Australian deal?  And how does this reflect on his oft touted claim to be the expert in foreign diplomacy?

If you believe his excuse, the brouhaha with Macron was caused by Biden not being fully informed on the negotiations – and not having the input he should have had.  Biden’s lack of knowledge on such an important decision and the rollout is a cause for reasonable concern.

$450,000 or more to illegal aliens.

The Wall Street Journal published a report that migrant families who were separated from their children during the Trump administration could receive taxpayer compensation of $450,000 or more.  This was not some crazy rumor going viral on the Internet.  This was a report in one of the nation’s premier news publications.

When FOX’s Peter Doocy asked Biden if it was true and wouldn’t that encourage more migrants to cross the border, the President slapped him down by saying it only gets validity by news outlets that “keep sending that garbage out.” Biden followed up by declaring “That’s not going to happen.”

Weeell … turns out that Biden was totally unaware what his folks at the Department of Justice have been doing.  The ACLU swiftly issued a statement saying that Biden was apparently not informed of the status of settlement talks between the affected families being represented by … the ACLU – and the DOJ.  There is, indeed” a tentative framework agreement to pay $450,000 or more to settle various claims out of court.

Why the DOJ is being so accommodating instead of fighting such payments in court, is one problem.  What is more shocking is that Biden seemed to be totally unaware of such a controversial action by his own DOJ – one that is bound to outrage millions of Americans at any price.


If Biden is clueless on such major matters, it is fair to ask what else is going on in his administration that is not coming to his desk.  Looking through this lens, one can legitimately wonder if Biden’s disastrous and deadly surrender in Afghanistan was a failure to inform the President of the likely consequences.  To paraphrase the old question, “What didn’t Biden know — and when didn’t he know it.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    Wow, if you’re gonna play the ole Arlo Guthrie Nixonian lyric: “ if he didn’t know about that one, then what else can they know.“ then we have a yuge trip down 2017-2021 starting with indictments and convictions….

  2. Joseph S. Bruder

    Not only did Trump not know what was going on in his administration, he didn’t give a shit. He spent, literally, a quarter of his time playing golf. He did Hitler-style rallies. He put imcompetent cronies in charge of various parts of the government, and eschewed his morning briefings.

    Biden has put competent people in charge, and just because there’s occasional miscommunication doesn’t mean the whole government is falling apart. That was LAST term.

    It’s really too bad you didn’t get this indignant while Trump was President.

    • Reubin horton

      He’s a hell of a good guy

  3. frank stetson

    Often on PBP, we hear about the economic glories of the Trump era. Not quite true. Money says: meh.

    “In contrast with Trump’s numerous claims about building the greatest economy in history, Zandi found that by most measurements, the country’s economic health under both administrations is quite similar. ”

    If we go inside the “meh” economy at focus on the debt, we can see how when you follow the money, basically it went out the door and into the pockets of the rich as their % of the national wealth increased as never before. With all that money, why no inflation? Well, the rich don’t increase consumer spending when they get free extra money; they invest and thus the stock market saw the inflation, not the cpi.

    Here’s the debt story from “The Balance” rated not biased by media bias/fact check:

    Donald Trump said he would eliminate the debt in eight years; that’s what the voters said yes to. In reality: “The national debt has increased by almost 36% since Trump took office.” That’s total debt, not deficit. The total debt grew by over a third during the Trump reign.

    CNN, left leaning, shows a mixed bag that might explain why some feel the rose is blooming, others see the rose is wilting. Fact is, some of these things like deficit, debt, have longer term affects, others like the Obama’s recovery or Trump’s pandemic flow forward passed to future administrations. Trump caught the rising economy from the slow moving Obama recovery, Biden inherited the fast moving pandemic and the need to operationalize the national vaccination when facing severe pushback from Trump pandemic misinformation messaging. But these charts show a mixed economic scorecard at minimum:

    CNN says: “President Donald Trump inherited a strong economy, and it continued to grow at a healthy rate during his first three years in office. Then the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything.” But Obama faced The Great Recession and his actions resulted in Trump inheriting a strong economy on the rise. Trump could see the pandemic coming and his actions killed many Americans, shut down the economy, overwhelmed health services, created supply chain breakdowns, and many other economic problems.

    Sorry, even though I was basically unaffected by the pandemic, reaped the benefits of free money and a rising stock market, I got slammed by the tax cuts, lost money there, and saw a mixed bag of results for other individuals. But the bottom line is that the Trump economy, while it had it’s moments, was by no means glorious, the bestest ever, or, most importantly —- fair to all across the board. There were winners and losers.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      Nice analysis! Real substance to it, unlike the original article.