As perilous as things are with the midterm election hanging in the balance for Democrats, President Biden must be mindful of any comment that might further complicate matters. Calling NBC journalist Lester Holt a “wise guy” for his intense questioning on inflation is that kind of insensitivity. The comment from Biden was aired on Sunday before the Super Bowl game and was his attempt to clarify his earlier assessment that inflation would be a momentary problem.
Holt began by asking Biden to expand on the issue by reminding the president that he said back in the summer that inflation would be temporary. “I think a lot of Americans are wondering what your definition of temporary is?” Holt said.
“Well, you’re being a wise guy with me a little bit,” Biden replied. “And I understand, that’s your job.”
Biden felt compelled to explain inflation, noting that, “The reason for the inflation is the supply chains were cut off, meaning that the products for example, automobiles—the lack of computer chips to be able to build those automobiles so they could function; they need those computer chips. They were not available.”
Compounding the flow of goods was the protests in Canada, particularly the jammed entries in Detroit across the Ambassador Bridge, one of the busiest portals in the nation. According to the latest reports, the demonstrations have lessened, and Canadian authorities have taken steps to remove the vehicles blocking traffic.
Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine continues to be troubling, though there are reports that some of the Russian forces are pulling back from Ukraine borders. Even so, the threat of an attack remains ominous, and the U.S. has asked all Americans to vacate the embassy there.
Biden faces a daunting proposition in pursuit of a diplomatic solution, his brinkmanship challenged—who will blink first and to what extent will Biden bite on Putin’s aggressions?
One of the options not on the table is the U.S. invasion of Ukraine, but sanctions remain a gambit should the Russians advance into Ukraine.
Ultimately, Biden is caught in the throes of a Hobson’s choice, and his only hope is that he can call Putin’s bluff and thereby stifle the possibility of warfare.