Later, he added: “We can’t take immediate action that I’m aware of yet to figure out how we’re bringing down the prices of gasoline back to $3 a gallon. And we can’t do that immediately with regard to food prices either.”
Biden’s candor, on one level, is simply stating the obvious: In a globally connected and deeply complex world, any one person — even the President of the United States — can’t know everything or possess the ability to change circumstances with the snap of a finger.
But politically speaking, it is a very bad look for the President.
Consider what we already know about the political environment:
1) Economic anxiety is rampant among the public, centered on inflation and gas prices.
2) A majority of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing.
Take the second point first. Biden simply doesn’t have any room for error, politically, at the moment. The public has soured on him and his ability to deal with the multiple crises now confronting the country.
It’s into that miasma that Biden’s comments land. And then there’s this to consider: Whether it’s fair or not, the public, especially in difficult times, expects its leaders to solve problems. Not to admit that, well, they can’t do much at the moment.
To be clear: Biden isn’t wrong when he says that there are a very limited number of options available to him that he hasn’t already taken to lower gas prices or curb inflation. If there was an easy solution available here, he would have already taken it.
At the same time, the public does not want to hear from a president that there’s just not much he can do to address the problems facing the country. That’s the message Biden sent Wednesday, and it’s one that has to frustrate every Democrat preparing to try to win an election this fall.