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‘Uncle Joe’ Moments Feed GOP Concerns

Naomi Lim of the Washington Examiner explores one source of Republican concern about the current president’s approach to the job.

President Joe Biden may be commander in chief, but he has not ditched his “Uncle Joe” persona, cultivated over almost half a century in politics.

Republicans contend Biden’s sometimes-doddering ways are calculated to obscure his liberal priorities as he, his aides, and their congressional allies take advantage of narrow majorities on Capitol Hill before the 2022 midterm elections.

Biden’s folksy reputation and low-key approach to the presidency belies the political transformation being spearheaded by his administration, according to Republican strategist Jeanette Hoffman.

“These things when Joe Biden says, ‘It’s not me, I’m not in charge,’ it’s part of the whole shtick that he has going that he’s just ‘Uncle Joe’ and you can trust him. He’s just a nice guy, and he’s not out to do anything crazy or make any big changes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth because this is the most liberal and radical socialist agenda our country has ever seen,” she told the Washington Examiner.

After four turbulent years of former President Donald Trump, Biden’s campaign promise to be boring achieves a comparable effect, Hoffman said.

“To his credit, it’s really kind of brilliant because it deflects a lot of the Republican criticism because people are like, ‘It’s Joe Biden,'” the Marathon Public Affairs president added. “It’s kind of like this ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ presidency: He’s this old guy, and everybody else is pulling the strings in the background. He definitely knows what he’s doing. This is very calculated.”

The problem for Biden is that he needs to better balance authenticity with authority if he wants to drum up support among lawmakers and the public for his more than $4 trillion worth of infrastructure and social welfare proposals.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...