The Corner

White House

On COVID, President Biden Needs Normal Friends

President Joe Biden takes off his mask in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 13, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

I wrote yesterday that President Biden is “hamstrung” on COVID-19 in part because he has “allowed himself to be captured by monomaniacal, neurotic, agoraphobic pantywaists.” And, right on cue, the Washington Post demonstrates what I was talking about:

President Biden and his aides have long asserted that ending the pandemic would revive his political fortunes, as Americans give him credit for lifting covid’s threat and begin to appreciate his other accomplishments, from climate to infrastructure.

And yet:

“We’re never going to go back to normal. Personally, I don’t think I will ever get on a plane without wearing a mask,” said Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic strategist who worked closely with Biden during the 2008 presidential campaign.

This is a ridiculous and irrational thing to say. And, unfortunately for Biden, it’s typical of the sort of people with whom he spends his time. There is scant reason to wear masks on planes even now, let alone once the pandemic is over. And who, pray, is the “we” in “we’re never going to go back to normal”? If Patti Solis Doyle wants to live her life like that, good luck to her. But does she really think everyone else is itching to join her? If, tomorrow, you told a plane full of Americans that they no longer needed to wear their masks, how many do you think would still have them on by the time you’d hung the intercom back on its hook? Twenty? Ten? Three?

With friends like these, Biden’s recovery will be a slog. If, that is, he can ever get “back to normal” at all.

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