Magazine September 13, 2021, Issue

Our Upside-Down System

President Joe Biden makes a statement from the White House about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, August 24, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
The government is absent where needed and present where unwanted

In August, Joe Biden had three jobs. He botched them all.

Step back for a moment — far away from our usual partisan mêlée — and consider the role that our constitution accords to the president of the United States. It’s pretty simple, all told. Per Article II, the president exists to “take Care that the Law be faithfully executed”; to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”; and to serve as the “Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.” And beyond that? Well, beyond that, he’s not supposed to do a great deal. Yes, presidents also play a role in the appointment of

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Afghanistan is a debacle and, more than most acts of the U.S. government, it is the responsibility of one man — Joseph Robinette Biden.

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