Jim, it seems that surprise is a constant in the Biden administration.
You write today about the WaPo report that noted senior White House officials are “surprised at how serious the inflationary problems are throughout the economy,” despite gathering warning signs — and not just signs, but outright advertisements of this possibility in plain English from noted economists like Larry Summers, which the White House treated not as good-faith advice but as an attack to be neutralized, war-room style.
The Afghanistan-withdrawal fallout followed a similar path.
Here’s Biden in August, remarking on the fall of Kabul to the Taliban: “The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
As Jimmy Quinn noted, “Those remarks contradicted contemporaneous reports that intelligence assessments predicted the Taliban would swiftly take the country.”
As the administration, local officials, border agents and nonprofit leaders grapple with the day-to-day logistical challenges of apprehending and processing or expelling thousands of migrants, U.S. officials and immigration experts say they have theories but no concrete explanations for why the increase is happening now. Many see it as a confluence of destabilizing conditions, some new, some long-standing: a still-raging pandemic, worsening economic crisis and devastation from past natural disasters. . . .
“This has taken many people off guard,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the immigrant advocacy group American Immigration Council. “We really genuinely can’t pinpoint a specific precipitating event that has caused this new influx in July.”
Rich Lowry was warning months earlier about the root of that problem.
If the Biden team had a trademark look, it might be something like Blue Steel. Perturbed, bemused, concerned, but very serious and very confident.
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