The awkward confrontation

April 6, 2022 - 21:14

TEHRAN— Former President Barack Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since leaving office five years ago.

Obama's return was scheduled to coincide with an event commemorating the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, his biggest legislative achievement during his presidency. President Biden announced changes to the statute at the event.

The visit comes as Biden faces the lowest approval rating of his administration, as well as months of low popularity and disfavor connected to his handling of the Ukraine conflict.

"It is good to be back in the White House," Obama said at the event with Biden and Vice President Harris. "Nothing made me prouder than providing better health care and more protections to millions of people across this country. So when President Biden said he was not going to just celebrate the ACA but announce actions that would make it even better, I had to show up."

In addition to Obama's attendance at the event, Biden had lunch with the former president. Their meeting comes just over three weeks after Obama announced testing positive for COVID-19.

"They are real friends, not just Washington friends," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "I'm sure they will talk about events in the world as well as their families and personal lives."

"It feels like the good old days," Biden stated alongside his former boss, whose return to the East Room seemed like a reunion of his top loyalists, many of whom are now serving in Biden's Cabinet or in Congress.

Obama started his speech by addressing his host as "Vice President Biden," but immediately corrected himself. "That was a joke!" he exclaimed as he walked up to hug Biden.

"That was all set up. Joe Biden, my President."

"I'm still going to call you for advice," Biden said.

But was the “slip of tongue” really staged? 

The uncharismatic leader of the United States is not at the best state of health, as well as decision-making. Many American analysts have for long said that this is not the Biden administration, and the United States is being run by other behind-the-scenes actors and players.

Did Obama accidentally reveal the real leader of Washington? 

After two terms in Obama's shadow, Biden has attempted to distinguish himself from his former boss at times, most notably on foreign policy. Many analysts say that Obama has been conscious of the need of letting Biden to rule as his own man, therefore, justifying the lack of communication between the two old friends. 

The rift between Obama and Biden began when they worked together in the White House, but it got more serious when Obama declined to endorse Biden over other Democrats in the 2020 Democratic primary, a step both men argued was required to allow for a meaningful internal party contest.

Many democrat analysts compared Obama to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “ultimate transformer as they put it.” 

But Biden’s tenure is full of embarrassing defeats, both in domestic and foreign affairs. From the shameful handling of the horrible withdrawal from Afghanistan, to a full year of negotiations in Vienna that have come to a halt due to the White House’s inaction. 

The Democrats viewed Biden as a conciliator and restorer, but so far, he has failed to do anything for the Americans. The fuel price has risen to an all-time high, inflation has spiked to set a historical record, the Ukraine-Russia conflict got worse with the American interference, Pakistan got into trouble due to the meddling of Washington, and so on. 

Perhaps Biden is not as uncharismatic as Gerald Ford, but he will surely sit next to the worse presidents in American history.