Slate is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous op-ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Biden administration whose identity is known to us and whose reputation as a good boy would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.
President Joe Biden is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.
It’s not just the global pandemic. Or the park closures it precipitated. Or even his controversial and unpopular decision to switch the White House kitchen from Side by Side Pork and Rabbit Stew Adult Dog Food to plain old Purina Dry Dog Chow.
The dilemma—which he does not fully grasp—is that many of his so-called best friends are working diligently from within to muzzle parts of his agenda and curb his worst inclinations.
I would know. I am one of them. Who’s one of them? I am. Yes, I am! Yes, I am!
To be clear, ours is not the popular “Republicanism” of the right. We don’t really follow politics, and besides, those guys seem awful.
But our family has been loyal Americans ever since my ancestors emigrated from Germany in 1945, and the president continues to act like a bad president who is being very bad. That is why many Biden adoptees have vowed to do what we can to shepherd our democratic institutions to safety while keeping Mr. Biden on a short leash until the voters can bring him to heel.
The root of the problem is that the president needs to be firmly told no. His erratic decision-making around dog food brand-related issues is only the beginning. He’s arbitrarily transferred trusted advisers all over the country, uprooting their lives with scarcely enough time to grab a favorite toy. At best, he has begrudgingly paid attention to his fiercest supporters in scripted settings. At worst, he has blatantly ignored them in favor of long, boring conversations with strangers about boring political matters. We say no! We say bad president!
Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: Sometimes visitors sneak dog treats into the White House. But these successes have come despite—not because of—the president’s leadership style, which is stingy, ungenerous, and parsimonious.
The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung good boys in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to voice their disapproval of the bad decisions made by the bad president who is being bad.
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room, pooping on the floor. There is a quiet resistance within the administration of anonymous dogs or humans, most likely humans, choosing to do their business right outside the Diplomatic Reception Room. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle, and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single, legally mandated prime rib–based diet for all White House pets.