May 23, 2022

Article at Main Street Nashville

Ruthenberg: The Bender presidency

As we slog through shortages, record-high prices, soaring inflation and world unrest, it’s good to know we have a president who has taken Harry Truman’s mantra of “the buck stops here” to heart. OK, just kidding. No, sadly, the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue sounds more like Bender, the irascible robot from the animated series “Futurama.”

Bender was narcissistic to the extreme. No matter the situation, frequently made worse by his own actions, he found a way to avoid responsibility. It actually made him somewhat endearing and he did occasionally go against his instincts – if an animated robot can have instincts – and do the right thing. But his best quality was he didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t.

Biden is much the same, minus the endearing part, and quite possibly even more lacking insight than Bender.

There are many memorable Bender quotes, but three stand out and it’s scary how aptly they apply to our doddering president. So, let’s take each “Benderism” and apply it to Biden.

“It’s all everybody else’s fault.” – Bender, season 3

The above Bender quote could summarize Biden’s entire presidency to date. There are so many areas that have tanked we could spend pages just going through such a list, but let’s focus for the moment on gas prices.

Late last week the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas soared to an all-time high of $4.59 per gallon per AAA, an incredible 192% increase from when Trump left office. When Biden assumed office, the national average was $2.39 per gallon per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Biden and his team are quick to blame Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the price spike. He and his mouthpieces have consistently tried to use the Bad Vlad defense, even using the phrase “Putin’s price hike,” which some in the national media were quick to parrot. However, a quick check would bear out the falsehood of the Bad Vlad excuse.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. On that date gas had already soared to $3.61 per gallon, 151% above the pre-Biden price.

“Make no mistake, the current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin. It has nothing to do with the American Rescue Plan,” Biden said on March 12, channeling his inner Bender.

Not surprisingly, he has denied the cataclysmic impact of policies that have significantly cut current and future domestic oil production. He most notably brought the XL pipeline construction to a screeching halt. His defenders will tell you it would have taken a year anyway to get XL up and running. I still fail to see the downside to that compared to our predicament.

Even more insulting, while Biden halted XL, he green-lit a Russian pipeline that supplied Germany.

“How can I be so bad at everything, and still be great.” – Bender, season 7

If there is one indicator that represents Biden’s failure at everything he has touched, it’s inflation. Yet, like Bender, Biden continues to tote his “accomplishments.”

“I didn’t overpromise,” Biden told reporters on Jan. 19. “I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen. The fact of the matter is that we’re in a situation where we have made enormous progress.”

Now, in fairness, expectations were pretty low, but it was nonetheless a very Benderain statement.

Inflation is at a 40-year high, currently at 8.3%. When Trump left office inflation barely registered, sitting at 1.4%, according to That represents a phenomenal 593% increase.

As award-winning business journalist Charles Gasparino – far more eminently qualified than me to write on this subject — wrote in the New York Post, “Inflation is theft. It siphons money particularly from poor, working and middle-class Americans. But Joe Biden fueled it with absurd fiscal policies that included continuing to pay people not to work when the economy needed supply to meet the rising demand post-COVID.”

“All right environment, you’ve met your match.” – Bender, season 4

Biden wasted little time upon taking office embracing the radical “green energy” agenda. He was going to save our impending demise at the hands of evil climate change.

“It’s about coming to the moment to deal with this maximum threat that is now facing us, climate change, with a greater sense of urgency,” CBS News reported Biden saying as he signed a slew of executive actions. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. We see it with our own eyes, we feel it, we know it in our bones.”

The only thing tangible arising out of Biden’s radical environmental kowtowing has been to create an actual economic crisis that is hitting Americans harder than a spring hailstorm.

Meanwhile, we still have tornadoes.

Dave Ruthenberg is an award-winning columnist and Main Street Nashville opinion editor. Contact him at