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The Adults Are Back In Charge… Or Are They Just Overgrown 5th Graders?

The TV show “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” stopped airing in November 2019, but it enjoyed a long run, and most of us have seen at least a few episodes. And as anyone who has watched it can attest, there are some pretty sharp 5th graders out there. It is for this reason that comparisons between the Biden Administration and these middle-schoolers make sense. The intellect of Joe Biden himself is probably better aligned with 2nd graders, but we must grant that he’s probably got some bright people on his staff and in his Cabinet. Bright? Perhaps. Wise or mature? Not so much.

Within days of Election Day last year, Biden and his cronies began touting the idea that “the adults are back in charge;” a poke in the eye to the Trump Administration, and a pledge for better policies from Biden. But we are now over eight months into Biden’s reign of ineptitude, and that promise of proficiency seems more ridiculous every day. For example, let’s consider:

#1: The Border Crisis

The ongoing catastrophe at our southern border is spiraling out of control. Our national security has been severely compromised with over a million illegals having crossed our border this year. The humanitarian aspect is heartbreaking, as pictures of the conditions for migrants underneath that Texas bridge make those so-called “kids in cages” facilities of Presidents Trump and Obama look like the Ritz Carlton. And all our alleged Border Czar Kamala Harris can do is chortle and pretend like she’s presidential.

A 5th grader… looks at border security, and the larger immigration debate, and focuses their attention on: What’s the nice thing to do? How can we be kind to people? And they totally disregard the possibility of terrorists coming across with plans to destroy us. They dismiss the dangers posed by potentially virus-infected individuals waltzing right in. And they pay no mind to the monumental financial costs we’ll need to incur to support these folks. A 5th grader wants to provide each immigrant coming across with their very own unicorn with which to ride off into the sunset.

An adult… recognizes that we are a sovereign nation, and therefore must have a functioning border. The priority must be on what’s best for America, and if that priority is jeopardized by newcomers, then it is the newcomers who must be the variable. An adult recognizes that politics is just the dance that determines who gets to implement policy, and once one has succeeded in that dance, they must then govern effectively. Politics may be a game, but governance is not.

#2: Spending Spree

In May, the administration proposed a $6 billion budget which represents an unfathomable 50% increase in annual federal spending. This proposal occurred after their trillions in spending with the “COVID Relief Bill,” and before their current $3.5 trillion “Infrastructure Bill” boondoggle. Many have likened the administration’s freewheeling spending to that of a drunken sailor, but perhaps it is more appropriately equated to a sober eleven-year-old.

A 5th grader… may have a solid foundation in mathematics, but they are just beginning to grasp what it means to be financially responsible. That $50 bill that Grandpa slipped into their birthday card doesn’t need to sit in some bank, and mom and dad can afford those new athletic shoes they’ve been eyeing; no problem. A 5th grader is unconcerned with financial ruin in ten years if it means they can have a grand old time with their buddies right now.

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An adult… understands that at some point, the piper must be paid. We can’t keep spending money that doesn’t exist. The more irresponsible we are with throwing dollars at problems – or at situations that aren’t the least bit problematic – the worse things will be in the future. Adults can grasp the idea that sometimes, regardless of how much a person may whine and cry, people with their hands out expecting to be given free stuff must simply be told, “no.”

#3: Afghanistan

The Biden Administration’s execution of our military withdrawal from Afghanistan has been one of the greatest governmental failures in American history. We’ve handed over billions of dollars’ worth of high-tech weapons to terrorists. We abandoned hundreds of fellow Americans and green card holders to fend for themselves in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. And these actions were all taken even though prior to the withdrawal, we hadn’t had a single combat casualty in-country for over eighteen months.

A 5th grader… is motivated by popularity when faced with key decisions. What action, if taken, will result in people liking me? Long-term repercussions are irrelevant, and effective planning is optional. If I’ll have more friends as a result, then that’s a good way in which to proceed.

An adult… realizes that planning and prudence are imperative. Those clamoring for a certain action right now may not see the disastrous impact those steps may yield in the future. And they also understand that popularity is fleeting. Those same citizens who claim to support your ideas today will turn on you in an instant if you screw up the implementation of those ideas. An adult considers multiple factors before pulling a trigger, and carefully examines potential downsides and side effects.

#4: Vaccine Mandates

Regarding COVID, then-candidate Joe Biden had committed to “defeat the virus” when he was running against President Trump, acting as if he was some type of magician rather than a public servant. Not only has Biden not defeated COVID, but his policies have also been absurd and his messaging utterly incoherent. “Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Wear two masks. Don’t get the vaccine because Trump told you to, get the vaccine because I told you to. The vaccines are extremely effective, but if you get it, you’re still in grave danger.” All this nonsense has resulted in the unconstitutional and Orwellian vaccine mandates.

A 5th grader… is wholly idealistic. If they think something is good, then everyone else must think the same. And if someone disagrees with that assessment, then they are wrong. It can’t be possible that rational people can actually disagree on matters, and it’s unthinkable for people to hold conflicting opinions. A 5th grader also is easily fooled into mistaking tyranny for virtue, since their exposure to true tyranny is likely limited to what their 2nd-period History teacher has told them. And of course, 5th graders are often likely to nod along with contradictory jibber-jabber, so long as it’s coming from a person with authority.

An adult… can comprehend that not everyone is going to agree on every issue. They also appreciate that a government’s power over what one can/can’t do must be limited, and when it comes to deciding whether to inject a medication into their body, that choice should be up to the individual, not the government. And an adult also calls out gibberish when they hear it. They don’t play along as if everything they’re hearing is logical.

Who are the real adults?

In the eyes of the left, and of the Biden Administration, in particular, reality is fleeting. Men can be women, and women can be men. Spending more money will mean less debt. Abandoning weapons to evil terrorists will make us safer. There’s nothing wrong with murdering a baby, but God forbid you choose not to be injected with a medication they embrace. Up is down, and down is up. Perhaps it is for this reason that they believe they are the adults in the room. But they’re not. And if this is what adulthood looks like in their worldview, then perhaps it’s time we put some adolescents back in charge of this sinking ship.

PF Whalen, Blue State Conservative

P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at  His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker.