What’s Wrong With Joe Biden?

It seems like everyone’s mad at Joe Biden.

No matter what Biden does, somebody thinks he should be doing more. Barely two months into his administration, and folks are lining up to complain. Everyone seems to have forgotten the situation we’re in.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Over half a million Americans have died in just over a year. And many of the deaths could have been prevented. If the previous administration hadn’t denied and dithered for months. Then chose to ignore the problem for the most part.

Sure, there was “Operation Light Speed.” But keep in mind, the first vaccine approved was from Pfizer. A company that never participated in Lightspeed. So, let’s not give too much credit where little seems due.

It Just Gets Worse

Then there’s the economy. It’s in shambles. Again, the previous administration’s refusal to take the pandemic seriously crippled the economy. A national mask mandate might have made all the difference early on. But Biden’s predecessor wouldn’t hear of it. And Covid ran rampant through the White House.

Then there’s the government itself.

Hundreds of executive posts went unfilled – some for years. Many positions were filled with “acting” officials, as the administration never brought them up for Senate approval. Hundreds of other positions that were filled were filled with political hacks.

The administration nominated unqualified and ethically challenged people for scores of key positions. Including cabinet posts. Many were forced to resign amidst scandal.

This is what Joe Biden faced on January 20th. Along with an evenly divided Senate. Which means he needs every Democratic and Independent member of the Senate on board to pass anything. And then, only because V.P. Harris can cast the deciding vote.

Meanwhile, the sniping has started from all sides.

Facing the Disloyal Opposition

Almost every major bill introduced in the House has met with unified Republican resistance. Not a single Republican voted for Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package. Most opposed renewing the Violence Against Women Act. The same with the For the People Act – major voting rights legislation.

For crying out loud, some Republicans even voted against honoring the Capitol Police for putting their lives on the line during the January 6th insurrection.

These are not the positions of a party concerned with the welfare of the average American. Or the continuance of our Democracy.

So, what are the GOP’s positions?

Well, they’re generally in a tizzy over a half-dozen children’s books going out of print. Because these Dr. Seuss books have racist undertones.

They’re concerned about “cancel culture,” because it discriminates against the Right. In fact, they say it’s absolutely silencing voices on the Right. A horror they broadcast on national television almost daily.

And, of course, they’re critical of Joe. Republican Party leadership is making a big deal that Joe hasn’t held a press conference in his first couple of months in office. “What’s he hiding?” they want to know.

But here’s a little tidbit to put that in perspective:

After his initial press conference after the 2016 election… Pres. Trump didn’t hold a press conference for over a year. That’s a modern record.

Yeah. The GOP is up in arms over Joe’s lack of press conferences, while their boy did much worse.

You know how else their boy did much worse? Golf. By the end of his 2nd month in office, Trump had visited his own golf clubs at least a dozen times. Biden’s record so far? Zero.

To be fair, the Obama Administration left Trump with a booming economy. So, Trump could afford to play golf. Joe Biden inherited an economy in tatters. He can’t.

For the record, the Government Accounting Office estimates Trump’s golf outings cost taxpayers about $145 million dollars. Know what else costs about $145 million?

1,450 Porsche 911s.

And Republicans aren’t the only complainers.

The Immigration Crisis and Other Stories

Folks on the Left are upset Biden hasn’t solved the immigration crisis. But let’s look at this rationally.

We’ve just endured four years of racist immigration policies. Biden has already reversed problems like the Muslim Ban. But the pressure has been building for four years.

Under Trump, a huge backlog of would-be immigrants built up along the border. Thousands of hopeful families wound up in squalid camps just over the border.

Meanwhile, Trump slowed immigration courts almost to a standstill. Case-loads built and built. He tore kids from their parents and housed them in cages. Many still haven’t been reunited. And Joe Biden walked into this mess.

In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis. To make matters worse, the Trump tax cuts cost the U.S. Government almost $2 trillion in revenue. Meaning the government has to do a lot more with a lot less.

So maybe folks should give Joe a break. He’s a human; not a wizard. Congress could help… But you know the GOP will fight tooth and nail to spoil any humanitarian moves.

Meanwhile, the Left also complains about Biden failing to address their environmental concerns. Well, he’s already begun to reverse some of the Trump Administration’s worst ecological and environmental damage. He’s done what he can with executive orders.

But Congress has to help by closing loopholes in laws that let polluters and other abusers get away with literal murder.

So what’s the bottom line?

The Left Needs to Work With Joe… Not Criticize Him

The political Left has been riding high, thanks to a few big wins and almost legendary heroes, like “the Squad.” But there’s also a lot of dirty work to be done in the trenches.

And that doesn’t always involve big wins.

Sometimes, incremental change is all we can expect. Especially when there are other big issues involved.

Like a deadly pandemic and a crippled economy.

Even a fairly popular president like Mr. Biden has limits. He can’t change everyone’s mind on everything all at once. But, the more he accomplishes in areas that concern the average American, the more capital he’ll have to make changes that don’t concern them as directly.

So, give the guy some slack. He beat his initial promise – 100 M Covid vaccine doses in 100 days – by 6 weeks. The guy has skills. Stop beating on him and start supporting him. The more you back his plans, the more yours will make progress.

 

Sources:

“President Trump’s New Record: The Longest Time Without a Formal Press Conference in Half a Century,” The Daily Beast. Feb 16, 2018.

“Trump Golf Count: 298,” TrumpGolfCount.com. Mar 2, 2021.

“2021 Porsche 911,” https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/porsche/911. Aug 14, 2020.

Is Trump Attempting to Buy Votes?

In Tammany Hall’s heyday, votes were allegedly for sale. New York’s 19th century ward bosses got out the vote by providing “incentives.” Stories of free beer and sandwiches – and even cash payouts – were rampant.

Election reforms eventually killed off the Tammany Society’s reign. But Donald Trump appears to have taken a liking to their tactics. Because he just made a move that seems to be awfully close to an out-and-out bribe for votes.

Trump’s New Cash-for-Votes Scheme?

Out of the blue, Trump just announced his administration will issue $200 discount cards to Medicare recipients. The cards would be used to cut the cost of prescription drugs.

Now, here’s an important point: The CDC says 85% of Americans over 60 take prescription drugs. Which means Trump just offered $200 to virtually everyone on Medicare.

Just weeks before an election he appears headed to lose.

Trump has no mechanism in place to cover the $7 billion this program would likely cost. But the promise will get the attention of at least some of the 33 million affected voters.

To all appearances, Donald Trump just offered to distribute $7 billion in taxpayer funds to buy up to 33 million votes.

But this is hardly a surprise.

Trump’s Self-Interest Always Comes First

For weeks now, the President has been promising a vaccine before the end of the year. And his references have increased as election day approaches.

Why?

The answer seems obvious: To win votes. Trump has been battered badly over his mis-handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Introducing a safe and effective vaccine would blunt the effect of his previous derelictions.

Never mind that all the experts cast doubt on his claims. Or that a vaccine isn’t likely to be widely available for another 9 months or more. His base doesn’t put much stock in science or “elites.”

He’s trying to win back votes he lost to the pandemic. It’s not the vaccine that matters to Trump. It’s the votes.

But his vaccine promise is very different from offering a specific group of voters a specific monetary reward. Even if he didn’t say, “If you vote for me…”

Empty Promises

Trump’s gift card scheme is essentially an empty promise.

There is no mechanism to put it in place. Or to pay for it. Trump once again used executive orders to make a show of action. But the executive orders don’t mention the cards.

Instead, they refer to a proposal to tie drug prices to the prices paid by foreign governments. Yet, as the Washington Post points out, the executive orders lack detail. So, they’re a far cry from Trump’s proposed giveaway.

In other words, it’s yet another Trumpian scheme to stay in power. All talk, with no real substance.

But it does reveal his level of desperation. Because this promise is just one small step from an open bribe. And the return of Tammany Hall.

Sources:

Martin, C.B., et al, “Prescription Drug Use in the United States, 2015–2016,” National Center for Health Statistics. May 2019.

Goldstein, A., et al, “Trump pledges to send $200 drug discount cards to Medicare recipients…” Washington Post. Sep 24, 2020.