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.

It’s Time for America to Wake Up!

Note: I completed the original version of this article yesterday, then went online to find Nancy Pelosi’s announcement.

The Trump administration is out of control. Every time they manage to circumvent the law, they rise to a higher level of contempt for our Democracy. It’s gotten so bad, they’re almost not even trying to hide it. Just look at Rudy Giuliani’s most recent turn on the Sunday talk shows.

On CNN, he denied pressuring Ukraine’s president to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son. (Hunter Biden had a business relationship with a Ukrainian gas company.) Just 30 seconds later, Giuliani admitted it was true.

Then he called the claim he’d applied pressure “ridiculous” – immediately followed by saying he was proud for doing it – and then said once again the claim was “ridiculous.”

Now, we may be used to this sort of insanity from Giuliani – the President’s personal lawyer. But is it normal? Is it sane? Not by a long shot.

But Giuliani’s insanity offers good cover for his boss’s “admission creep.”

No… Maybe… Yes, But Who Cares?

Donald Trump has a style for making admissions. First, he denies he did something. Next, he waffles. Then he makes a low-key admission… and finally harps about “who cares?” Deny, suggest, minimize.

It’s worked pretty well for Trump so far. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise he used this tactic when faced with claims about pressuring Ukraine’s newly elected president to dig up dirt on Trump’s leading foe in the 2020 election.

First, he didn’t bring up Biden. Then he did, but there was no pressure. Now we know he may have brought up the topic as many as eight times during a single call.

And when combined with the way he held up sorely needed aid to Ukraine… well, let’s just say it’s suspicious.

Because Trump appears to have held hundreds of millions of dollars hostage to his investigation demands.

And now his administration is doing all it can to prevent Congress from exercising its Constitutional oversight duty.

Another pattern we’ve seen over and over.

  • Trump allies stonewall Congressional committee investigations
  • Cabinet heads refuse to comply with laws requiring them to turn information over to Congress
  • Trump’s Justice Department refuses to prosecute those charged with contempt of Congress

The result is an Executive Branch that has effectively removed itself from any checks and balances on its whims. And this lawlessness is aided and abetted by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell and his Congressional cronies. Who back Trump’s actions… no matter how outrageous.

But this latest affront to our Democracy may be the last straw… or the last gasp.

Has Trump Finally Awakened the Sleeping Giant?

Yesterday (09/23/19), seven Democrats called out this latest Trump misadventure in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. What makes this article stand out is this:

  • The authors are all freshmen members of Congress – usually a quiet bunch
  • None of them are members of “The Squad”
  • All of them have a background in the military, defense, or intelligence.

And they’ve plainly stated the allegations against Trump are an impeachable offense… the withholding of the whistleblower complaint from Congress is illegal… and that Congress must take immediate action.

But will it? Nancy Pelosi hasn’t been open to calling for impeachment. Maybe she thinks it will mobilize Trump’s base. Could she be facing a mutiny?

If she refuses to take Trump to account for his blatant flouting of the law, she should. Yes; she’d rather see him in prison… blah, blah, blah. But her only control is over the here and now in Congress. So, this is her one chance to act.

We can’t allow the corruption to continue. Congressional leadership must step up. The Trump administration’s assault on Democracy could do permanent damage. For goodness sake, the man “jokes” about staying in office beyond two terms.

And he’s openly stated he might question any election result that doesn’t put him on top. Is it any wonder he’s courted the favor of well-armed white supremacists?

Congress must act now. If they don’t treat this scandal as the last straw, it may become our Democracy’s last gasp.

Addendum: A Reason for Hope?

So much has happened since I began this article. Trump released the “transcript” of his call… The Senate unanimously called for the administration to release the whistleblower report to the appropriate committees… Nancy Pelosi had finally had enough and got the impeachment ball rolling.

Perhaps most heartening of all, there were darn few Republican lawmakers on the attack. Even Lindsey Graham seemed muted in his response.

Sure, Graham said the move to impeach is “insane,” but he didn’t have any of his usual swagger and righteous indignation. Instead he looked sweaty and tired. There was no conviction in his voice.

What Graham should keep in mind is that this isn’t the only reason to start impeachment proceedings. Just the one that broke the camel’s back.

Mueller outlined 10 times Trump likely obstructed justice during the Russia probe. There’s the sudden jump in Air Force personnel staying at his Turnberry golf resort… putting thousands into Trump’s personal coffers. There’s the influx of foreign dignitaries staying at Trump properties.

There’s the “unindicted co-conspirator” issue with paying off mistresses to remain silent. Don’t forget: His fixer went to jail over these illegal campaign contributions. And Trump was in the mess up to his neck.

And, of course, there are the other issues in the whistleblower complaint that we don’t even know yet.

If Congress is smart, they’ll charge Trump with everything applicable. Which could make letting him off the hook political suicide for his die-hard supporters in the Senate.

So, maybe – just maybe – we have reason for hope.

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Cisneros, G., et al, “Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” Washington Post. Sep 23, 2019.

Time to Wake Up! The Republicans Are Gaslighting America.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R – LA) just appeared on Fox News. One of his talking points? The so-called “Green New Deal.”

“The Green New Deal,” he said. “Just think about how laughable… cows are banned… planes are banned…”

Of course, this is pure B.S. But it’s a common GOP talking point. And, as they continue to hammer on this fantasy, their core supporters eat it up.

Scalise’s idiotic depiction of the Green New Deal came on the heels of a comment on how much Trump has done “to get this economy moving again.”

Which, in reality is almost nothing. The economy crashed under our last Republican president – George W. Bush. The economy got moving again under President Obama. Under Obama…

  • Unemployment dropped significantly
  • The stock market came roaring back
  • The avalanche of home foreclosures slowed to a trickle.

But Trump and the Republicans are taking credit for it all.

They’re Gaslighting America… and we have to call them on it every time.

The Republican Assault on Truth Rules the Twitterverse

My Twitter feed this morning included these pro-Trump posts…

  • The GOP quoted chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, saying “… the Democrat Party wants to take away Pretty much everything from the American people… to fund a health care plan.” This, of course, is blatantly false.
  • A GOP re-tweet of a McDaniel post claiming, “[Democrats]want the government to take over every aspect of our lives from education to health care.” Again, completely false.
  • A misleading post from Rep. Jim Jordan doing a hatched job on Jim Comey.
  • A post from Sarah Huckabee Sanders mis-stating the Democratic position on firearms.
  • A wildly spun post from the “Trump War Room” saying Pete Buttigieg accused Trump voters in his state of “supporting racism.” He didn’t. He said, at best, Trump voters are “looking the other way” on the issue. And the comment wasn’t aimed at Hoosiers.
  • Another GOP retweet – this one from Elizabeth Harrington – implying Beto O’Rourke was in favor of ignoring the 2ndAmendment, and wanted to take away everyone’s guns. O’Rourke actually said he was in favor of ending private ownership of assault weapons.

And on and on it went. Every single Republican tweet I read was either misleading or out-and-out false.

Luckily for us, the Democrats have an active well-orchestrated truth machine countering this onslaught on reality.

Just kidding. For the most part, the Dems seem to ignore the GOP gaslighting campaign… with just a few notable exceptions.

The Democratic Party Is Wimping Out

This morning’s tweet from the Dems? An offer to win two tickets to the next candidates’ debate. I kid you not.

The GOP flooded Twitter with misinformation – or massive “spin,” if you prefer. The Dems respond by offering two tickets to a snooze-fest. Really? Have they learned nothing from The Squad? Apparently so.

Meanwhile, a Republican PAC ran an ad during the Democratic debate depicting an image of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) going up in flames. That’s a violent act that encourages more acts of violence.

AOC responded by calling out Republican “hysteria” and laying out her party’s goals. Fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib backed her up.

But the Democratic Party? Crickets.

I follow the Dems on Twitter, and they post far less than the GOP. The opposition is pumping out an endless stream of mis-information… and the Dems remain virtually silent.

For a growing number of voters, social media is a key source of information… and the Dems are blowing it. Who could have imagined a bunch of old white guys could out-gun the diverse Democratic Party on social media?

But it sure seems to be happening.

Guess what, Dems. If you don’t wise up, democracy as we know it will be at an end. So enough with the snooze-fest tickets already!

You have to fight back.

And that means more of your team has to spend a lot more time at their keyboards.

Demographics Are on Our Side

The GOP is the party of old white men. The party of religious conservatives. The party of white nationalists.

Democrats tend to be younger, more diverse, and technologically savvier. Better educated. So why isn’t the party reaching out more effectively on social media? Lord only knows.

The Dems lost state houses because the party focused on the big picture. And all but ignored local races. Now they seem to be losing the social media battle because…

Because… Well, nobody has a good idea why. Lack of trying, maybe? Did the party learn nothing from Obama’s online success? Apparently so.

The GOP is blanketing social media with misinformation. The longer the Dems ignore it, the stronger the grip these lies will have.

Look… Dems have the demographic advantage. They need to use it. They need to get more active online. To broadcast the truth on social media. To fight fear-mongering with facts. To call out the GOP’s lies and mis-representations.

To flood social media with the truth.

The Squad can’t do it for you. But they canset an example. Yes; they’re younger and more progressive. But – in the final analysis – their goals are the same as yours: An America that’s just. That shining light on the hill.

2020 is fast approaching. Our democracy may not withstand 4 more years of Trump. But it’s not too late.

President Obama showed how powerful social media can be. The Squad has shown how easily it can be turned to your cause.

The truth is a powerful ally. Use it to counter the GOP’s Gaslight campaign online. Because the alternative is unthinkable.