The Biden Presidency in Two Words: Unfolding Disaster
From Energy Policy to Election Reform, Economics and Immigration, It's a Mess. The First of a Series Looking at Their "Progress"
The first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration came and went with tepid, even shallow attention or analysis of the new president. It’s not hard to figure out why. There’s little for the Biden fan club, known as the media, to crow about, other than he’s not Trump. Being boring is seen as virtuous. Border policy? Gasoline prices and energy independence? Inflation? Unemployment rates that ticked up in April despite 8 million job openings?
Oh sure, there was plenty of fanfare, including Biden’s first speech before a joint session of Congress and a few events outside Washington’s beltway to highlight their “American Rescue Plan Act,” which hosed the economy with about $2 trillion (on top of last year’s $4 trillion) - little of it going for pandemic response and aid. Still, a lot is going to incentivize people not to work. But otherwise, meh.
A lot of evidence is in, and it renders an early verdict: The Biden-Harris Administration is an unfolding disaster. There is no evidence of an early course correction in the making, other than resuming some border wall construction they had halted “on day one,” as promised.
I’ll give Biden credit for this: keeping most of his promises. I would give him more credit for not keeping many of them.
Yes, public polling suggests that Biden enjoys higher approval ratings than Donald Trump ever did, or compared to congressional leaders, Democratic or Republican. But one must plumb deeper inside those polls and analyze the public’s focus, along with disparate media coverage, which has been on the pandemic response. And that is where the Team Biden gets their sole high mark - not messing up the well-orchestrated “Operation Warp Speed” launched by the Trump Administration. It was simply a lie when Team Biden suggested they had inherited “no plan.” Also, pay attention to the “strongly disapprove” numbers. They’re stubbornly high. And as the pandemic slowly but surely fades into the rearview mirror, despite efforts to the contrary, what’s left to focus on?
On the pandemic response, however, they have not earned a grade of A. They screwed up over the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clotting issues (28 cases to date, compared to 9.2 million doses administered, including to me) lowers that grade. Further dings to their score emerge from inconsistent, contradictory, and confusing messages - and goalpost moving - from the excessively ubiquitous Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Letting malign teacher unions dictate school closures was another terrible idea.
But I generously bequeath a grade of B- to the Biden-Harris Administration for not getting in the way of vaccine distribution that had hit over a million jabs a day before they took office. It has since more than doubled. But some of the lockdown policies and goofy masking messages are being let go way too slowly, at least in some states, and contributing to a slow down in jabs. Not all that is on vaccinated Biden, but the goofy masking messaging certainly is. What kind of virtue signaling is this, for example, on an international leader’s zoom call? How embarrassing.
The reluctance of many to relinquish emergency powers reminds me of England post World War II. War-time rationing rules didn’t finally fade away until 1954 - 9 years after the German surrender. Power, once assumed, is hard to give up for many in government. Just ask Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania’s Democratic dictator-in-chief. On May 18th, Pennsylvania voters will likely yank some of his year-long “emergency powers” via a pair of constitutional amendments on the ballot over his kicking and screaming. Some think all of this is a trial run for a forthcoming “climate emergency,” and they may not be wrong.
Biden’s pathetic performance thus far isn’t limited to policies. It began with his fraudulent call for “unity” during his inaugural speech and behavior since that has suggested anything but unity. There has been zero meaningful bipartisan collaboration on most issues, from the awful if not unconstitutional election reforms featured in HR 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” to the inflation-inducing, pork-and-political-payoff-laden American Rescue Plan. If anything, most bipartisanship has come from Senate Republicans who have been more supportive of Biden’s Cabinet nominees than Democrats were of Trump’s and some uncontroversial legislation.
Two areas where we’ll withhold grades, for now, are foreign policy and national defense. Still, the Biden Administration’s responses to growing communist Chinese aggression, refunding Palestinians (how has that worked out?) Russian cyber hacking and troubling events in the Middle East are their first tests. Early indications are not promising. The same with defense policy. Their initial actions are uninspiring, to say the least. At least he proposed a very modest increase in defense spending under his first budget submission to Congress, so there’s that.
So, we’ll do what the media hasn’t done well: we’ll do a series of dives into the Biden policy agenda and how it’s playing out during these first days of his presidency and assign a grade. You may have to have some Pepto Bismol nearby. Or maybe a stiff drink.