President Biden spoke to the American people last night and laid out his broad, generally progressive vision for the country. In my judgment his first 100 days have seen a return to a sense of governmental competence combined with the management of the COVID vaccine dispersal that will be seen as a logistic miracle by future analysts. Now the tougher slog begins. No plan this grand will be without shortfalls.
Let’s start with Biden’s demonstration that he has solved the “Trump Equation” by the expedient of ignoring him. This is the kind of “death by a thousand cuts” that only bottom feeding egotists feel. In four years the news bureaus, networks, pundits, and most Democrats failed to get the easier message. So they turned red in the face and wildly attacked each portentous lie and lunacy. Biden has, literally since the beginning of this campaign, been the fish who refuses to take the bait. He has reasoned correctly that raw meat spoils more quickly when not thrown immediately on every grill. Kudos to him!
On to some of last night’s specifics where we were given a focused, totally understandable, and bi-directional look down an Interstate Highway. The President directed us first to gaze down at the potholed roadway and outlined a plan to fix the aging infra-structure. He emphasized jobs and an ennoblement of the working classes who have built and rebuilt the nation before and now can do it again.
His second direction was to gaze straight ahead toward the horizon where justice, climate fixes, and successful international competition await a renewed national commitment. He emphasized that it was not possible for us to “not respond” to this challenge. If we exhaust our efforts, he said, competing among ourselves, the rest of the world (particularly China) will not sit around and wait for us to put our house in order. They will see our folly and move ahead without us.
Note that the President looked only those two ways. His message was narrow, finely honed, and fully understandable. Although I am sure he is well aware of it, he did not mention that the off-ramps on the Interstate are full of dying and decaying strip malls. That is where doom saying toothless tigers are gnashing their gums while complaining that these efforts will cost too much. Republicans off to either side of the road have no apparent foreign or domestic vision, no declared platform of action, and no apparent interest in negotiation or governing. Mitch McConnell’s cold iceberg isolation stare last night (that could not be concealed by his mask) captured our predicament perfectly. In closing I reiterate that this is a lift destined to fail in some part, but by all that is Holy, it is a goal worthy of our noble nation. Not to try will be seen by future historians as a monumental failure.
Like Joe, I thank you for your patience.