The Present Guy

Joe Biden’s 100th full day in office was Monday. It’s hardly time for the first grades to come out but I’ve succumbed to the temptation since so many others are doing it. Here are my early impressions.

Very early Monday evening Biden addressed the nation about the pandemic acknowledging the cost to date and challenges ahead. He managed to balance history with cautious optimism sounding like a favorite uncle. You could almost feel him putting an arm around your shoulder. Biden is especially talented at this type of address; he’s done thousands over the years on multiple continents. Years ago, I remember joking that we should make him Vice President for life just so he can attend the funerals of foreign dignitaries.

The candlelight moment of silence for the 500,000 lost to the virus was a nice touch. I realize it is all political theater but at least this administration, unlike the one that preceded it, goes through the niceties. Norms are not statue laws but they are there for a reason.
Biden has gotten on TV a lot in his first month but he has spared us an afternoon comedy hour telling us to inject bleach and that everything was OK while censoring medical and scientific experts. Biden has been telling us the truth even when it is not that pretty. More importantly he has allowed the experts to speak freely and truthfully.

On the pandemic front we are still in a mess. Under Biden new cases are down dramatically and vaccinations are up also by a substantial measure. My “over/under” for getting back to “normal” is September. That means we have a long way to go and there could be unforeseen challenge(s) along the way. (I wouldn’t bet that over/under either way.)

You may not like Biden or his policies but you can trust him unlike the previous occupant of the Oval Office. That is huge. I didn’t like George W. Bush but, unlike many others on the political left, I agreed with his two major actions on 9/11. I thought flying around in Air Force One until we could get a handle on things was prudent. We didn’t need to add losing the president (whether you liked him or not) to the other loses that day. That evening he addressed the nation from the White House. It was all rhetoric but it assured the nation and reminded them that we still had a president and he was in charge.

I’d like to turn my attention to the Cabinet for a bit. At this point fewer Cabinet Secretaries have been approved than under the two previous administrations. The second impeachment of his predecessor and the trend in taking (in my opinion) too much time are the major factors in addition to Mitch McConnell doing his obstruction thing when the Senate was still under his command.

It appears Biden will lose at least one nominee in Neara Tanden at OMB. My prediction is that she will soon (if she hasn’t already by the time you read this) withdraw sighting not wanting to hamstring the Biden administration and/or drag her family through a confirmation fight.

I’d be willing to bet that despite some grandstanding by Republican Senators angling for the 2024 GOP presidential nod that Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland will be confirmed. If the statement of Biden and Garland are to believe – and I’m so inclined – Biden will give the Justice Department a free hand in investigating criminal activity of the previous administration. That is important! America needs a functioning Justice Department again and Biden has plenty of policy issues on his plate to keep him busy.

Perhaps the most brilliant achievement of the young Biden administration to date is coining the phrase, “The former guy.” I have gotten this far in the article without mention of his name; I doubt I will be able to keep that up in subsequent postings. America needs to move past the former guy while still holding him legally accountable for his actions in and out of office. The less we mention his name the better. (I will fail at that and I know it.)

So, if I had to issue a report card for the present guy it would be an incomplete grade with a notation of “So far, so good.”

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