It is early, far below the traditional threshold of 100 days. Still, watching the major missteps of the Biden administration reminds that even presidents don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
My expectations were low, but not low enough. I hoped, naively, that with political polarization leading to growing violence from both sides, the new president would make at least minimal efforts to keep his promise of building national unity.
Instead, Joe Biden spent his first three weeks issuing more than 50 executive orders and actions that fall along straight partisan lines, with nearly all of them delivering goodies to his party’s far-left wing and/or reversing successful Trump-administration policies. In most cases, he simply signed the sweeping directives without explaining the ostensible public benefits.
As bad as the process looked, optics are not the real problem. It’s the terrible substance of the major orders that is driving a stake through the heart of national reconciliation.
The new president made killing thousands of construction jobs connected to the Keystone XL pipeline one of his first acts, practically invited illegal immigrants to swarm the border and gives cover to obstructionist teacher unions that want to keep schools closed.
The school issue goes to the heart of another Biden promise — to “follow the science” and “listen to the experts.” Yet when his CDC director said it was safe to open schools without teacher vaccinations, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki strangely said the director was “speaking in her personal capacity.”
So it’s follow the science, except when it’s politically inconvenient.
Similarly, we now learn Biden’s promise to open most schools within 100 days came with fine print that guts the plain meaning. The actual goal, the White House now says, was to have more than 50 percent of schools open at least one day a week.
In other words, 80 percent closed is Biden’s definition of an open school.
Then there’s the vaccine production and distribution. Candidate Biden talked often about his “plan” to combat the coronavirus, but it turns out his plan was mostly limited to criticizing Donald Trump’s plan.
The new president’s goal of vaccinating 100 million people in 100 days would have simply kept him on pace with what the Trump administration already was doing. Only when that fact was repeatedly pointed out did Biden raise his goal to 1.5 million a day.
Yet even now, instead of a determination to get all Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, he’s moaning about “logistics” as a way to lower expectations. On Thursday, his team secured 200 million more doses, a 50 percent increase, which is what Biden had said would be needed to cover virtually the entire population by the end of summer.
But instead of celebrating, Biden lowered the bar, warning that even all adults would not be inoculated by the end of summer, which is still more than six months away.
His early moves on foreign policy are also disheartening. Biden is playing footsie with Iran by removing the terrorist designation of its Houthi proxy in Yemen while freezing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and ending American support for Saudi offensive operations in Yemen. Meanwhile, press secretary Psaki refuses to call Israel an ally.
The blitz of executive orders, directives and memoranda was clearly meant to emphasize that Biden was hitting the ground running. But that burst of activity will be worse than meaningless if the polices create or worsen problems for people.
One example is that the energy-related directives all lean in the direction of restricting fossil fuels. So far, the only certainty of his actions are job losses connected to both his killing the Keystone pipeline and putting a freeze on drilling permits on federal land and water.
The eventual impact will also mean a loss of American energy independence and price increases for electricity, gasoline and heating fuel.
Telling laid-off workers they can go make solar panels, as John Kerry did, has all the compassion of a punch in the nose. Biden’s climate czar, Kerry made his remarks at about the time a video surfaced of him defending his international travel on private jets by saying he is “working to win the battle of climate change.”
In other words, he is so important that he must be exempt from the rules he plans to impose on the little people.
Another Biden obsession fraught with potential consequences is his repeated claim that America is laced with “systemic racism.” Although he has spent nearly his entire adult life in government, the 78-year-old now parrots teenage activists about how terrible America is.
But it’s not just talk. He used the “systemic racism” phrase several times to justify a series of executive actions, including one on housing policy that could have huge implications. He directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study and counteract any previous policy found to have discriminatory impacts.
That no doubt means a return to the discredited approach of the Obama-Biden administration, which argued that any policy producing a “disparate impact” on racial groups was de facto discriminatory. Biden also replaced the concept of “equality” with “equity,” a change that could lay the groundwork for racial quotas.
If his start accurately reflects the direction he plans to follow, Biden intends to become the most radical president in history. Sensible Americans better wake up before it’s too late.
Woke mob rules at NY Times
In another black eye for the Gray Lady, a survey of New York Times employees found that only 51 percent agree with the statement that “There is a free exchange of views in this company; people are not afraid to say what they really think.”
Worse, The Post reports the survey was taken in December, before the recent firing of top reporter Donald McNeil and podcast producer Andy Mills. They were not ousted because of their work, but because a cancel-culture mob is determined to impose its woke views on employees 24 hours a day, the past included.
Although McNeil apologized for using the N-word in 2019 and Mills’ history of randy behavior eight years ago was known when he was hired, both were ousted in victories for the mob.
Top editor Dean Baquet has only himself to blame. He lost control of the newsroom and his willingness to surrender is creating a culture of fear and loathing, where people are afraid to speak honestly lest the mob come for them.
The Times wants to tell the country how to live and think, but can’t even get its own house in order.
The politics of party destruction
Dr. Ruth Cohen neatly sums up the mood in Washington, writing:
“The Dems want to destroy Trump and all those who embrace the Republican Party. They tolerate no survivors, only turncoats. Nothing else matters until they succeed. Is that a government?”
GameStop seen as sign of a bubble