President Biden is off to a better start in 2022 than he was in 2021, and anyone who cares about our country should be happy about that. Equally importantly, Biden haters should take off the blinders and admit it.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I issued Biden a C Minus for 2021 (“President Biden’s Troubling First-Year Report Card,” Jan. 29), the lowest first-year grade I’ve given any president. Of course, many still bent on staying loyal to their ‘side’ came out of the woodwork to complain. “Why didn’t you give him an F?” shouted some Biden-bashers. “I’d give him a F if he led us into another Great Depression and if he gave away our nuclear secrets to terrorists,” I replied. In other words, unless Americans by the millions desperately flee the United States for better peace and prosperity elsewhere, I won’t be giving any president an F. For those who don’t get it, an F is a really, really, really bad grade; thankfully, no president has ever deserved one.
At the other end are those – and it’s important to give them a voice because there are so few of them – who believe that I should at least have given Biden something in the B range. That would mean he had an above average first year, which for reasons I stated in my column simply isn’t the case.
But there’s some good news – for Americans as a whole, that is, if not for those plotting to sabotage Biden’s presidency: Biden’s off to a relatively decent start this year.
First and foremost, I like how calm he is in handling Putin regarding Ukraine. His former boss, Barack Obama, famously called Russia a “regional power.” That was perfect, and not unlike George W. Bush, who instead of calling the media names every day, simply said “I don’t read newspapers,” which got so deep under the New York Times’ skin that they shirked their journalistic integrity and went after him like a cheap tabloid, the way the Washington Post did to Donald Trump. But, I digress…
Biden sending troops to nearby NATO countries is exactly the right answer. Moreover, he vowed the that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline collaboration between Germany and Russia will not happen if Russia invades Ukraine. We’ll see if he follows through. Infamously, Obama drew a line in the sand regarding Syria and then ignored it. Let’s hope Biden shows more mettle.
Then, there’s the incident where American troops took out the leader of ISIS. Biden took a victory lap, but in a measured manner. I don’t know why he was so understated (maybe he doesn’t have the energy to act otherwise?) but it’s a good thing, because it shows that whenever the United States gains a battlefield victory, it’s really not a big deal, because after all, we are the world’s only bona fide superpower. It would be like the Super Bowl champions excessively bragging about beating a high school team.
A lot of people don’t understand that domestic policy can turn on a dime, whereas foreign policy decisions have much longer-term implications. For example, there are serious supply chain issues right now, but they won’t last forever. Besides, it’s not the end of the world not to have a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day: just make do with a Hershey’s bar for now and have the fancy chocolates in a few months. But foreign policy decisions endure for decades.
The real problem in America is the millions who continue to become infuriated depending from which media trough they obtain their comfort food. Those who think that Biden, Trump, Obama, etc. deserved an A or F for their time in office overall are living in a simplistic cartoon land, where Wile E. Coyote falls off a steep cliff only to emerge a few seconds later with a cross bandage on his head. They think we live in a world where our system of government is as corrupt as those in banana republics.
Newsflash: Trump did not collude with Russia against the best interests of the United States, and Biden didn’t do the same with China. They both have egos, and they both love power and attention (those who seek to be president usually do). It’s just that Trump doesn’t hide it nearly as well. And they’ll both behave imperfectly at times to advance their own personal interests, but not to the extent of committing treason.
In our annual celebration of Presidents Day, let’s remember Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, who said that politics ends at the water’s edge. At no point was the United States more ominous than during the War of Independence, World Wars I and II, and immediately after 9/11. Why? Because we were united.
Sure, we’ll pick our favorites. Personally, I don’t expect Biden to keep up the good work, even though I hope he does. And, ultimately, I’d like a centrist country, but to get there I think it’s a lot safer to move leftward from the right than rightward from the left, because given the choice, I’d much rather have Ted Cruz than AOC calling the shots. Accordingly, I’ll most likely vote Republican in 2022 and 2024.
But none of that means I can’t give credit where it’s due when Biden does something worthwhile. The media talking heads on Fox and MSNBC won’t, because sadly, their livelihood depends on how many angry half-truths and out-of-context misrepresentations they convey so their audience keeps tuning in.
And for anyone who can’t understand how I can give Biden a C Minus one week and credit him the next: politics is complicated, it’s not a cartoon.