Low expectations are not hard to meet, but what about Biden’s next three years?

David Pakman
Liberal Opinion

David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show
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One way to assess President Biden’s first year in office is looking back at expectations. Given mine were pretty low for Joe – and considering the alternative – he did okay. He put four major accomplishments on the board, but the real test for him lies ahead in the next three years.

Let’s start with his accomplishments.

Number one: Biden signed off on the third COVID stimulus which not only provided much needed financial support but also revealed the true colors of the Republicans.

When it was Donald Trump doing the stimulus for COVID, Democrats participated and went with it. When it was Joe Biden doing a very similar but slightly smaller version of what Trump did, he had zero Republican support. And so Joe Biden’s first major accomplishment, which was the COVID stimulus, immediately told us the degree to which Republicans would try to obstruct and prevent him from doing anything even the things that they agreed with when it was Donald Trump doing them.

Number two: Biden deserves credit for the rapid distribution of the COVID vaccine.

You can argue that he also deserves blame for the fact that more people didn’t get vaccinated. Now, I know, I know, Republicans who refuse to wear masks and refuse to get vaccinated are criticizing Joe Biden for the fact that there’s a lot of COVID and that there isn’t more vaccination. I understand the insanity, but one could argue the buck stops with Joe Biden. 

Number three: Biden led the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Yes, it was controversial, but at least he got it done which is more than you can say for his predecessor.

Donald Trump wanted to leave even earlier, and it would’ve been chaotic. Trump failed to do it, but his supporters wanted him to do it. Joe Biden did. And then they criticized Joe Biden. It was the right decision morally, and it would’ve been chaotic no matter what happened

Number four: Biden pushed through the infrastructure bill.

Democrat progressives hoped for other action from Biden like decriminalizing marijuana or forgiving student loan debt, but we didn’t really expect either of those things to happen. We expected a little and we got a little.

It’s a different story for the rest of his term.

Can Joe Biden do something in the next year to help Democrats in the fall and in the next three years to prevent Republicans from winning again in 2024? I am very concerned about that, as I’ve said before. If Trump is the nominee, and it’s Biden versus Trump, I don’t feel good about Biden. If Trump is the nominee, and Biden says, I’m not running, and it’s Kamala, I don’t feel good about Kamala. The only scenario for me that would feel good and exciting about 2024 would be a younger, more energetic democratic candidate. I don’t know if that person exists. 

We set the bar low for year one, but Biden faces higher expectations in the years ahead.

 

Let’s talk about Joe Biden’s first full year as president. We are within days of that milestone. 

And it’s a good time to think about what this year has been and compare it to what’s the ideal for a social Democrat, progressive like myself to think about it, compared to what it would have been had the other guy won in November of 2020, uh, which he very obviously did not to anyone that understands arithmetic and also to compare it to expectations, I think is an important question mark. 

The big accomplishments for Joe Biden in his first year were number one, the third COVID stimulus. 

Remember COVID stimulus, stimuli one and two happening under Donald Trump. COVID stimulus three happening under Joe Biden. 

When it was Donald Trump doing the stimulus for COVID Democrats participated and went with it. 

When it was Joe Biden doing a very similar but slightly smaller version of what Trump did, he had zero Republican support. 

And so Joe Biden’s first major accomplishment, which was the COVID stimulus, immediately told us the degree to which Republicans would try to obstruct and prevent him from doing anything even the things that they agreed with when it was Donald Trump doing them. That’s number one.

Second major Biden accomplishment: the rollout of vaccination. 

Now we have this horrible situation now, where, because of the Omicron variant, for which no world leader deserves blame. The vaccines increasingly are a tool to prevent you from dying and to prevent you from ending up in the hospital and to prevent you from being seriously ill. Against this new variant, the vaccines are significantly less effective at actually preventing infection and transmission. And that’s something the world is contending with, but Joe Biden does deserve credit for the rapid scale up of vaccination. 

And you can argue that he also deserves blame for the fact that more people didn’t get vaccinated.

Now, I know, I know, Republicans who refuse to wear masks and refuse to get vaccinated are criticizing Joe Biden for the fact that there’s a lot of COVID and that there isn’t more vaccination. I understand the insanity, but one could argue the buck stops with Joe Biden. 

The third major accomplishment of Joe Biden, and there is controversy around this one is Joe Biden got us out of Afghanistan finally. Now there was significant controversy over how he did it. It was chaotic. There was this botched drone strike, absolutely without any mitigating phrases whatsoever. That was a total botched job. And the buck stops with Biden. I have no interest at all in defending him. He wasn’t the one doing it, but doesn’t matter. He was the president. 

But getting out of Afghanistan was the right decision. We had been there 20 years. There was no credible way to argue: if we stay six more months or one more year or two more years or three more years, that then it would be the right time to leave.

No matter when the U.S. left it would’ve been chaotic. Donald Trump wanted to leave even earlier, and it would’ve been chaotic. Trump failed to do it, but his supporters wanted him to do it. Joe Biden did. And then they criticized Joe Biden. It was the right decision morally, and it would’ve been chaotic no matter what happened. Is it tragic when life is lost in so doing? Of course, of course it is. But look at the life loss from being there as well. So third major accomplishment.

Fourth is the infrastructure bill we talked about extensively. So those are really the four major Biden accomplishments as I see them. 

Now we are getting into questions about, is the US going to have a role to play in defending Ukraine from possible Russian aggression? 

And it looks as though the US will at minimum be sending military aid, okay, we’re gonna see sort of where that goes.

We’re going to see where the virus goes in the next four to six months as Omicron is already starting to wane. 

So compared to my expectations of Joe Biden, it’s as expected. It’s, if you’re, you know, you, you are, he is 100% on target versus my expectations. Now my expectations were not particularly high. 

My expectations were never that he was going to federally push to decriminalize marijuana. A lot of people wanted him to do that. He seemed to have no interest. 

I never expected Joe Biden to forgive student loan debt. Now he’s only one year in, he has three more years. Maybe he will do it. He never seemed interested in doing it. I never thought he would. And so when I expressed the fact that there are tons of things I would like him to do, they are not things I expected him to do.

So when I step back as a socially democratic, progressive, Joe Biden, his orders of magnitude better than Donald Trump, would’ve been the most cartoonish presidency I can remember. 

And I lived through the Bush years, both Bush years, but more recently, George W. Bush. And there was no doubt that it was the right decision to vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Did I expect more from Joe Biden than what we’ve seen? No, I expected a little bit and we got a little bit, and it’s all sort of what we would expect. 

Now, the question becomes, can Joe Biden do something in the next year to help Democrats in the fall and in the next three years to prevent Republicans from winning again in 2024?

I am very concerned about that, as I’ve said before.  If Trump is the nominee, and it’s Biden versus Trump, I don’t feel good about Biden. If Trump is the nominee and Biden says I’m not running and it’s Kamala, I don’t feel good about Kamala. The only scenario for me that would feel good and exciting about 2024 would be a younger, more energetic democratic candidate. I don’t know if that person exists. I don’t think it’s AOC. I don’t even know if AOC would be old enough in 2024, doesn’t matter, I don’t know who that person would be. So that’s my thought. 

That’s my sense of Joe Biden’s four major accomplishments and how they compare to my expectations.


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