May 16, 2021

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Biden’s Post-Trump Honeymoon – WSJ

4 min read

When President

Biden

addresses Congress Wednesday evening, he won’t salute his predecessor but he should.

Donald Trump’s

raucous Presidency has let the Democrat sell a radical agenda in the soothing tones of a return to normal, while the vaccine project known as Operation Warp Speed has teed up the end of the pandemic and an economic revival. This is the main story of Mr. Biden’s first 100 days.

***

Mr. Biden won the White House as the anti-Trump, and he has continued to benefit from that persona in his first months. Half the country is relieved merely to have a President who isn’t constantly brawling on TV in their living rooms. Whether by design, or necessity due to his reduced capacities, the decision to husband Mr. Biden’s public appearances has been shrewd. He’s the calm after the four-year Trump storm.

The Democrat has also been lucky in timing, as he took the oath of office as the Covid-19 vaccines were coming online. The White House pretense that it inherited a Covid mess is nonsense. The vaccine production was pre-planned. While some state rollouts were bumpy when there was more vaccine demand than supply, the main job of the Administration was to accelerate the distribution that was already underway.

The same goes for the economy, which has been growing since last July, and its acceleration was inevitable as people returned to normal commercial and social life. As New York, Michigan and California have followed the leadership of Texas and Florida in lifting their lockdowns, the inevitable post-pandemic boom has arrived. The same would have happened if Mr. Trump had won.

This not to begrudge Mr. Biden his good political fortune. Any successful President needs some luck, and any politician will take credit for it. With so much wind at his back, Mr. Biden could be fulfilling his campaign pledge to unify the country and govern in a bipartisan fashion.

Yet the striking fact of his first three months is that he has done the opposite. He has sought to govern from the left, pressing the most progressive domestic agenda in decades with the narrowest Democratic majorities in Congress. He’s governed like

Bernie Sanders

in a hurry despite a 36-year Senate career with no notable causes or ideas. No less than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Mr. Biden has “definitely exceeded expectations that progressives had.”

These columns have parsed this lurch to the left in detail, but the highlights make the point. The largest tax increase since 1968. A spending blowout unseen since the 1960s. Bias toward Big Labor unseen since the 1935 Wagner Act. A de facto guaranteed universal income, through credits and subsidies, that is untethered to work.

Mr. Biden is using climate and race as bludgeons to put government in charge of more of the economy and American life. His climate agenda, masquerading as “infrastructure,” bids to remake the economy—from electricity production, to cars and transportation, to housing, finance and more.

On the culture, Mr. Biden has adopted the language and agenda of critical race theory. The man who canoodled with Senate segregationists is unleashing the administrative state to root out the “systemic racism” of his countrymen. Expect this to manifest itself in education textbooks, military training, bank lending and business hiring.

***

This isn’t the result of some late-life ideological conversion. Mr. Biden has always been a party man above all, and this is where his party is now. The President is governing as Democrats in Congress want him to.

Nancy Pelosi

and

Chuck Schumer,

channeling their Members, are telling the White House to go as far left as the votes will bear. Ignore the Republicans, make whatever modest compromises you need to get

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s

vote, and ram it through. The Senate filibuster may stop some of this, but not because Mr. Biden is opposed.

The Democratic media—that is, nearly all of the media—will dutifully puff up Mr. Biden as the next

FDR.

If the economy keeps roaring into 2022, which it probably will, Democrats figure they could survive the midterm elections. That, at least, is their bet.

The political risk is that Mr. Biden never sought a mandate for any of this. He talked about it only in the most generic terms, and then only when pressed in debate. The press corps and Donald Trump made the election all about the pandemic and Donald Trump.

Democrats have passed the easy part of their program—handing out money and sloganeering about justice. Now comes the price in higher taxes and cultural diktats. As the practical reality of wokism and economic “transformation” make their way into everyone’s lives, Americans may decide this is more ideology than they thought they were getting as the price of being rid of Donald Trump.

Wonder Land: In an era of social media’s emotions, progressive politics is about saving us from constant apocalypse. Images: AFP via Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



2021-04-27 18:53:00

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