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“We are no longer the world’s laughingstock.”

3 min read

That is one line that jumped out at me from this Washington Post opinion piece by Jennifer Rubin that describe Joe Biden as “Distinguished ol of the week” while pointing out that “No progress was possible without Biden”.

I  am taking time from planning, writing tests, and grading papers for the forthcoming final week of 3rd quarter because I very much think this is a column that those here will enjoy.

Historian Jon Meacham thought highly of it, as you can see by this tweet:

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Rubin is not uncritical of all that Biden has done, for example, not being positive about the failure to sanction the Saudi Crown Prince for the death of Kashoggi.  Still, it is in the context of — among other things — the quality of the Biden administration that Rubin offers the phrase I chose for the title of this post.

But consider just these following snips:

Without an accomplished covid-19 task force, a first-rate White House communications operation, an impressive Cabinet, as well as mayors and governors from both sides of the aisle, a federal vaccination program would not have launched successfully nor would the public have embraced the need for a stimulus package.

It was Biden who stuck to a center-left course to win the nomination; who embraced Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to unify the party; and who ran a disciplined campaign and performed admirably at two debates. It was Biden who delivered an uplifting inauguration address and strove to win over House and Senate Republicans — but remained determined to go “big.” And no one but Biden, whose personal losses make him the quintessential healing president, could have delivered such an empathetic, hopeful speech on Thursday.

Biden follows this by describing Biden’s first 50 days as the most impressive of any President since FDR.

Perhaps the key paragraph is this:

Contrary to some cynical pundits, Biden was not “lucky” to win in 2020. He is not a gaffe machine; indeed, he is religiously on-message and often eloquent. He did not play it safe with his vice-presidential pick. He did not relent in his search for a Cabinet that is the most diverse in history. Far from milquetoast moderates, his Cabinet nominees are stocked with “firsts,” including the first openly gay Cabinet secretary, the first Native American, the first female treasury secretary and the first African American defense secretary. He has not wavered from his promise to allow the Justice Department to conduct investigations and prosecutions free from political interference. And while he has used executive orders on a range of issues, he has recognized that Congress must pass legislation on immigration, voting rights, gun safety and other contentious topics.

To which I should note that as someone who served for decades in the Senate and as principle liaison back to that chamber for 8 years under Obama he understands the balance necessary between executive power and the importance of Congressional engagement (even if it might need to bypass any desire for bipartisanship at the expense of achievements).

I will close with one more snip, starting partway through Rubin’s penultimate paragraph through the end of her column:

It is long past time to stop underestimating Biden, knocking his political acumen or doubting his ability to connect with ordinary Americans above the din of nonsensical social and right-wing media. He has had one of the best launches in recent presidential memory.
We should not be blind to the tremendous challenges he faces and the likelihood for stumbles in the weeks and months ahead. That said, for a remarkable 50 days, we can say, well done, Mr. President.

Well done, indeed!

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