• Daniel Ethan Finneran

Expectations Of A Biden Presidency

November 2020

The hallowed day is soon approaching—for some, with far too hasty a step, yet for many others, with insufficient speed—on which the President of the United States will be inaugurated. Whether that role is to be occupied by the embattled incumbent, that extraordinary man to whom, despite four years of constant exposure, we’ve not yet fully acclimated ourselves, or, as is the likelier case, by the near senescent contender, the intellectually diminished yet somewhat less offensive figure by whom few are inspired, and none is enthused, Inauguration Day is to tell.

On that day, immersed in the crippling chill of a late-January’s wind, outside the building around which such antiquity weighs and electricity hums, an old administration will yield to a new, and one septuagenarian will defer to his elder. In all likelihood, and in the hopeful event that each state, or at least those about whose electoral processes we’ve been given just reason to be suspicious, can defend themselves against accusations of illegitimacy, abuse, and fraud, this elder politician, approaching a new title of dignity as he does a new decade of life, will be the Democrat, Joe Biden. The slightly younger, though incomparably more vivacious of the two, Donald Trump, will recede from the stage. He’ll exit the celebrated residence in which he, like all presidents since John Adams, temporarily lived, but he’ll never completely depart from our nightmares, or remove himself from our dreams.

Of course, it should go without saying that his opponent, this longtime Senator from Delaware and recent understudy to Barack Obama, isn’t quite yet deserving of the title, “president-elect”. At least not yet, he’s not. Indeed, the news media is the sole entity by whom this honorific has been conferred, to whom, despite its repeated shortcomings and its tenuous allegiance to the facts, we’re still encouraged to devote our credulity and entrust our confidence. As seekers after truth, and enemies of cant, we’re impatient to find, perhaps even eager to create, other sources of news, reliable and honest ones, upon which this bullying, biased a Leviathan can’t press its heavy weight. With any luck, we’ll escape its crushing grasp, and spot along the horizon alternative sites at whose inviting gates the truth is always welcome, and from whose sky, obscurity is forever cast away.

Relieved of that digression, to which, admittedly, I’ll be tempted to return, I’d like to use this piece and think about the future of our politics. The final results of last week’s election—against which, consistent with his famously stubborn character, President Trump is issuing a defiant public response and a quixotic legal fight—appear obvious, if not technically final. Pace the legacy media, Joe Biden will be the President-elect, and, not long thereafter, the forty-sixth president of these United States. The length of time he spends in that role, however, is the actuary’s best guess: I forecast he’ll exceed the tenure of William Henry Harrison, but fall short of that of William McKinley.

That’s the conceit of a single man’s prediction; only time will tell. What’s almost certain, though, is that Joe Biden will spend at least a brief while as the president of this land. Unpalatable though this may seem, this is a reality to which many Trump-supporters must inure themselves, and for which GOP should be prepared. Just the same, it’s a reality to which supporters of Biden can’t make but a premature and rather haughty claim.

It’s not too premature, however, to go ahead and imagine the type of policy that a Biden Administration might pursue. I suppose, first, that much of this depends on the results of what could be the state of Georgia’s most consequential election to date. There, in that charming state of peaches, pecans, and Stacey Abrams’ indefatigable cries of electoral foul play, a “run-off” Senate race is forthcoming. It’s a unique and frightful contest, triggered by each incumbents’ inability to secure more than fifty percent of the vote, upon which control of the upper-chamber of the Congress hinges. Should the two Democrats claim victory in this election upon which every anxious eye is fixed, Georgia—and, more importantly, the entire legislative branch in Washington D.C.—will be theirs to do as they please.

This, of course, would be a balance of power by which the freshly inaugurated Biden and his team would be immensely advantaged. With control over the Executive Branch and, on most days, it seems, over the Judicial as well, his party would have the ability (and would doubtless lack the restraint) to pursue every type of “progressive” law and to codify every “woke” decree.

Let’s assume, ceteris paribus, that the Democrats lose the race in Georgia, and the Senate is retained by the Republicans. Every indication points to this end. And while the power of House of Representatives still leans to the left, it feels as though this mighty pendulum is eager to shift. In the dizzying course of this strange electoral cycle, ten Democratic seats in the lower chamber were lost. When viewed in contrast to the “Blue wave” of which we were assured, on which we were encouraged to bet good money, this was quite the surprise. More than that, it was an untimely defeat and an uncomfortable rebuke to what was supposed to be their God-given, socialist, racialist “mandate”.

What, then, if burdened by the intransigence of the opposition party in the Senate, and chastened by an unexpectedly weakened majority in the House, will a Biden presidency achieve?

One might look first at domestic, and then at foreign concerns. As it pertains to the former, an emphasis on COVID-19 will persist. Given the cool and wintry weather with which northern states will be made to contend, an ominous “second-wave” of the virus is expected. Indeed, we see the deadly effects of this recrudescence now. Numbers of infected individuals are increasing as millions of people—in search of refuge from the assaults of the weather—begin to congregate in their poorly-ventilated office buildings and stuffy homes. In these settings of circulated air and unavoidable confinement, in which employees and residents are closely bunched, the disease is frighteningly mobile. It’s possible, though, that the greatest increase in infections will occur weeks prior to Joe Biden’s recitation of the oath. Whatever he does, then, with his newfound authority (a national “mask mandate”?) will prove more symbolic than significant.

The first real achievement for which he’ll be applauded, by which the optimism of the financial markets will be quickly restored, is sure to be another COVID-19 stimulus package. It’s not as though one isn’t already in the making. Just prior to the Presidential election, such a package was presented to the Democrat leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, by whom it was swiftly, and perhaps myopically batted down. The fact that she did so irritated many, not only those on the other side with whom she’ll always disagree, but those of her own party. As it happens, these are the same members upon whose confidence the continuation of her role as leader is dependent. Her refusal to accept a bill was a risky political gambit, one for which her supposed tactical brilliance, and her ample majority in the congress, are both likely to have suffered.

Other domestic agenda items might include an executive solution to the problem of DACA, a nomination of a new justice for the Supreme Court (unless the honorable Stephen Breyer, in an attempt to imitate the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dares fate and the predictable lifespan of man; he could attempt to push his tenure into 2024, when he’ll be an astonishing eighty-six years of age), an invigoration of the Affordable Care Act, and a return to the status quo ante with regard to Title IX. Doubtless, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it serves, at the very least, to adjust the mind to the types of changes that are imminently to come.

When it comes to foreign policy, as is always the case, Biden will have the opportunity to work with greater latitude, and to exercise more strength. The job for which the president is given his freest hand, and is therefore most responsible, is to shape the country’s policy beyond its own borders. He’s certain to re-enter the much-esteemed, though rather inefficacious Paris Climate Accord, the non-binding, trans-national commitment from which President Trump boldly removed us. Waves of celebration will accompany the enlightened move, despite the fact that America, having gone about her business outside the aegis of the Accord, has never been so efficient, so advanced, and so clean.

Similarly, Biden is sure to commit America, once again, to the World Health Organization—a group from which we might preferably prolong our separation. Unfortunately, this entity, to which we’ve allocated millions of dollars over the course of many years, has proven itself unequal to the task of confronting an international disease about which it, and few others, had early knowledge. Thus, it would seem that two of the three words by which its name is formed are inapplicable to its current state: it’s neither worldly, nor healthy. I won’t be so bold as to question its organizational skill, but it’s far from what it once was, or aspired to be.

What’s clear is that it’s no longer an impartial body dedicated to the amelioration of health. It’s no longer the purely scientific group it once alleged itself to be, the disinterested assembly of specialists upon which politics hadn’t an ability infringe. Rather, it’s proven itself an obsequious, venal, useless organization by which one country alone is advantaged. That country, of course, is none other than China, the nefarious communist state famous for its state-sponsored abortions, its coerced sterilizations, its poorly supervised contagions, and its unconcealed genocides. Perhaps the sickest nation of them all, China is the one by whom the lofty WHO—again, an organization putatively dedicated to world health—is controlled like a puppet on a string.

He might also try to re-enter the failed Iran Nuclear Agreement, that pact between the UN’s “P5+1” and the theocratic state. It continues to be sold to us as a brilliant, yet incompletely realized diplomatic coup, a negotiation for the ages of whose dubious merits and unverified results, the Obama Administration is still trying to convince us. What might that mean for our improved relations with Israel, that beleaguered state with whom we share not only a profitable economic arrangement and intel pipeline, but a political philosophy that the rest of the region rejects? In the presence of a newly-strengthened Iran, will the various peace accords (of which the Trump Administration was the author) just as quickly vanish? Will the Iranian mullahs continue funding the same Islamo-Bolsheviks by whom their murderous ideology is carried out abroad, or will they proceed in their development of a nuclear weapon that may eventually puncture the ephemeral tranquility of Israeli skies, and perhaps those of Europe as well?

Which leads me next, naturally, to one of President Trump’s earliest, yet undoubtedly most contentious executive orders: the so-called “Muslim Ban”, his moratorium on travel from thirteen countries for which he’s never ceased being criticized. Of course, this title—of which its many detractors, both in the media and the Democrat Party, were the originators—is what we might call a dysphemism, or a phrase that casts a deliberately negative light. An example to the contrary might be seen in calling childhood arrivals to this country, “Dreamers”, instead of undocumented immigrants (a more anodyne term) or illegal aliens (a more legally accurate one).

The fundamental merits or deficiencies of the order won’t be argued here. We’ll only concern ourselves with whether or not they’re to be continued as they stand, or strengthened in the administration to come. Neither of the listed options seems likely to occur. Rather, Biden and his team will almost certainly rescind the order the first opportunity they get. In so doing, the heart of the humanitarian will leap, as the spirit of the globalist and the cosmopolitan clasp hands and begin to dance. But might we, in a fleeting moment of sobriety, consider the optics and the repercussions of such an order?

For one, if recent events in France and Austria are to illuminate our perspective, we might hesitate before encouraging the arrival of unvetted individuals traveling from these terrorist-sponsoring states. Islam, a religion historically unacquainted with the ideals of liberalism, tolerance, free expression, and peace, hasn’t recently enjoyed a favorable cycle in the news.

When the Parisian middle-school teacher, Samuel Paty, was decapitated by a radical Islamic terrorist wielding a cleaver, the Western world was shocked. Weeks later, when three more innocent French citizens were murdered in the Notre Dame Basilica in the city of Nice (gruesomely, yet again, with a knife and a few “virtual” decapitations), its shock began to succumb to anger. Days after that, in the city of Vienna, four Austrians were shot to death. Their murderer was only recently released from prison (for having attempted to join ISIS).

Uncomfortable with pointing out, much less castigating the barbarities fostered by this religion, to which each of these killers was jointly devoted, and by which they were similarly, savagely inspired, our anger relented. It submitted to indifference. If only to avoid commenting on them, we looked beyond these events toward other news. Willfully blind, it seems we’d rather die at the hands of jihadists, than offend an irreconcilable creed.

Given this context, the removal of a “Muslim” travel ban appears to be quite untimely. Also, are we not still contending with an international virus, a deadly disease to which, clearly, international travel is wholly unconducive? Irrespective of the religion professed by their state, should we encourage foreign citizens to come to our country and possibly add to the spread? Is it xenophobic or, worse, Islamophobic to contend that we ought not?

We’ll soon learn, when Joe Biden is president, and normality returns.

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