Seeking the Post-COVID Sunshine: Time for Citizen Joe to Bloom Again
By Denis Bright
Good fortune has given Joe Biden a chance to bloom again. His administration is perfecting an older style of Democratic Party idealism. This was once mainstream in those industrial and mining towns of the Appalachians and contemporary Mid-Western Rust Belt. This dynamism in the hands of the oldest of US presidents. His judgment was tested by 36 continuous years as senator from Delaware (1972-2008) years and vice-president during Obama’s two terms in office. From an initially close result, Joe Biden left the senate in 2008 with a 65 percent mandate from Delaware constituents.
Citizen Joe is taking up contemporary sustainability issues like federal financial support for electric car production and supportive battery technology.
News insiders and Trump loyalists wait for a break in this emergent record of new public service. Only some irregular series of events can derail the domestic policy agendas. There are always risks from events like a sex scandal to affect the Democratic working majority in the senate, a major market correction, a surge in mass migration from Central America or a flare-up on a strategic flash-point. Another negative angle against the Biden administration comes from speculation about the president’s mental and physical health (Fox News 26 July 2021).
Ironically, a near octogenarian president is left standing to deliver an Age of Aquarius domestic agenda in the spirit of the lyrics from the musical Hair which was playing on Broadway when Joe Biden was first elected in 1972.
The CNBC series, Make It (26 March 2021) summarizes his credentials:
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has some great insights on this question. In his memoir, A Promised Land, he details the qualities that led him to choose current President Joe Biden as his running mate in his 2008 campaign.
They were both Democratic senators, but other than that, Obama writes, “we couldn’t have been more different.” Obama was born in Hawaii and had lived in Indonesia. Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and spent most of his life in Delaware.
Obama was cerebral and reserved, later nicknamed “No-Drama Obama.” Biden was “all warmth” and talkative. Obama was running as a newcomer to politics; Biden had been in the Senate for 35 years. Obama is supremely disciplined in all his public communications, whereas Biden, Obama observes, is a “man without inhibitions, happy to share whatever popped into his head.”
Joe’s triumph over personal misfortune is legendary as captured by Katherine Igoe (4 May 2020) for Marie Claire:
Biden lost his wife and daughter to a tragic car accident in 1972. He was sworn into the Senate at his sons’ bedsides – they had been critically injured in the crash but subsequently recovered.
Biden apparently traveled over 2 million miles, the equivalent of four years of his life, on Amtrak. He’s a huge advocate for rail travel, facilitating over $2 billion loan in 2016 to help them update trains and stations.
The political values of the Biden administration are now embedded in the latest media releases from the White House. I would recommend them to readers who seek a better understanding of the changes in presidential communication style since the Trump era. Welcome to a new era of cautious progressivism.
The COVID-19 priorities from the Biden-Harris team on the White House web site stand in contrast to the shrill rhetoric of the Trump era:
“THIS ISN’T ABOUT POLITICS. IT’S ABOUT SAVING LIVES.”
PRESIDENT BIDEN, SEPTEMBER 16, 2020.
Like JFK’s presidential victory in 1960, sheer luck brought Joe Biden to the White House after the difficult contest on 3 November 2020. Trump performed surprisingly well in Mid-Western states afflicted by investment fatigue as jobs had been exported to low cost countries for the previous 40 years or more.
Joe Biden’s forte is years of cross the aisle consensus-building which is likely to be popular with voters in difficult times associated with an upsurge in COVID-related public health problems at a time of economic uncertainty which is forcing many moderate Republicans to support an Infrastructure Bill that has been revised through negotiations across the congressional aisles (The Hill, 5 August 2021):
Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to pass in the fall a $3.5 trillion package packed with elements of President Biden’s agenda left out of the pending infrastructure bill.
Other conservatives have warned GOP colleagues that voting for the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a political mistake because it gives Biden a big win and advances his larger agenda.
“My own view is that this is Republicans supporting the Joe Biden agenda and it’s a very woke, leftist agenda,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “He’s keeping his promise, but that’s not an agenda I support and certainly Republican voters don’t support it. I think it’s going to be hard to explain to them why you were part of helping this get through.”
Care for racial minorities can be an integral part of Biden’s domestic agendas as in the 1960s. The less than radical business think tank at the McKinsey Global Institute released a paper in June 2021 on the occupational and income divide which afflicts Black workers (17 June 2021):
Republican loyalists of course hunger for a return of the old politics of American greatness. The appeal of Republican loyalists is embedded in the mosaic of congressional seats which will be all open for re-election on 8 November 2022.
The Contemporary Political Mosaic of US Congressional Districts
The bright blue hues of Democratic gains from the high-water benchmark of the 2018 Congressional elections are few and far between. There was just one net gain in Georgia and two in North Carolina. The three net Democratic gains in congressional districts were all female representatives who stood in districts where Trump stalwarts decided not to recontest their existing or modified districts.
In Florida, the Republicans gained two additional congressional districts on 3 November 2020. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis persists with opposition to mask-wearing even as COVID-19 Delta cases surge (PBS News, 3 August 2021):
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to back down from his stance against mask mandates on Tuesday, even as the state broke its record again for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
With the much more contagious delta variant now spreading exponentially, Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day. Hospitalizations have increased 11 times over the 1,000 COVID patients hospitalized in mid-June. About 2,400 patients are now in intensive care.
DeSantis said he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, asserting that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity.
Marginal Democratic congressional districts are easily unsettled by jingoistic rhetoric from Republican contenders who are eyeing-off opportunities at next year’s mid-term elections.
Trump loyalists at state and local government levels are finding every excuse possible to delay the delivery of funds for vital social recovery projects to state and local government agencies (PBS News, 3 August 2021):
WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen briefed House Democrats Tuesday on the administration’s efforts to prevent widespread housing evictions after a moratorium lapsed, but lawmakers protesting outside the U.S. Capitol said more needs to be done, intensifying pressure on President Joe Biden to act.
Yellen told Democrats on a private call about the work underway to ensure some $47 billion in federal housing aid approved during the COVID-19 crisis makes it to renters and landlords. The White House has said state and local governments have been slow to push out that federal money and is pressing them to do so swiftly after the eviction moratorium expired over the weekend.
Such national issues also interact with local loyalties. The Congressional Districts 26 and 27 in Florida with their large constituents of Cuban American loyalists were regained by the Republican Party on 3 November 2020. Economy recovery from the Pandemic Recession of 2020 is embedded in extraordinary levels of deficit spending and the current Infrastructure Bill which has been negotiated with moderate Republicans to continue the favourable trends in annualized GDP data:
Percentage US GDP Growth Data
From the balmy precincts of Congressional District 26 stretching from the outskirts of Miami to the Florida Keys and Key West, newly elected Republican Carlos Gimenez claims to be representing articulate common sense values with his opposition with almost every initiative from the Biden administration. The lower profile for news coverage of strategic flash-points is improving the focus on progressive domestic policy initiatives.
Perhaps Republican congressman from District 26 in Florida could forget about the possible future use of military forces to stoke civil unrest in Cuba. A chat with President Biden about the value of a restored ferry service from Key West to Havana might be more productive.
It’s a long way from the White House to Australian domestic politics but the change of rhetoric from the Biden administration is a good assurance against the possibility of a khaki elections focus here in 2022.
Denis Bright (pictured) is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback from readers advances the cause of citizens’ journalism. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Replies Button.
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It’s been a lot quieter since Joe Biden became president.
i respectfully disagree with every word in this article,and as i regard myself as a genuine progressive thinker who is not fooled by mainstream media Neo Lib rhetoric/propaganda, i trust the Editors will produce a counter narrative to this Mickey Mouse/Alice In Wonderland fantasy.
Ah Denis – suspect you are casting pearls before swine. But I suspect you know that already.
Seems to me that the US is now the classic failed state – and at any number of levels. Their verbalised values, for example, are not their lived values. And the gap expands almost on a daily basis. Even their much revered Constitution lies largely in tatters because so much of its assumed ‘common sense’ conventions have been trashed.
Citizen Joe’s reign, at its very best, will be benign.
Nevertheless, it’s a great read.
Thanks Denis for this virtual coverage of US issues.
Biden’s commitment to Climate Change are a real wake up call .
Maybe Australia could follow the U.S. in this rather than into conflicts all the time .
Biden’s record of public service is truly amazing. What a change in just one year.
Easy to understand coverage of US Issues.
A fair appraisal of Biden from Denis with implications for Australian domestic policies.
Thanks Mark. The text provided to AIM Netwwork was actually the draft file which I sent by mistake to AIM News Network. . The final article actually had a different lead pic and a smoother delivery.
Those failing imperial states can cause real trouble when they under-estimate their potential for causing havic to humanity. as shown by the antics of Imperial Russia and Britain in 1914.
I think that there is some comfort in Biden’s domestic agenda and his administration’s capacity to get seventeen Republicans across to support the Infrastructure Bill in the Senate.
I will try to attach the final version of my article and encourage John O’Callaghan to keep interacting. My articles are indeed designed to promote further critical discussion.
What surprised me from my research for this article was the influence of far-right agendas across the US electorate in the mosaic of those 435 Congressional seats. Districts in less developed states like West Virginia are certainly in a political rabbit hole. I like John’s analogy.
It seems that the file was too long to transmit as an attached file.
Biden is restoring America’s image as the land of hope. Appropriate interpretation of the change, Denis. The future is always uncertain. In the Alice and Wonderland traditions, a golden afternoon can become a soggy day for a boat ride. Risk taking is part of the fun of living fully.
Biden has a strong track record to lead The US recovery. Thanks for a well-researched article.
Biden is well placed with his experience to lead the recovery. Thanks for an interesting article.
Dennis can ignore extremes of blame and praise, for the article has plenty to allow anyone a way towards researching, evaluating, concluding…as with many an article like this, one may find, in just a year or two, how irrelevant much of it was. But we are not to know as the future laughs at us…just being post-Trump is a mercy to civilised discourse.
Denis and Phil Pryor seem to be one the same wavelength in anticipating future trends. For the moment,, it is perhaps better to talk up the candle offered by Biden’s recipe for change than to curse the darkness by supporting a minor party that only advantages the Republicans even if it offers a more left-leaning agenda.
Santiago, you could be right, as any of us might. As an old historian, I can’t predict the past well…(at times). Let us see; I would not suggest a vote for a minor party in USA elections, but minority candidates, e g, Sanders, are common enough and essential to “democracy’s” health. A “left leanng” agenda seems un-USA in these days of egofixated manias at all levels. The big future trend, if it happens, is a corporate somersaulting on this fossil fuel society and the threatened losses in value over change and time. Black Rock and many banks and insurance groups are facing this.
Kudos for the optimism Denis but I think your wall-papering of the rank & cum-spattered patina that is the reality of modern America won’t stand the test of time. Biden is a captive of the MIC, always has been, always will be; a key architect of the Patriot Act, a fossilised supporter of the fossil-fuel industry – 2,000 new permits for fracking & drilling since his inauguration, a patsy who’s putty in the hands of the hawks who argue for ever-increasing obscene allocations of taxpayers’ monies towards the military, a man who argues, albeit ala ventriloquist’s doll, that China is the threat de jour and must be stopped in its tracks asap and has appointed warmongers and arguable war criminals to positions of seniority in the bureaucracies that would wage hot wars against the rising Asian power. Madness, all of it! Amerika is an cancerous canker on the face of the planet, sadly enough for the plebs and otherwise good folk whose fates find them within its borders, but the oligarchy, kakistocracy and ponerologists who pull the strings have zero interest in the fate of any but themselves and their insane obsession with wealth and power, and like all cancers, they won’t stop until they’ve exploited whatever resources they can lay their grubby hands on. Historians will write, one day, about the lunacy of untrammelled capitalism and how that country’s role was front & centre in the headlong plunge towards social collapse. Biden isn’t a modern-day hero, merely a player in a drama way outside of his capacity to influence for good.
Thanks to Canguro for taking the time to make a comment. with an excellent final punch-line: Biden isn’t a modern-day hero, merely a player in a drama way outside of his capacity to influence for good. I don’t seek to offer the final word in offering articles to promote critical discussion. Representative democracy has been degraged by generations of patriotic rage and khaki elections. Keep up the inspirational comments Canguro in this post-Afghanistan era to win the future back for peace and sustainable development.