As he approaches his first St. Patrick’s Day in the White House, President Joe Biden must be reflecting on the rub of the green that has got him off to such a remarkable start. The luck of the Irish has certainly been with him.
Biden got one big idea right. He had to restore confidence in American government to make it clear to the American people that help was at hand and that the dire issues of Covid-19 and the economy were at last being addressed by the government.
In that respect he is directly challenging the legacy of another Irish American president, Ronald Reagan, who proclaimed government the problem not the solution. So far Biden is winning that debate as it relates to a crisis like no other since the Great Depression.
He knows after his 40-plus year career that there is no more forceful power in America than a government that actually works for people. Biden has ignored the catch cries, the personal attacks and the invitation to meaningless negotiations that the GOP have sought to lure him into. He puts his head down and works on saving America and ignores the dog and pony show served up by the Twitter/Fox News circus performers.
One can only imagine what the country would look like if Donald Trump had won re-election. His petty vindictiveness would be on full play, with investigations of Hunter Biden and perhaps even Joe Biden, and Barack Obama, and certainly one of Hillary Clinton by a lapdog attorney general chosen ready to do his dirty work.
Instead, there is a welcome calm and silence in the White House. Biden’s agenda is clear. He has spent his time managing the Covid crisis and putting a coherent plan in place.
Now we can see the working of good government as over two million Americans are vaccinated daily and there is none of the sheer confusion and mayhem that was such a feature of the Trump handling of the crisis in the last months of his presidency.
When it works well, as it did in the 1930s with FDR’s New Deal which brought America out of a catastrophic depression, an active, interventionist government is a potent force.
Likewise, the Covid relief bill is a powerful mechanism like the New Deal that will help America get back on its feet now that the virus at last seems somewhat in the rearview mirror. The relief is targeted precisely where it should be, helping the most needy and vulnerable while boosting small businesses, the beating heart of America’s economy.
The fact that it passed the Senate without a Republican vote is a sad reflection on a party that once stood for enlightened self-interest. These days it is selling a foul mixture of conspiracy theories and voter suppression and joining with proto-fascist groups like the Proud Boys.
After Covid, Biden intends to attack infrastructure and voting rights, two laudable projects. Another way that he’ll Make America Great Again, in reality, not just by a red hat slogan.
Republicans as usual are hell-bent on stopping people voting, the last desperate lunge of a failing party that is seeing its bedrock southern base (think Georgia, Virginia) slip away.
This St. Patrick’s Day, Biden will be celebrating his favorite holiday less than usual. His focus is rightfully on the pandemic and its economic impact. That is how it should be.
There will be plenty of time for wearing the green in 2022. Erin Go Bragh, Joe.