Joe Biden’s True Legacy.
How history is really going to view the impact of the 46th President.
When considering what motivates a politician, and here within the United States in particular, it seems fairly obvious to assert that the pursuit of power and money rise above all other potential factors. There’s a certain level of narcissism involved with being a successful politician as well, and with that, of course, comes concern regarding legacy. While Biden has inarguably spent his entire adult life hoping to become President one day and done what it takes to please his donors over the years to get there, it would be almost naive to ignore the idea that he is also concerned with how history will perceive him. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that regardless of how ineffective he is shaping up to be as a leader, Joe Biden desperately wants to be viewed kindly in history books, remembered as the man who not only led the nation through what is the greatest public health and economic crisis in history, but helped ensure that the country emerged stronger, wiser, and with a renewed sense of commitment to the people who call it home.
Unfortunately for Joe Biden, his true legacy is shaping up to be something entirely different.
Two months in to his Presidency, it feels difficult to deny that among the only campaign promises he made along the way that he intends to keep was to a room full of Wall Street donors, in which he declared that under his leadership, nothing would fundamentally change.
Well, it’s certainly unfolding that way.
For a man who took the time to claim that he wanted to be remembered for having a Presidency with an impact similar to that of FDR’s, Biden has certainly catered to and allowed himself to be held hostage by some of the most conservative elements of the Democratic party. So far, the short tenure of Biden’s time in office has been consumed by essentially allowing West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin to dictate the entirety of his Presidency and the legislative path he’s laid out thus far. Considering how Joe Manchin has supposedly had the final say in everything from the scrapping of the $15 minimum wage to reducing the stimulus bill’s jobless aid, it feels as though it’s not Biden, but Manchin serving as the de facto President.
That said, isn’t it also worth noting that after over forty years in power, many would be right to assume that Biden could stand up to him if he wanted to? Doesn’t that then leave us to assume that he is not in fact being pushed around by the most conservative, destructive voices in his party, but rather that they are moving forward with their demands with his blessing?
Biden ran on healing. He ran on unity, the preservation of “the soul of the nation” and his supposed ability to bring two opposing political parties together to get things done. Unfortunately, catering to the most conservative voices in his party throughout the process of getting his covid-19 bill through the legislative process has done absolutely nothing to bring the Republican party on board. As someone on the left it’s difficult not to look back on the 2020 Presidential primary, and remember the onslaught of loyal liberal voters insisting that Joe Biden was the one who would be able to work with the Republican party, and get them to see the light. As opposed to a legacy of bold action, being known as a President who did what it took to meet this historic moment and take care of the American people, it looks instead as though Biden is more than willing to be a useful tool to the Republican party, implementing center right “compromises” without a single GOP lawmaker on board.
Biden inherited a mess, but so did FDR.
If he wanted to, Biden could cancel student loan debt with the stroke of his pen, freeing up untold of buying and spending power that currently tens of millions of people could only dream of, giving them the psychological freedom that comes along with that in the process as well. He could actively campaign and fight for medicare for all in the middle of a pandemic, holding town halls, campaigning in and airing ads in the states and districts of his opposition. Instead of not even bothering to fight for the $2000 checks he promised would go out immediately, Biden could have put recurring monthly checks for that same amount in the bill and watched as the lawmakers against it attempted to wiggle their way out of denying the American people the relief that is owed to them. Biden could have a legacy of historic proportions, coming to terms with what this moment requires and doing what is required to get it done to the very best of his ability.
Instead, he won’t even fight for a $15 minimum wage.
Biden, in all likelihood, sees himself as an incredible leader. I’m sure the voices in his ear have convinced him he is doing an excellent job, and will be remembered as a President who took brave, bold action. Instead, reality objectively seems to indicate that Biden will be cast aside by history as woefully ineffective, laying the groundwork for even worse circumstances than the ones he inherited. Unfortunately, it will be the people who suffer as a result. If he can’t even do what is objectively the bare minimum, than what other conclusion can we come to?