Donald Trump saw it coming (opinion)

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That call, which Trump defended as “perfect,” and the administration’s pausing of security aid to Ukraine, would become the focus of his first impeachment, which ended with Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.

The former president never could solve the riddle of how to defeat Biden, who he accused of being a puppet for the “radical left.”

In reality, Trump lost to him because the coronavirus pandemic changed everything — but only some people got the message. One of them was Biden.

In a speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, with a soft-spoken, almost whispered urgency, President Biden made his case for a breathtaking overhaul of America’s social contract.

The President’s argument, in just his first 100 days, for $6 trillion in new spending would have been unthinkable before the coronavirus, which has killed more than half a million Americans and sickened 30 million others. When the pandemic hit, suddenly a nation skeptical of government began looking to Washington for help. Trump and Congress initially reacted by approving a series of Covid-19 relief packages, but Senate Republicans ultimately balked at the Democrats’ $3-trillion HEROES Act.

Biden is aiming much higher.

His “ambition is extraordinary,” wrote Frida Ghitis. “His laundry list of initiatives and plans is enough to fill many presidencies. Biden is right when he views this presidency not only as a vehicle for improving the lives of Americans, but for showing the world the superiority of democracy over autocracy.”

The image of two women — Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi—behind a US President at a joint session for the first time, Ghitis wrote, along with Biden’s words, “were a reminder of how far we’ve come, how awful things were, and how far we still have to go.”

Biden is “developing a positive kind of populism,” wrote Van Jones. “When Biden was elected, a lot of people — particularly progressives — underestimated him. After Wednesday night, it became clear Biden isn’t holding anything back. He recognizes this is a once-in-a-century opportunity to reset the American system, and he’s not going to let this chance go to waste.”

The initiatives that Trump could once parody as “radical left” are much more in the American mainstream now, with polls showing many as broadly popular — even though Biden’s 53% approval rating is on the low side compared with other presidents (aside from Trump) at this point in their terms.

“The best thing about President Joe Biden is that he’s old,” wrote historian Meg Jacobs. “He can remember a time before — and not just before the rightward swing of former President Donald Trump or even the centrism of former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He remembers a time before small-government proponent former President Ronald Reagan, when Democrats stood before the country and said unabashedly that a big and bold government was exactly what the country needed.”
That’s precisely what alarms conservatives like Scott Jennings, who wrote, “Biden gave away the progressive game when he said he would ‘turn crisis into opportunity.’ His $1.9 trillion Covid bill spent excessively on liberal social programs, and Biden is doing it again in an infrastructure bill that spends just 5% of its $2.25 trillion on roads, bridges, waterways, ports, and airports. Name your crisis…and Biden is prepared to ride it like a Kentucky Derby jockey towards a liberal finish line of exploding debt and higher taxes.”
In Lanhee J. Chen‘s view, Biden “could have used his considerable power — both via the bully pulpit but also with his partisans in Congress — to send a message that compromise isn’t a dirty word. This was the theory he advanced during his campaign for president. But the reality of his first 100 days in office has been something entirely different.”
Trump left Biden an “unholy mess,” wrote David Axelrod, that included “a raging virus and resultant economic downturn, a fraught politics, a decayed bureaucracy and a bitterly divided Washington, DC.” And while Biden has coped with those challenges, “the genius of Biden’s first 100 days is his style. Even as he rammed the $1.9 trillion relief plan through a closely divided Congress on a partisan basis — and even as he is pushing for more — he has struck a decidedly nonconfrontational tone. He does not demand constant attention. He does not vilify his opponents or pick fights for sport. He is low-key, warm and empathetic.”

Don’t bet against Biden

Biden “has publicly called for the end of systemic racism in American society,” Peniel E. Joseph noted. The challenge is to “turn his words into tangible policy deeds… But if the first president in American history to explicitly call out ‘White supremacy’ in an inaugural speech has shown the nation anything, that’s to never bet against Joe Biden.”
South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the only Black member of the Senate Republicans, gave his party’s response to Biden’s speech, stressing his view that “America is not a…



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