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Glory and Gore: One Year with Joe Biden

Looking Back on the President’s First 12 Months

Jan 20, 2022 By Steve King
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What a year it’s been, right?! More like a lost year. What do you call stasis when you’re still inside of it? Since the onset of the pandemic we have been forced to mark the passage of time differently. Can this whole thing even be measured so close in proximity to the crisis? We are not in the normal swing of things.

As this is being written more than 1,000 people are dying each day in America, and this winter has been deadlier than last. Yet the vaccines have been widely available since April 2021, cynical progressives could argue that at least the virus is killing the right people now, although that’s a tough way to look at it. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, we need to go back.

When Joe Biden took his inaugural oath more than 2,000 Americans were dying a day. The pandemic could not have hit during a worse administration. No sane person can say that a worse job could have been done. And most of us were paying attention during the Bush years. That guy could have fucked up a wet dream but he would have still handled a pandemic better than Trump. There need not be thousands of more words sacrificed on the altar of the former president’s ineptitude, so let’s not bother. We all know.

The new vibe has been pretty nice. It’s a refreshing relief to not have to worry about the president. We basically elected a supporting sitcom character as president, but damned if it’s not better than a maniacal game show host trying to sneak into the dressing room while the girls are getting dressed. It’s nice to have a president who isn’t a messy bitch who lives for drama.

Think of Frasier or Jerry Gergich being elected president… except it all worked out! J’Biden, Sleepy Joe, Hidin’ Biden, Obama’s Granddaddy, or Pappa Joe might seem outmatched by a pernicious virus, but the vibes, man. For a while, the vibes were good. As much as we can make fun of Biden, he is on a Picardesque mission. For Biden, it’s a one way trip. A rescue mission. President Liquid Swords knows full well that Democrats will lose the House in 2022, so if he’s going to get anything done, that possibility will end in the lame duck session of congress in 2022. There are still a million ways this administration could go wrong. This country loves to destroy its heroes. There are people who possess a unique ability to drive others crazy just by talking. Think of Trump and January 6th; Biden has the opposite power. He relieves and sedates people. He comforts them. We lived, if for only a short time, in a state of constant relief.

Everything was moving in the direction it should. Hundreds of millions were vaccinated against the virus. But the vaccination numbers started to drop around July, the deadline that Biden had set for the country to be turning the corner on the pandemic. Biden didn’t fail at his vaccination deadline. The country failed itself.

Every Democratic president wants to be FDR, but only one has replicated that success. The pandemic might just be one of those things that ruins everyone who is in charge, Democrat or Republican. But Biden’s relationship with grief makes him the perfect man for the moment. He’ll occasionally lean into the lectern or whisper something for emphasis. He is a hell of a communicator. And he has something that has been missing for four years: manners. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a president thank us for our time, but damned if Biden doesn’t keep saying it. As vaccination rates dropped, so did Biden’s poll numbers.

The radical white Christian extremist terror network called the Republican Party still exists though, so fuckery, trolling, delusion, and bitterness still govern half of the country. Aside from 20 years of internet conspiracy theories and lies surrounding vaccines, anti-vaxxers pushed dumbass remedies like hydroxychloroquine, horse-dewormer, and finally, drinking piss. A ton of conservative talk radio hosts died, though, so that’s a plus. Needless to say this resulted in countless preventable conservative deaths, but somehow the Republican Party found new ways of wreaking havoc.

First was their coordinated multi-state assault of voter rights, fueled by the Big Lie: that Biden stole the 2020 election. After just losing the biggest turnout in a presidential election, an election where voters literally risked their lives to drop off their ballots at local election headquarters, the first thing Republicans knew was that in order to win in the future they needed to do everything they could to stop citizens from voting.

And they did this all while Trump was exiled to faffing around Mar-a-Lago, trying to create different scams like social media platforms and selling Trump cards. They were laying the groundwork for a future stolen election all while Trump was gearing up to run again. He killed half a million Americans, and is still sitting on a 90% percent approval rating within the Republican Party. They are ready to install people across the country who will refuse to certify the next election if a Democrat wins, thus usurping American democracy, all for a failed, despised, former president.

Since 2000 we’ve all had to draw hard lines. Bush was a failure and war criminal. Obama was an imperfect messiah. Trump was the devil. All of these men forced us into our own silos of self-perpetuated reality. Bush snuck in on a technicality, Obama caused the worst of among us to retreat into their racism-fueled bullshit, and Trump did the same thing to the less evolved liberals and equally less evolved conservatives. As if there is anything called “conservatism” anymore.

It’s important that we define “conservatism” as it exists today. The ideological movement known as “conservatism” is dead. A ghost of something that barely existed. The first two Republican presidents of this new century cheated to get into office and once there, expanded government, spent like drunken sailors, and killed a bunch of people. At the time, they both had the majority of their party’s support. So, that means that to be a conservative in the 21st century, you have to betray everything that you’re supposed to believe in, if you believe in anything at all. Not a great way to start, guys.

To be a conservative Republican now means that you have to first be lying to yourself so much that you sound somewhere near convincing to the rest of people who might not be paying attention. Conservatism is dead and being a Republican is nothing more than a lifestyle choice. Whatever conservatives are now, they can no longer be called “pro-life.” They are nothing more than a troll army of death cult followers of a disgraced mass murderer.

Then came the Critical Race Theory paranoia and fear of “cancel culture.” They started banning books. Then came more attacks on gay and trans rights. And the cherry on top was the Texas abortion ban. The law itself was an insidious and genius way to ban abortion by essentially placing bounties on people who chose to have an abortion, and guaranteeing that it would make it to the Supreme Court. Conservatives, sensing their favorable moment, worked hard to neuter Roe v. Wade. This all happened while one coast of the country was suffering through unprecedented wildfires and the remnants of a hurricane flooded New York.

While the former president, along with his army of anti-democratic trolls, worked to steal the next election, America was still distracted by the virus, so as one storm began to abate another different kind was brewing. The continuing and inevitable Republican effort to kill American democracy flew under the radar.

Presidents normally get a year or so to blame the country’s problems on the former office holder. That timeline has been shrunk to about six months. The Hot Vaxx Summer of debauchery was not to be, as Delta tore through the unvaccinated. Then came the Afghanistan pullout. Leaving Afghanistan was the right thing to do. We do not own Afghanistan; whoever has the best bribe owns Afghanistan. It was a hole of money and death, and while it was incredibly messy, it was always preordained. Biden bit the bullet that Bush, Obama, and even Trump couldn’t, or wouldn’t. It was a terrible end to an awful war, but it was The End. The Biden honeymoon was over too.

Have you ever met anyone from Delaware? They’re nice people; low-key, decent, quiet, and are still savvy. For instance, Joe Biden. He’s a liberal Democrat, smooth operator, and at his heart, a deal-maker. That’s it. Who could hate Joe Biden? Well, we found them in the meme “Let’s Go Brandon.” Though it started as a genuinely funny moment on a Nascar track (because, of course it did) it has turned into the simple and veiled maxim of simply, “Fuck Joe Biden.” Again, what about this man is worth hating? He’s pretty basic. Yet these deluded ghouls think it’s so funny. Mostly because they have no sense of humor. American Republicans have no faith in America when they lose an election, and they never get better, only worse. They love patriotism but when you’re always prepping for the end of the world, or hoarding guns for when society breaks down, you’re no longer a real American. You’re just a separatist. A terrorist, for the idiots in the back.

As Jon Karl and the House Select Committee have illustrated, it turns out that Trump was really trying to overturn the election and end American democracy. He’s just an idiot and screwed it up. After failing at badgering Pence to reject the electoral count, the plan was for the mob to delay the count so that electors would have enough time to decertify their counts. So yeah, January 6th was a not just a terrorist attack directed by the president, it was the spark that lit a fire of domestic terrorism. Since then domestic terror threats have escalated to the point that the Justice Department had to create a new domestic threat unit. Biden got the biggest infrastructure package ever passed and members of Congress received death threats because of it. Death threats for infrastructure! That’s where we are as a people right now.

Most Republicans bought Trump’s lies about the election and some cops and military personnel believe it too. Cops I understand, but what will we do if we can’t trust our own military? Biden, for his part, is staying out of the many investigations into Trump and his seditionist followers. As he should, because it doesn’t doesn’t look great to throw your predecessor in jail. It’s a little third world country-y. This is America, and we don’t jail our presidents, no matter how open their crimes. But the House Select Committee can refer charges to the Justice Department. That’s how Congress will take its revenge on Trump. Biden can’t be involved.

It seems that the better job Biden does as president, the more his poll numbers go down. Americans just want the pandemic to end, so he will incur their wrath in the midterms later this year. Whether it’s vaccine mandates or inflation, Biden will catch hell for it. We will have more doofy Q-Anon candidates this year than COVID variants.

With his Build Back Better agenda and voting rights bill languishing in the senate, Biden has hit a wall. At least the rest of the world is starting to notice what a goober Joe Manchin is. Manchin tries to act like he’s above the fray, but he and Kyrsten Sinema have really shown their asses. Sinema is done in the Senate and will have a nice lobbying job by the end of the year, but Manchin will be there forever. The damage has been done. Democrats will lose the House and Senate this year mostly because of normal election rhythms, but also in part because Manchin and Sinema’s bad faith negotiations have made Democrats look more dithery than they usually are. This will make Congressional Republicans look better/more decisive when their new Congress refuses to certify the next election they lose.

Democratic negotiations are always tedious and frustrating, but it’s only because Republicans are always in uniform opposition to Democratic presidents and their slim Senate majorities. It’s no coincidence that there have been party line votes for some of the most recent Democratic presidents’ biggest legislative victories. Obama’s economic stimulus, health care reform, COVID assistance, infrastructure, and on and on it goes. This always gives people like Manchin and Sinema an exaggerated influence. However, the lame duck session after Democrats lose their majorities is always lit. It’s when Democrats find their balls. Chuck Schumer has been pushing for “Workers, Wages, and Weed.” I can’t imagine him letting his last lame duck end without passing some form of marijuana decriminalization. So that may be Democrats’ 2022 silver lining.

Republicans will take over again, investigate Biden and his son, impeach him for something, and bring his presidency to a screeching halt. There’s also the insane Steve Bannon plan to have Trump voted as Speaker of the House by the new majority. As an observer of American politics it would be wild to watch a former president become Speaker, and then run, and maybe win reelection again, but as an American, Trump in any proximity to power is haunting.

But it really looks like he’s running. Once he started telling Candace Owens and OAN that the vaccines he was forced to facilitate have saved millions of lives, a high crime in Republican rhetoric, it was even more obvious that he’s running. He was talking past his followers and triangulating by speaking directly to Independents. Governors Abbott and DeSantis in Texas and Florida fought all restrictions and public safety recommendations and allowed thousands of their own supporters to die, just to hurt Biden. So their success is now intrinsically linked to how many people they can kill. Where as super-liberal Alabama Governor Kay Ivey let the truth slip out by saying it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated. So you want to own the libs? Get the shot.

Biden’s soft numbers and recent polls showing Trump leading in a hypothetical 2024 rematch may be proof that we may be destined to make the same mistakes. Harris isn’t looking much better poll-wise. Buttigieg is just another corporate Democrat, so the party will need someone else to run for president next time.

America has always been referred to as the “city on a hill.” A beacon of democracy. But we are in the midst of a growing insurgency. When one half of the country believes that violence is their only recourse after an election that their leader has been lying to them about, we are not doing well. A president’s first year is always a combination of accomplishments and setbacks, but when most Republicans think the next election will result in civil war, it’s hard to keep the whole thing together. Biden faces two different existential crises, one with a tricky virus and another with an ascendant authoritarian political movement. If Democrats fail to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Joe Biden may be our last duly elected president.

It’s impossible to get through to Americans; we have become an unhappy and cynical people. Joe Biden loves to use the line “Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.” We have now reached the end of what he called in his inaugural address as the “uncivil war.” Americans are at war with each other. 2021 marked the end to the global war on terror and the beginning of a super-charged domestic terrorism. The difference with this new war is that we might not win. Happy 2022!

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