Thursday, January 28, 2021

Embrace The Competence

Via the Washington Post:

Almost every day of his young tenure, President Biden has entered the State Dining Room, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln looking down and wood burning in the fireplace. He speaks on the planned topic of the day. He sits at an undersized desk and searches for a pen to sign his latest stack of executive orders. Within 30 minutes of entering the camera’s frame, he has left it.

It is all plotted and planned. Little room is left for the unscripted or the unusual.

Biden’s first full week in office has showcased an almost jarring departure from his predecessor’s chaotic style, providing the first window into a tenure whose mission is not only to remake the White House in Biden’s image but also to return the presidency itself to what he sees as its rightful path.

The result so far is a 9-to-5 presidency — a tightly scripted burst of activity that was charted over the past few months, as Biden seeks to avoid heated conflict and stick to his plan of lowering the political temperature to a level that many Americans can tune out.

“I’ve heard from more people in the last couple of days how nice it is to turn on the TV and not have to figure out the latest drama of the day,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). “It looks a lot like the George W. Bush White House — uneventful. It’s nice. . . . It’s just a guy getting up and doing his job.”

The question to be answered in coming weeks, however, is whether Biden’s orderly presidency matches this moment of national urgency, and whether it’s sustainable in the face of multiple crises. Biden himself said last week that the government was on a “wartime” footing — then took the weekend off from public appearances.

Oh, just stop already. Instead of calling it a “jarring departure,” how about taking a deep breath and be glad you’re not doom-scrolling through the internet to see if Trump has blown up something, insulted the Pope, fucked another stripper, or pardoned another of his cronies. Just because Joe Biden and his White House are doing their job without violating the Constitution at every turn or inciting white supremacists to kill police officers is not a reason to devote column inches to fretting about why he’s not.

There will always be crises to deal with. Name me a time in living memory — or, for that matter, any time in our nation’s history — that didn’t need the attention of the president, be it a whiskey rebellion, an economic recession, racial strife, or a war. The fact that Joe Biden isn’t running around like a cat with its tail on fire is good news, not a reason to wonder if he’s not keeping his eye on the job.