Friday, December 25, 2020

Easy Way Out

It's Christmas Day and everywhere on social media there are videos and posts of cute animals, cuter animals in pajamas, happy, smiling children, and best wishes for a happy new year.

Not here, of course.

The more hopeful they are, the harder they fall. And thus it's helpful that Karen Tumulty, after the President-elect on December 23 spoke to a group of columnists, reported that the latter

said his team is having quiet consultations with “former Republican appointees, former Republican personnel telling us what they know and don’t know about how the system is rotten,” as well as GOP senators “worried about things being left untethered.”

Tumulty did not specify whether the Republican individuals Biden is consulting are the appointees, senators, and other personnel who have acknowledged that he will be the next president. If so, it was a very small circle of friends.

She continues

Still, the soon-to-be 46th president sounded upbeat and confident about his abilities to marshal the resources — and the bipartisan political will — that he will need to lead the country out of the coronavirus pandemic. With covid-19 now killing about 3,000 Americans a day, he said, the costly denialism that Trump fostered in the early months of the pandemic is being replaced by “a new sense of urgency, I think, on the part of the public at large.”

"Urgency" for what is not specified, but if Joe Biden truly believes that with the good news of a vaccine dominating the coronavirus news, there is "a new sense of urgency," he's already in negotiations to purchase a prime beachfront property in Kansas. More:

Biden also said that, as a president who wants to avoid inflaming a closely divided Congress, he plans to tread lightly when it comes to using his executive power — a declaration that no doubt will cause some heartburn on the left, where such caution is considered naive.

Were Congress not already inflamed and closely divided, there would be little need for use of executive power.  But it is, so there is. Biden's reluctance to use executive power is considered naive only because it is- or seems to be.

Joe Biden served eight years under President Obama, eight years which culminated in refusal by the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even to consider the nomination to the Supreme Court of Merrick Garland. Even now, most Republican voters believe Democrats stole the presidential election and the majority of GOP senators has not acknowledged victory by the Biden-Harris ticket.

Still, there is, as Paul Waldman notes, "a never-ending obsession with Democrats. How can we get conservatives to like us more"?

There has been talk of "epiphany," of "civility," an Office of Public Engagement, and not wanting to discomfit Congress. If so, the President-elect is beyond naive, heading toward delusional. Instead, it could be simply that Joe Biden is risk-averse or, in 1980s psychobabble, in denial.  Or as they may have put in what we've been told repeatedly is Biden's home town of Scranton, Pa., Joe simply doesn't want any trouble.


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