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It was in the 2020 Democratic campaign songbook that all America needed was a breather from the bumptious incumbent Donald Trump, that is, a “return to normalcy,” perhaps with a progressive style. While there is no doubt but that many voters were tired of the daily drama that Trump provoked, we should now take stock of whether Joe Biden’s new progressive “normal” is all that it was cracked up to be.
Perhaps we should start off with a scorecard to grade the change. Before the COVID pandemic hit, Americans had $2.26-per-gallon gasoline, 2.77% mortgage rates, 1.4% inflation, increasing real income, an increasingly controlled southern border, and strong economic progress for minorities. Vladimir Putin had not bothered Ukraine, and the Taliban was being brought to heel in order to achieve our substantial withdrawal from the Middle East.
So all Biden needed to do was to act and sound un-Trump-like, while keeping all of his predecessor’s policies in place. But having mortgaged his presidency to Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden had neither the sense nor the courage to do so.
Finish the almost-completed border wall? No. Instead, let’s open sections of the wall so black bears can roam freely — and, oh, yes, maybe just a few illegal immigrants who would take advantage of this open-gate invitation.
Continue active domestic oil and gas exploration? Of course not. With a stroke of a pen limiting new leases, pump prices shot up, taxing middle-income and poor Americans while raising the price of all goods that needed fossil fuels to manufacture or transport.
With Russia about to default on sovereign debt, high oil and gas prices saved Putin’s bacon. Together with an engraved invitation to invade Ukraine from Biden’s weak foreign policy team, Putin did what he feared to do with the unconventional Trump: He invaded Ukraine, expecting a weak Obama-era response. Unfortunately, Trump had provided more lethal weaponry to Ukraine than had Obama (for which Trump was impeached), and the weaponry was still there when Biden took office.
Biden and his lame team were stunned that Ukraine would resist so effectively. Thus, Biden both lost the opportunity of destroying the Russian convoy when it was in a 140-mile traffic jam and mired us in the high cost of gradual foreign aid, just sufficient to achieve a quagmire but not a victory.
And why continue Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban when the president can simply dictate a withdrawal date without considering disastrous costs in decreasing security, leaving behind billions in U.S. military hardware, and loss of American prestige worldwide?
With the absurd mandates to build electric vehicles, Biden guaranteed a demand for high wages from the labor force frightened by a declining EV workforce and profits, while guaranteeing resistance from a management also seeing declining profits. Of course, the cost of automobiles will rise for the consumer, exacerbating inflation.
We should not ignore the oxymoronic Inflation Reduction Act, an absurdly profligate climate giveaway to special Al Gore-style interests. This extravagance, combined with needless COVID spending, both impeded the labor market and expanded the deficit.
With vast supplies of weapons and billions of dollars sent to Ukraine and our lack of domestic oil reserves, we are ill equipped to defend Taiwan, after the weak Biden team obsequiously amended our strategic ambiguity on Taiwan, cultivated so carefully over decades.
As immigrants and drugs pour through our porous borders, straining resources of cities and states as far north as New York, our nation’s wealth and individual incomes decrease daily, as do our security and safety.
So for all the enlightened voters, real or forged, who voted for Biden, we must ask: How is “normalcy” working out for you?
John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the author of the books “Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism” and “The Mysteries of Watergate: What Really Happened.”
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John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005.