Peter Donohue | Times Writers Group
I have not been a fan of President Biden as far back as the ’80s. His ability to repeatedly put his foot in his mouth, sometimes right down his throat, made me question his decision making when faced with an immediate issue in need of resolution. Hopefully, he thinks before he decides more than thinking before he speaks.
I was clearly not a fan of President Donald Trump, nor a fan of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. I respected President Jimmy Carter immensely, and still do; however, I will acknowledge that he failed to accomplish much during his presidency.
For some time, I have recognized the tremendous accomplishments of the Biden presidency. This may seem like an odd description of Biden’s year and a half in office to those who support the former president. Nonetheless if you step back and look objectively at what has happened, how it has been managed and what legislation has been passed, it is really remarkable. I fear because of Biden’s personality, his lack of charisma and his downright failure to remind the public of what he has done, his accomplishments go unnoticed.
When Biden called the railroad union chiefs and the bargaining negotiators to the White House, I sensed he made the right call. Thursday morning the announcement of a tentative deal proved my intuition correct. I hope the American public recognizes what a huge accomplishment this was. It would not have happened without the president and his secretaries of labor and transportation. The market fell drastically yesterday with the news of continued inflation in August. To add a supply chain disruption to inflation and the political drama of midterm elections would have been catastrophic to the U.S. economy as the war in Ukraine continues.
It may be easy to forget an economic collapse that did not happen because it did not happen. Nonetheless it is momentous and the result of old-fashion political persuasion. The enormity of this accomplishment will be lost in the fervor of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant and the resumption of the Jan. 6 congressional investigation. That is truly a shame. We are so ready to decry failure and short comings in politics and life.
When Biden began his term, NATO was on tenuous ground and our commitment to this peacekeeping and strategic alliance, aimed at balancing power in the world, was in doubt. Our commitment was reaffirmed, ultimately stopping Russia as it moved against Ukraine. And now it has been strengthened and expanded.
The first gun control legislation in decades passed Congress. The Inflation Reduction Act passed Congress with climate control measures, infrastructure spending, modest healthcare reform, a minimum tax on corporate income and measures to reduce inflation. Instead of cutting taxes and spending revenue, the act approved expenditures in needed areas but provided income with which to pay for those expenses. A balancing act we have not seen in years.
Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord which current weather demonstrates was an absolute necessity.
The major stimulus package, passed at the beginning his first year, positively impacted tens of millions of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, it fueled inflation that is now plaguing us, but without it millions in this country would have been destitute and the death toll from the pandemic would have soared. Businesses were saved that would have collapsed. Our country would not be recognizable had that bill not passed.
The burden of student loan debt will receive some relief soon and for those who object to this expense compare it to the money we spend in support of the war in Ukraine. If we can spend that money to save another country, we can help our own struggling youth.
By those who study and compare presidential accomplishments, Biden’s performance has been described as “closer to those of Ronald Reagan[‘s] … tax cuts; Bill Clinton and his NAFTA and crime bill; and Obama’s stimulus bill and his health reform.” It is important to point out that all presidents he is compared to were in office for eight years.
I may not be a fan of President Biden, but I will not deny his accomplishments. We must have cooperation from Congress with the executive branch if we are to move forward from the devastating impact of COVID-19 and towards climate crisis management and peace in the world.
— This is the opinion of Times Writers Group member Peter Donohue, who has been involved in the arts in Central Minnesota for more than 35 years. His column is published the third Sunday of the month.