Home News Biden takes off: A strong start to the long campaign

Biden takes off: A strong start to the long campaign



With a one-two punch, the incumbent president made a strong case for his reelection — especially given that the alternative is a man who seeks to overturn the results of democratic elections, who’s champing at the bit to punish his political enemies and who says immigrants are vermin.

The first Joe Biden punch landed Thursday night, when he delivered a forceful State of the Union address pushing back on many of Donald Trump’s lies and distortions. In contrast to Trump, whose only policy on the Mideast is that Israel should “finish the problem,” Biden wants a ceasefire to get the hostages out of Gaza and get needed humanitarian aid into Gaza. Backing Israel’s right to defend itself; he also wants to prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

In contrast to Trump, who demands Republicans reject any reform on the border, Biden again touted a wise bipartisan deal that would’ve boosted the numbers of asylum officers, immigration judges and drug scanners.

In an attempt to undercut those who say he’s too old, Biden smartly linked his 81 years to some of his obvious strengths — being a decent and dignified person — while reminding people that the also-elderly man he’s running against traffics in “resentment, revenge and retribution.”

Sure, if this were a theater review, we would care a bit more about the fact that Biden flubbed some lines. But he’s never been a great big-stage performer. And the ability to stir people to stand and clap is just one small attribute of a leader. It matters far, far less than the ability to surround oneself with good people and consistently exercise good judgment on big, tough questions. Indeed, smooth delivery of soul-stirring rhetoric can just as easily be used in service of pernicious people and bad ideas as good ones.

This brings us to the second punch in Biden’s combo. It came Friday morning, in the latest Labor Department report on the single most important indicator of the health of the U.S. economy. Employers produced 275,000 new jobs in February, a very good sign that growth is continuing at a healthy pace and wages are still rising even as inflation edges lower.

That brings to 15 million the number of jobs created under Biden. Contrast that to Trump, the first president since Herbert Hoover to leave the nation with fewer jobs than when he took office. And for those who blame everything that went wrong during those four years on COVID, the facts differ. And even if that were the case, it underscores a Trump failure: His disastrously flat-footed, know-nothing response to the pandemic was one of the core reasons the economy seized up.

Biden isn’t the perfect candidate. The coming months will test him politically. But anyone sane and honest must admit that he’s notched a series of major legislative victories: an American Rescue Plan that got the economy off its back, a huge bipartisan infrastructure bill, the first big gun-safety law in decades, a law to invest in microchip production here at home, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which invested billions in clean energy and drove down drug prices.

And anyone sane and honest must admit that the dangerous man who’s desperate to return to power is a vendetta in search of an agenda.

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