Thankful for Biden

Good Sunday morning. For your Sunday easy-going music selection and to honor Stephen Sondheim let’s try “Somewhere” as sung by Lucy Thomas.

It’s routine among columnists to write about what they’re grateful for at Thanksgiving. I have some sympathy for that — you don’t have to come up with an actual idea for a topic. But this week I was struck by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s take on Joe Biden. Milbank reminded me just how bad things were under Donald Trump and how decent a human being and competent a politician is Joe Biden.

After the fist half of his column, quoted below, Milbank goes on to downplay problems of immigration, crime and inflation. That’s a big mistake. Voters don’t like being told that their concerns are just overblown and things have been worse.

But Milbank starts out by giving us a “hey, that’s right” moment. Biden’s decency has been hiding in plain sight.

Anyway, here’s what Milbank wrote in the first half of his piece. The highlights are my own.

Did you see what President Joe Biden tweeted? (Probably not, because they were earnest missives about booster shots and preschool access.)

Did you hear about the latest chaos at the White House? (Doubtful, because turnover is low.)

Can you believe he insulted the chancellor of Germany and shoved the prime minister of Montenegro? (No, because we all know Biden never has and never would.)

In this season of thanksgiving, let us be grateful that some measure of calm and sanity has returned to the White House. The United States, at least for now, has a stable, functioning government. The president is not making everything about himself, nor creating chaos for its own sake.

The stock market is higher than it ever was under President Donald Trump. The S& P 500 has hit more than 50 record highs so far in 2021.

Fully 5.6 million new jobs have been created in Biden’s first nine months, a record pace for a new president, and unemployment is down to 4.6% from an estimated 10%.

Wages for American workers have increased this year at the fastest rate in more than two decades. Economic growth for 2021 is on course to hit a healthy 5%.

Life is returning to normal after the pandemic, as the country finally overcomes a delay worsened by right-wing resistance to vaccination and prevention. (Milbank wrote this before the latest variant appeared in South Africa.)

Biden has managed to secure broadband internet and better roads, bridges, electric power and drinking water for all Americans. Despite fierce Republican opposition, he is within striking distance of securing better child care assistance, free prekindergarten and lower drug prices.

Just as important is what isn’t happening.

By this time in Trump’s first year, he had:

  • Praised the “very fine people” marching among violent neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.
  • Fired the FBI director for investigating his national security adviser. Replaced his national security adviser, chief of staff, press secretary, communications director, chief strategist, secretary of homeland security and secretary of health and human services.
  • Ripped up treaties and threatened to pull out of NATO.
  • Threatened nuclear war on Twitter. Attempted to impose what aides called a “Muslim ban” and disparaged a “so-called judge” who objected. Belittled U.S. intelligence and shared sensitive Israeli intelligence with Russia.
  • Sabotaged Obamacare. Falsely claimed his predecessor had tapped his phone lines.
  • Embraced Stalin’s phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the free press.
  • Exposed the “dreamers” to deportation. Stood by a Senate candidate accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
  • Continued nonsense claims about a “deep state.”Insulted hundreds of people in often vulgar and misspelled tweets.
  • Made more than 1,600 false or suspect statements.Shoved the prime minister of Montenegro before a photo op and insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But as Biden puts the national interest over partisan considerations, his Republican counterparts are doing the opposite. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who is overseeing Senate Republicans’ 2022 campaign, is cheering for economic disaster. “You can see what’s going to happen next. We’re going to continue to have inflation, and then interest rates will go up,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “This is a gold mine for us.”

Economic pain for millions is a “gold mine” for Republicans? I’m thankful that, for the moment, people like this are not running the country.

Welcome to the 283rd day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

One thought on “Thankful for Biden

  1. I don’t expect any more from Dana Milbank (truly, a political whore), but wish others would quit misquoting Trump about Charlottesville. Was talking first about the debate on Civil War statuary, saying there are good people on both sides of that issue. (Madison removed a grave marker and Confederates Rest cemetery.) THEN, Trump segued to condemn those who committed violence. I say that as a Never Again Trumper.


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