The Three Best and Worst Things of Biden’s First 100 Days

Photo by Piret Ilver on Unsplash

This week the Biden Administration celebrates its first 100 days since the world held its breath January 21st waiting to see if the chaotic reign of America’s toddler king was really, most sincerely, going to end. Americans have been either shocked sober by the gentle, easy-going tone of the new presidency, comforted by the return of what passes for “normal” in Washington, or are sitting in a corner staring at their phone jonesing for an inflammatory non-sense tweet. Buffeted or bored, here’s the three best and worst things about the first 100 days.

Best: Plans

The first hundred has shown that Biden came to town with a stack of blueprints and carefully programmed ideas about how to revitalize a nation in a pandemic with a devastated economy and ailing humanity. Instead of spending the first weeks carpet bombing the country with executive actions to please his base that were ill-advised, stranded people at airports, and couldn’t pass the court system, Biden’s orders went through a review from the legal department before they were signed, and failed to give any department a “gotcha” calamity.

After laying out the big 4 on his plate for crisis management (Covid, Economy, Racial Equity, Climate), Biden released the American Rescue Plan, talked up the American Jobs Plan, and refined the American Family Plan. Facing an uphill battle as the dollar signs grow, Biden continues to build his vision of a brighter, better path in carefully planned increments. He won’t get everything he asks for, but you can’t say he didn’t show up prepared.

Worst: Aspirations

Along with the plans came Biden’s “I see the glass half-full” ideology. His campaign and continuing speechmaking casts ideas way farther into the water than he can ever hope to fish. His aspiration to create “unity” in a political theater that makes Caesar’s knife infested forum look like a Roman garden party is nothing short of delusional. He’s so intent on “working with” a GOP dedicated to their blockade strategy that he isn’t creating enough “work arounds.”

Questioned about pausing in his promise to raise the refuge cap to 62,500 the White House acknowledged the number was “largely aspirational.” It’s good to have dreams, but in a country that just went through four years of gas lighting, reality is a better option.

Best: Jen Psaki

Bringing back the daily press briefing and picking long-time politico Jen Psaki to lead it was a stroke of genius. Psaki has enough experience to avoid most pitfalls, and displays a perfect combination of geniality, wit, vocabulary and preparation to make the once turbulent White House Briefing Room into a sea calm enough for sailing once more.

Whether it’s refusing to set policy from the podium (“I don’t want to get ahead of the President”) or challenging reporters on conspiracy theory lead-ins (“Sounds mysterious, the memo, the secret memo,” Psaki deadpanned in response to one) she keeps the room lively and largely informative. She’s dropped some of her more DC political wonky phrases (“circle back”) but still maintains control of the room with a smile like a sixth grade teacher who doesn’t buy your story that you did your homework but Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats ate it, but she’ll let you tell it anyway, then, she’ll lay down a lesson.

Worst: Slippery Semantics

As good as Jen Psaki is at the appearance of transparency, there’s still a lot of fog in the room when questions get to the heart of what is not working. One way the Biden administration deals with the “not-so-good” news is to use semantics to shade the situation. Nowhere was that more in evidence than the refusal to call the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied minors on a border ill-prepared for the influx a “crisis.” Psaki sparred with reporters for weeks over whether or not the situation could accurately be called a border crisis. After Biden slipped in some remarks about the crisis one reporter exhaustedly asked Psaki, “Can we call it a crisis now?”

Unable to get Republicans to back anything with his stamp on it, Biden re-defined “bipartisan” to mean “what all the American people in the polls want” as opposed to the Senate and House GOP. You can only call salt “another kind of sugar” so long before no one will eat what you bring to the table.

Best: Professionalism

Let’s face it, he had us at complete sentences. There’s no rage tweeting, racially insensitive virus names, made-up words or bombastic comments shattering the web. Americans aren’t turning on the news with a sense of dread and asking “what did he say now?” Cabinet appointees have illustrated actual knowledge and experience in the departments they are tapped to lead. Decisions aren’t made on a whim or some late-night verbal garbage off the television.

In a nation desperate for dignity and surety these first hundred days have been a much needed renewal of hope.

Worst: Lack of Party Leadership

Because he has picked a competent staff and returned us to such things as an independent judiciary and respect across the branches of government, Joe Biden doesn’t meddle much in the affairs of state. If we learned anything from Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP it is that too much control of the party leads to a spineless crazy train of support that damages the nation as a whole. However, Biden is so hands-off there’s a lack of strength and unity within the Democratic party.

Progressives fly off the handle with every plan, centrists flounder for consensus and then there’s Joe Manchin, the Repubocrat. You don’t have to be an emperor to be a leader, but some clear and direct guidance from Biden will go a long way in helping the path forward be future focused, and consensus oriented.

Best of times or worst of times, there’s a little over 1,300 more days to go of the Biden Administration. As it crosses the first benchmark coming out of the gate there’s a renewed sense order, and still so much more to do.

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Comissioned novelist, Buddhist Yogi, geek and tea enthusiast. I write at the intersection of pop culture, politics, Buddhist wisdom, true fiction and odd facts.

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Kellie Schorr

Kellie Schorr

Comissioned novelist, Buddhist Yogi, geek and tea enthusiast. I write at the intersection of pop culture, politics, Buddhist wisdom, true fiction and odd facts.

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