OPINION: President Biden, one year in


Photo credit/ The White House

Despite big promises, and a campaign slogan of “No Malarkey!”, Biden misses the mark big time.

I remember vividly the feeling of excitement when Joe Biden was called as the official winner of the 2020 election. After a contentious election cycle, my relief as well as that of my friends was palpable. Marywood students and supporters of Biden gathered outside his childhood home on North Washington Avenue to celebrate. Chalk on the street read “from this house to the White House,” music was blasting from car radios, people were cheering. It was a lively moment contrasted by the darkness of the year we had been through..

Over a year has passed since President Biden took his oath of office, and any hope I had on that day has since dissipated.

To be transparent, I have never been a big fan of Joe Biden. However, I held my nose and voted for him in the general election because there needed to be a change in our country’s leadership. While it’s unrealistic to think that everything a candidate campaigns on will be passed, in one year no less, with control of both houses of Congress, this first year should have been a drastic change in pace from the last four years under Biden’s predecessor.

On Biden’s campaign website, there are nearly 50 tabs of his plans for virtually any issue an American politician could champion. While it’s great to have a big picture outlook, having this many ideas without any real concrete plan to achieve them sets him up for failure. If his constituents are told that all of these things will happen in the span of his administration, and then hardly anything changes within the first year, that’s simply bad politics.

This is a recurring issue with Democrats in general. They promise too much to get votes, and then don’t follow through once they win elections. By refusing to bypass or eliminate the filibuster, the American people suffer. Democrats get defeated hard in midterm elections by Republicans, and then play victim through fear mongering to win back a majority in the general elections two years after that. It’s a vicious cycle they cannot seem to get themselves out of. Biden is no different.

The opposition created by Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) doesn’t help matters. Their refusal to work with their own party in legislating has shot down two major bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Build Back Better Bill. However, Biden shouldn’t handle these two grown adults with kid gloves. He should be threatening to back primary challengers to them if they don’t vote in line with the party’s interests.

Another area is the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden inherited a big mess, but the outlook a year ago was hopeful. Vaccines were being approved and distributed en masse, and the earliest inkling was that the pandemic would be over in a year, or at least that life would return to normal, with no masking protocols or COVID trackers in the news.

The bar was incredibly low for Biden, and yet he went under it. It has almost been two full years into this pandemic and the United States government just now is sending out free at-home COVID tests and N-95 masks. This was after massive public pushback to Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s scoffing at the idea a month ago. Even though sending out tests and masks is fantastic, only four tests are allowed to be sent to one mailing address. There are huge gaps in accessibility to these free tests. What about larger families, the homeless population, a group of college kids living in one house? There seem to be more questions than answers.

On top of this, the optics of both the Biden administration and the CDC’s handling of the delta and omicron variants have hampered recovery efforts. Scaling back mask mandates without enforcing vaccine mandates (which has proven to be its own legal hurdle), and then trying to reinforce those mask mandates as cases rose was a recipe for disaster. On top of that, not instituting a lockdown when cases were at all time highs, or providing any sort of scaling back led to the death toll in one year under Biden surpassing that of his predecessor. The Biden administration’s response to the pandemic has been underwhelming and, frankly, tone deaf.

As far as legislative victories, the only one of importance has been the passing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. America desperately needs upgrades to its infrastructure and to turn towards more environmentally friendly methods of transportation. Speaking as a massive fan of public transportation, this package being signed into law was a great step forward.

Despite that, the first year of the Biden administration has been a major letdown. After a campaign littered with platitudes like “build back better” and “fighting for the soul of America,” it seems Biden is all talk, at least for his constituents. The economy has been doing great under Biden, as the administration has been proud to proclaim. Unemployment is down and millions of jobs were created last year. Yet inflation is at the highest level in decades. That means Biden’s millionaire donors are happy, because the capitalist economy is strong, but it comes at the expense of the working class.

If I had to give a grade to the Biden administration one year in, it would be a D-. There isn’t enough that’s been done to justify anything higher. It’s still a passing grade, but just barely. With the midterm elections coming up this year, it’s hard to anticipate anything short of a bloodbath for Democrats, due to the missteps of the Biden administration one year in.

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