Wissot: The best one-term president ever | VailDaily.com
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Wissot: The best one-term president ever

As a septuagenarian myself, I found it depressing to see two old men, one a few years younger than me, the other a few years older, duking it out for the presidency last year. It disturbed me that we couldn’t find someone to run for president who wasn’t a candidate for cataract surgery.

I’m all for elder care. I’m just not in favor of elders caring for the country. I’d like to see a person who didn’t grow up listening to music on a Victrola or keeping food cold in an ice box become president in 2024.

But being the oldest person ever elected president might give Joe Biden the freedom to govern without the worry of how his decisions might effect his chances for re-election. He can do that by deciding right now that he won’t run for re-election at age 81 but choose instead to put his efforts into being the best one-term president ever.



Biden’s presidency will be judged not by his legislative accomplishments in overcoming the “100 percent” opposition to his progressive agenda as promised by Mitch McConnell, but by his fundamental decency and competency which was totally lacking in his predecessor.

Biden holding a vigil on the eve of his inauguration to mourn the some 400,000 souls lost to COVID-19 at the time symbolized his empathic nature and deep personal understanding of the very human need to grieve. The highly favorable approval ratings he received for the speed in which he got vaccines into American arms was a testament to his ability to effectively meet the challenges of a national health crisis.

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Trump took the reactionary impulses of populism, nativism and isolationism and made them the cornerstones of his America First tribalism. Biden can use his one term in office to replace the appeal to parochial prejudices Trump employed to exploit his misinformed followers with a message of multicultural inclusivity buttressed by executive orders which reflect our nation’s better angels.

Trump destroyed morale in important government agencies, leaving them dispirited and short-staffed. Severe damage was done to the State Department, the Justice Department, the EPA, the CDC, where career employees were purged because of Trump’s accurate assessment that they would repudiate his lies and shine a light on his misconduct. Lifting up, not tearing down the engines of government is where Biden can display his competence and respect for the importance of functioning institutions.

A similar effort is required to repair relationships with our allies in NATO, Western Europe, and democracies around the world. That task will take time to accomplish given Trump’s penchant for cozying up to dictators and thumbing his nose at leaders who governed their countries by relying on democratic norms rather than ruthless oppression. Not playing the part of Putin’s patsy at summit meetings or hopscotching across the DMZ with the leader of North Korea would demonstrate a return to this country’s traditional belief in the rule of law and not the law of rulers.

Disavowing isolationism and embracing globalism in order to tackle the effects of climate change, cyber attacks on infrastructure, and the containment of pandemics, is a clear way for Biden to tell the world that America is back and ready to assume its briefly suspended role as the world’s leading superpower. The announcement that his administration will donate “500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 92 low and middle- income countries“ will go a long way in re-establishing our presence on the world stage and restoring our global stature.

The best thing Joe Biden can do over the next three plus years is be himself. He’s been referred to as “Uncle Joe” and “Amtrak Joe.” He comes across as a regular Joe, the Joe you already know, a Joe, unlike most presidents, with whom you really would like to have a beer — a non-alcoholic beer for Joe, of course.

He relates to the electorate as a real human being, not a convoluted cult figure.

Does he walk with the halting gait of an elderly person Yes. Do you hear him occasionally stutter when giving a speech? Yes. Does he suffer from memory loss? Yes.

But none of that mattered to the more than 81 million people who voted for him. He was elected because voters trusted his competence and admired his decency. He defeated the most incompetent and indecent president in modern memory.

Biden’s success as a one-term president will be predicated on his being everything Trump wasn’t as a person and doing everything he failed to do as a leader.

Trump mockingly called Biden “Sleepy Joe” during the campaign. “Sleepy Joe” doesn’t care because he is sleeping in the White House and Donald Trump isn’t.


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