Opinion: Four presidents take a stand
January 24, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 25.6%. 3 min read.
President Joe Biden and former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama spoke out for unity and the peaceful transfer of power at the Inauguration. The biggest test of Biden's efforts is what happens now — as he seeks Congress' support for Covid-19 relief and the Senate weighs how to try the impeached former President Donald Trump.
They had just attended President Joe Biden's inauguration and were here to pledge their support to him in front of the American people.
You wouldn't know from the harmony of their appeal that a little over 20 years ago, Bush had promised an administration, in contrast to Clinton's, that "will appeal to our better angels, not our darker impulses" or that Obama had told Americans who were out of work in 2008 to blame "the failed policies of George W.
The three men, now friends and members in good standing of the Presidents Club, were a symbolic affirmation of the central themes of Biden's inaugural address — that "democracy has prevailed" and "we must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue. " But the real test of Biden's call for unity is what happens now — as the new President seeks Congress' support for Covid-19 relief and the Senate weighs how to try the impeached (for the second time) former President Donald Trump, who flew out of town the morning of the inauguration.
"We just hit the biggest reset button in history," wrote Van Jones, noting both the swearing in of Kamala Harris as the first woman elected to national office and Biden's speech.
He promised to be a President for all Americans. "
Republican Lanhee Chen endorsed Biden's call to end the "uncivil war" and wrote, "If our new president is able to do as he says and restore even some respect to the very real debates we are sure to have with one another, he will have been a success. "
"These things are hard even in normal times, even when we agree. " But the chances are better with Biden given "his long career and deep relationships on Capitol Hill. "
Credit for averting disaster belongs to American voters, judges, election officials, journalists, a majority of legislators, military leaders and police officers like Eugene Goodman, who was honored at the Inauguration after he "heroically moved the rioters from where US senators were hiding during the electoral vote certification process," Zelizer noted.
And, as Thomas Lake wrote, the mental health challenges posed by the long lockdowns and the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans won't be easy to overcome.
President Trump left the White House hours after issuing more than 100 pardons and other acts of clemency, many to associates and supporters.
If Republicans won't support Biden's economic initiatives, Sanders wrote, he'll use the budget reconciliation process to pass legislation with only 51 votes, instead of the 60 needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.
Biden may not be able to realize his biggest health care aims, wrote Lanhee Chen, citing a lack of enough GOP support for a public option or lowering the Medicare eligibility age.
Sachs wrote, tracing today's stark inequality in America back to January 20, 40 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan said in his Inaugural address: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. "
"President Donald Trump continued this approach — passing massive tax cuts in 2017, and then, when calamity hit with Covid-19 in 2020, placing the burden of response on the states.
It is Biden's historic task to reverse Reagan's — and Trump's — reckless radicalism," wrote Sachs.
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