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Joe Biden's Trumpian first 100 days

Joe Biden's Trumpian first 100 days
© Greg Nash

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE is and remains a disrupter. In the real estate business, as a TV celebrity host and as president, Trump’s strategy was to divide, disrupt and conquer. Yet, ironically, Joe Biden in just 100 days is massively out-trumping Trump as disruptor-in-chief. 

Viewed from outside the Beltway bubble and Alice’s political looking glass, what Biden has done and proposed so far seems competitive with the disruptions of 1776 and 1933. In 1776, and opposed by a majority of colonists in the New World, America declared its independence from King George III and Britain noting “that when government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it and establish a new one.” In 1933, President Roosevelt confronted the Great Depression with the New Deal, which ultimately transformed America, laying the foundation for social and economic safety nets.

Now Biden is attempting perhaps an equally tectonic shift in America’s culture, economy and even foreign policy. Regarding foreign policy, Biden has reversed many of Trump’s policies. The U.S. has rejoined the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization and is negotiating re-entry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the UN Permanent Five plus One. He held a virtual climate summit with some three-dozen leaders of other countries. He has been firm so far with Russia and China. And the decision to withdraw all American (and coalition) forces from Afghanistan was made despite strong resistance from the Pentagon and members of both parties in Congress. 

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All has not gone smoothly. Declaring an Armenian genocide has angered our NATO ally Turkey. Rescinding many of Trump’s executive orders has not resolved the immigration issues and the border crisis. Calls for bipartisanship have so far rung hollow. And the most disruptive of his actions regarding a fundamental economic and political change are before a narrowly divided and divisive Congress. 

If approved, three of Biden’s proposals could cost a combined $6 trillion — about one-fifth of the current $30 trillion national debt. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Package was passed by the vice president’s tie-breaking vote in the Senate and along party lines in the House. The $2.3 trillion jobs bill; the latest $2 trillion education and social package; and the proposed tax increases for corporations and for incomes over half-a-million dollars for married couples and capital gains for those earning more than one million dollars a year are unlikely to gain any Republican votes. Unless passed under reconciliation, as the Rescue Plan was, without fundamental compromise, each is dead on arrival.

Biden’s disruptive strategy was made clear in his April 28 address to Congress. Biden was passionate and direct in his speech. His bet is that if he can win support of 52 percent or more of the public, that show of bipartisanship will get him and his two proposed spending bills across the finish line. This is not the first time that the opposition party in a narrowly divided Congress has been bypassed. President Truman ran against the “Do-Nothing” 80th Congress in 1948 when for the first time since the Great Depression Republicans held a slim margin of control. And Truman and the Democrats carried the election known by the famous Chicago Tribune headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

But Biden has several important questions to answer: How is all of this spending going to be administered, controlled, managed and full oversight assured? How is the debt to be repaid and how will the economy react? In foreign policy, what actions are underway that will correct the crisis on the southern border and for what contingencies is the U.S. preparing as it withdraws from Afghanistan? So far, no answers have been forthcoming.

Of course, in 1776 and 1933, no analysis or plans were fully present, and those disruptions seemed to have worked. Will history repeat itself in 2021?

Harlan Ullman, PhD. is UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave Distinguished Columnist. His latest book, “The Fifth Horseman and the New MAD: The Tragic History of How Massive Attacks of Disruption Are Endangering, Infecting, Engulfing and Disuniting a 51% Nation,” is due out this year.