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Joe Biden: The Incredible Disappearing President



President Biden.

President Biden. Illustrations | Getty Images, iStock

Pictures of Joe Biden giving speeches and shaking hands with international dignitaries during his ongoing trip to Europe will take up space in the news next week. But when he returned to the United States The pattern that has been prevalent over the past five months is also making a comeback.

This means that the president will disappear again.

It is common for Democrats during the 2020 presidential campaign to actively discuss how boring the Biden administration will be compared to a vicious cycle of chaos, cruelty and resentment that does not. halted under President Trump Where Trump tweets political party provocations day and night. With journalists and experts writing, analyzing and condemning 24/7, life under Biden̵

7;s presidency will return to normal at a slower pace and the president has moved away from public view. allow others and A topic that will prevail and our nation’s public life to settle down and maintain perhaps even a slight return of unity.

That’s not what happened. Biden really took a step back — certainly compared to Trump, but compared to Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Biden didn’t talk or do much in public. He was pleased to allow quasi representatives, employees and Democrats in Congress to lead the administration’s message. The result is often feeling as though we don’t have a president at all.

But the nation is still not at peace on the contrary The virtual war that has beset the country over the past four years continues. The main difference is that the president has a very small percentage of them. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it points to the deeper cultural and political shifts that shape the context for the presidency.

In addition to the desire to do the opposite of Trump. There are still a number of strong arguments that support the president’s underrepresentation in our politics. Treating the president like a king is bad for democratic health. So anything that cuts down on his role will be fine. Less prominent executive heads may allow power to flow back to Congress or states. and retired from the presidency of the empire Most invisible presidents are less likely to create war hysteria.

And then there is the case of going back to the original idea of ​​the president standing above politics. Perhaps the best way for a president to stay above the political struggle is for him to intervene less frequently in partisan disputes, remaining largely silent as they rage around him.

as i said This is a powerful argument. But do these really have to do with the world we live in? I was reminded of Aristotle’s tendency to separate “simple” arguments from arguments that were true in particularly concrete situations. If we could start a new country from scratch knowing how we ended up It might be a good idea to double down on our efforts to avoid presidency in the roles that have taken place throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but considering the way history was actually revealed, I doubt the arguments in Are these ideals relevant?

Throughout most of the 20th century, the president was the head of the administration. political party leader and the armed forces commander, who would sometimes speak to the country as a whole and was treated as its leader Democrat or Republican liberal or conservative In town or country, man or woman, white or black or brown. When the president speaks to the nation especially in times of crisis Most Americans will listen with respect, confident that he speaks for and the whole country. In this respect, the original idea of ​​a president outside politics still exists. Along with the political role he will play more.

This continued even as the parties It has become more ideologically polarized and the country as a whole has become more centralized over the past several decades. In a country divided by party, class, race, education, region, culture, religion, entertainment, news source and many other differences, the president is the only person who can stand at the center of our national life and speak to us all, in part. The bigger picture, even George W. Bush and Barack Obama can do it on occasion.

But it’s not Donald Trump. No president has called for and is getting more attention from Americans. And no president has steadfastly refused to speak to all Americans equally. (It wasn’t even Lincoln who often spoke with great respect for those who seceded from the war on unions.) Trump has always been a partisan of the tribe. Treats those who don’t vote for him almost as a second class. Citizens as personal enemies and enemies of his supporters and their vision of the United States and its history.

Trump therefore manages both to be as central to our national life as any president. and to greatly increase our zero It’s all for Trump, all the time, with his love or hate for him at the core and often the sum of most people’s political identities.

Biden has the right to reverse this – and it’s probably right to think that he can’t by trying to match or even approach Trump’s prevalent levels in our national lives.

The question is whether fading into the background should help. If the root of the problem is centrality It’s hard to see how this happened. It is true that the missing president will avoid further polarization of the country. But it certainly did not bring the country together.

What we have instead is the vacuum at the center of our public life. which is filled with more noise than ever Many days we feel like a leader. fly apart in a million directions Get into hand-to-hand combat on the deck of an American state ship. without anyone possessing broad legitimacy to jump in, take charge, and restore order and citizenship.

The question is now who can speak for the nation and the nation as a whole? Perhaps the truth is that no one can. At least there are no undeniable external threats to pull us together. Because Trump has taken us beyond the point of no return in our centerlessness.

In that case, Biden’s invisible presidency might be the best that he or anyone could do in this situation — enacting the political sense of a fundamental principle that guides doctors to treat sick patients: don’t. danger


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