I Thought We'd All Have Teslas By Now

I thought President Biden was going to get in office and pay Republicans back for the last four years. Boy, was I wrong.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden selects books to give as gifts to charity during a visit to a Costco store on a shopping trip in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 29, 2012.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden selects books to give as gifts to charity during a visit to a Costco store on a shopping trip in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 29, 2012.
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

After the four years of turmoil that America went through under the Trump administration, I assumed that the incoming Democratic presidency — that holds an ever-so-slight lead in Congress — would be ready to take on the GOP, ideally by believing them to be who they actually are (authoritarians), and not what some Democrats imagine them to be (would-be moderates waiting for a neighborly reach across the aisle).

Maybe they would push back. Maybe they would knock them down a few pegs.

Sadly, Democrats seem to be fine with holding the office while not wielding the power it possesses.​​

The Biden administration’s first year in office has been lackluster, a virtual milquetoast macaroni salad with way too much mayonnaise, if that mayo was called “inertia.” During his time in office, Trump and his regime of overly enthusiastic followers didn’t just draw a line in the sand; they crushed the buildings of democracy and then made a line out of what was left, and then moved that line so much there was no reason to it. Democrats watched as Trump made it clear he had no interest in bipartisanship, yet Democrats still believe some Republicans can be convinced through sound reasoning and logic to leave their beloved party and come on over to the mild side. Why they think this, who knows, as Trump proved that Republicans don’t even care about their self-interest as long as enacted policy fuels their base. Trump was so brazen in his virulent dislike of Democrats that as coronavirus deaths were sharply rising, the death tolls weren’t so staggering if you didn’t include Democratic states.

“If you take the blue states out,” Trump said in September 2020, “we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level.”

“I thought I’d be walking into my children’s day care and making it rain child tax credit money. I assumed I’d be prank-calling my student loan company after my debt was wiped clean.”

Do you know how cold-blooded you have to be to declare that those who’ve died under your watch don’t matter and shouldn’t even be included in the death toll because they didn’t vote for you, and yet some Democrats still want to play nice? Maybe I was the short-sighted one because I assumed after Democrats took control of the White House and Congress that we’d all have Teslas as we directly took on climate change. I thought I’d be walking into my children’s day care and making it rain child tax credit money. I assumed I’d be prank-calling my student loan company after my debt was wiped clean. I figured Democrats would, at the very least, provide coronavirus aid for those still struggling during this never-ending pandemic, or, at the very, very least, we’d all get coronavirus tests sent to our homes.

But that was a joke until it wasn’t.

In December, White House press secretary Jen Psaki got indignant when asked whether the White House planned to reimburse folks who paid for coronavirus tests because they couldn’t get appointments with testing sites.

Psaki snapped: “Should we just send one to every American?”

Two weeks after Psaki’s dismissive reply, the Biden administration implemented that exact strategy, although folks are still waiting for their tests. But they are coming, supposedly.

The point is this: Campaign trail Biden and the Oval Office Biden are two starkly different beasts. Campaign Trail Biden was gangsta rap. Oval Office Biden is smooth jazz.

According to Politifact, Biden promised to end for-profit detention centers, eliminate cash bail, eliminate mandatory minimums for criminals, decriminalize marijuana, support studying reparations for Black folks, make public colleges and universities free, and guarantee seven days of paid sick leave. He also said he’d increase the federal minimum wage to $15. And that’s just a handful of promises made that have gone nowhere in Biden’s first year in office.

It hasn’t all been lost though, as it looks like Biden has enacted domestic terrorism law — wait, it’s not an actual law, but there is an official strategy to heighten the focus on domestic terrorism. He’s gotten bipartisan support for the economy and implemented a nationwide mask mandate that he couldn’t really enforce and many red states ignored.

So in total, Biden has kept a whopping 3% of his campaign promises. And I can already hear you shouting into your computer screens, “Stephen, it’s only been a year! And Biden has outpaced Trump in the executive order race!” Yes, Biden has issued a slew of executive orders mostly to undo Trump’s executive order barrage (think rejoining the Paris agreement on climate change) and to combat the coronavirus. He did sign an executive order to promote racial equity, but this is not what I had in mind when Dems took office.

I can’t lie. I wanted Biden to come into the office and pull rank. I wanted the child tax credit to become permanent. I wanted the unvaccinated and unmasked to be held accountable. I wanted a wall around Florida (fine, not all of Florida. Maybe just a wall around Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.) I wanted my student loan debt canceled.

Instead, it’s time for Biden to break down his Build Back Better bill — the massive piece of legislation that was thwarted by pseudo-Democrat West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — and push as many policies through that can make it. I know it won’t be the signature move Biden was looking for in his first year in office. Still, there are too many essential legislation pieces, including funding for universal pre-K, child tax credits, four weeks of paid leave and affordable housing, to ignore. In a tightly wound Senate, Manchin is the unfortunate deciding factor and he knows it. And what might be the worst part of all is that Biden is going to have to work with Manchin to get some version of this bill across the goalline before midterms or run the risk of losing valuable seats.

While Democrats are reaching across the aisle in their own party, Trump had no such distractions from his hatred of Democrats. He held meetings about American policy without Democrats; he worked more with the on-air talent at Fox News than he did with Democrats. Trump’s disdain turned into disrespect towards Democrats; he openly played them and even gave them derogatory nicknames. And I wanted something akin to this because I believe in the power of pettiness. I wanted Biden to come into office and mock Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) thirst for power and physical attributes in equal measure. I wanted him to tell Republicans not to bother reaching across the aisle because they will be smacking hands away for the next four years.

I wanted Biden to subvert Michelle Obama’s iconic pledge, that instead of going high, when they go low, we would go lower.

I guess I just wanted Biden to quit playing nice, take his gloves off and get to swinging back. It’s long past time for Democrats to stop believing that there is still a middle ground; there is not. Democrats have the office now, and it’s time to start acting like it. Now, if someone from the White House can contact me, I would like to send them my Tesla modifications and bank account information for my day care money.