Jerry Kremer

It’s time to give Joe Biden a break


Since taking office, President Biden has been the subject of all manner of criticism. Most of it focuses on his age. He is described as weak, bumbling, demented and a host of other unkind adjectives. But somehow, in just two years, he has accomplished more than some presidents could ever have hoped to do. Isn’t it time to give Biden a break?
His recent trip to the Ukraine, against the wishes of the Secret Service, sent a message to the world that he was not afraid of the Russian army or anyone else, in his determination to show his support for the Ukrainian people. Taking a 10-hour train ride into a country at war was a historic moment, and showed that “Scranton Joe” wasn’t afraid of the consequences.
Following his trip to the Ukraine, he met with leaders of NATO countries and leaders of nations that share borders with Russia. At a time when Russia has made it clear that it wishes to once again be a world power, Biden has united virtually all of Europe, which sends a powerful message to Russian president Vladimir Putin that the West will not allow him to succeed in his dangerous power play.
On top of his international success, Biden has notched a series of bipartisan wins on infrastructure, chip manufacturing and climate change. Over the next five to 10 years, communities all over America will benefit from the construction of new bridges, the reconstruction of aging highways, the revitalization of mass transit and thousands of other public works programs that will produce millions of new jobs. Prior to its passage by Congress, there had not been a major infrastructure bill since the early 1990s.
There is no doubt that the country has suffered the fallout from a tough period of inflation, but there has been a sharp rebound, and the prediction of a crushing recession has not proved accurate. The unemployment rate is the lowest since the early 1960s. To date, over 8 million new jobs have been created in numerous industries, and with the bipartisan silicon chip bill, many more will be added. Not to be forgotten is the climate change law that gives the federal government extensive powers to clean up the environment.

Biden’s record has not been all roses. He continues to be plagued by problems at the Southern border, as millions of people from poor countries seek new lives and have overwhelmed the federal bureaucracy. The president has yet to propose a comprehensive immigration plan to send to Congress. But it is also a fact that Congress has no appetite to pass anything that will solve the problem. We are still waiting for legislation that will protect the millions of so-called Dreamers.
Critics looking for signs of mental weakness were disappointed by Biden’s State of the Union address. He displayed a strong command of his long-term goals, and managed to trap his Republican opposition into backing off on their desire to cut Social Security and Medicare. But the next two years promise to be a daily battle with the newly empowered Republican House majority, and it will be a further test of Biden’s political abilities.
He has strongly hinted that he will seek another term, and many Democratic office holders have pledged to support him if he runs. Polling shows that the country is clearly ready for a younger nominee, but the politics of 2024 are so muddled that Biden could win another term, especially if former President Donald Trump fails to win the Republican nomination and runs as a third-party candidate.
There is no way to predict whether Biden will continue to have the stamina to hold on to the presidency, but to date he has defied his detractors. He is an 80-year-old man who has defied the odds. History will probably treat him better than his critics, because the facts are out there for all to see. He has shown that all of the harsh predictions about his strength and abilities have proven to be wrong. So maybe it’s time to give the president a break, and a few pats on the back.

Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?