President Boring

An image of Joe Biden with the words "Boring as fuck. Thank God."

Has there ever been, in the history of the Presidency of the United States, so low a bar for the incoming occupant of the position as Joe Biden now has? After Donald Trump’s tenure, if Biden did nothing more in his term of office than not shit on floor of the Oval Office, nor set fire to the drapes, he’d still be ahead of the game, in terms of personal comportment. Lord knows Biden is not a perfect man nor a perfect politician, but neither is he a buffoonish sociopath with rage issues and a chorus of inadequacies screaming in and out of his skull all hours of the day and night. Biden is boring, in point of fact, and never has boring felt so good. We’re not settling for boring. Boring is what we’re hoping for.

But boring alone won’t be enough from Biden. It’s been a tradition for the last few presidential cycles for a Republican president to fuck up the country in some significant way, and for a Democrat to come into the office and spend a not insignificant amount of his term fixing things; indeed, one could say fucking up the country is an actual Republican goal, to keep the Democrats from being able to achieve their own policies and plans. In this regard, Trump has done marvelously well; the US is as dysfunctional now as it has ever been short of an actual (declared) civil war, and while Trump did not do that on his own — he had vital assistance from the Republican party, who aided and abetted his worst excesses, up to and including an insurrection against the legislature — he certainly did enough. It’s good that Biden’s boring, relative to Trump. But if boring means simply a functional status quo for the next four years, a milquetoast attempt to get back to “normal,” we’re all fucked.

I want Biden to use his boring for good — a bland, genial and chummy front to keep white people from freaking out about substantive work his underlings are doing. And when I’m talking about “white people” here, I’m not talking about the dimwit QAnon jackasses who will need years of deprogramming to even conceive of the notion that Joe Biden, of all people, is not in fact the head of an international conspiracy to do terrible things to children and pets. I’m also not talking about the actual fascists, who are these days too bold and too many. Those people are lost. Fuck ’em. I’m talking about the rest of the white folks out there, the perfectly nice, oh-sure-we-vote-Republican-but-we-thought-Trump-was-a-bit-much folks, and also the perfectly nice, oh-sure-we-vote-Democrat-but-let’s-not-get-ahead-of-ourselves-here folks, who even after an actual white riot at the Capitol still don’t grasp how their own privilege and assumption got us to a place where we almost chucked away our republic for someone who represents the worst possible version of our union. White people in their obliviousness almost “both sided” our country into authoritarianism and, yes, fascism. We have a loooooong way to go to get back from that bullshit. If Biden’s “Uncle Joe” shtick makes them comfortable on the way, great, because now we really do know what the alternative is.

That said, I’m not expecting miracles from Biden. One, the political reality is there are razor-thin margins of Democratic control in the House and Senate, and then there is a radicalized Republican party, much of which still won’t admit that Biden actually won the presidency in a legitimate election, and which still unfathomably has not chucked to the side a corrupt, unpopular and criminal president who lost them the House, the Senate and the White House. There are things Biden and his administration can and should do from day one, and it looks like at least some of them will be done. But a lot of the really hard lifts are still going to be hard. No one likes to hear that, but it is a real thing.

Two, Biden’s grandfatherly centrist shtick isn’t just a shtick, he’s really that way. He’s a 78-year-old white man who spent his entire political life just to the right of whatever was “center left” at the time, and is still under the illusion that just because he spent time in the Senate with Mitch McConnell, McConnell wouldn’t stab him in both kidneys at the earliest possible convenience, sniggering as he did so. This is yet another place where Kamala Harris will come in handy: pointing out to Biden that the Senate is a very different place now, and there’s only so far “bipartisanship” is going to take him. Hell, Biden should know that after watching eight years of Obama getting his hand slapped away every single time he reached it out. But I guess Biden is gonna give it the ol’ college try anyway.

So, yes, I suspect I will be exasperated with Biden a lot, and remember that I am a well-off cishet white dude who is not, in fact, a radical liberal. However exasperated I will be is a mere fraction of what others, more affected by the nonsense of the last four years, will be feeling. What I’m going to try to remember in those moments is that every step away from the abyss our nation almost toppled into is a good step. Biden will be my president (thank God), but he’s not the president for me. He’s the president for White People Who Still Haven’t Realized How Bad It Just Got, and hopefully through him, things get better for a whole lot of other people. Every day of that will be a victory of sorts. Or could be, at least.

I will take that for now. It’s a vast improvement over what we’ve had for the last four years. I’m willing to let boring work for us. Let’s see where it can get us in four years, and then, possibly, beyond.

— JS

81 Comments on “President Boring”

  1. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge something very important, which is that while I describe Biden as being a president for a particular class of white people, Biden became president because of folks other than white people voting for him (particularly in places like Georgia). I suspect Biden will do well to remember to dance with those who brought him to the dance, even has he’s genially holding the nervous white peoples’ hands.

    Also, if you’re a white person who is upset/offended by my characterizations of white folks here, a) I don’t care, b) please get a grip. What I’ve posted here is actually the very kindest version of what I have to say about white people at the moment — we’ve got a whole lot to answer for these days, my dudes, and a whole lot of work to do. Any suggestions otherwise will be met with extreme skepticism.

    (And yes, #NotAllWhitePeople, but if you’re the sort of person who rushes to make that point, I want you to give a moment’s thought as to why you thought it important to make that point, here, now.)

    Beyond this the usual caveats apply: Political post, Mallet, behave yourselves and be kind or at least polite to others in the thread.

  2. I am not only a white dude, I am a BOOMER White Dude. Even now, after all that has gone down, a MAJORITY of White Dudes my age approve of Trump. Which means my age and gender bear much of the blame!

  3. As someone said about the election – you’re not choosing the guy who will do everything you want, you’re choosing the guy who you’re going to fight with to get what you want, and Joe’s definitely who I prefer to fight with.

  4. As a trans person, boring sounds nice. Not the thought of what fresh hell is this with every news story. Biden will make some progress for my particular community. Overall he will be limited by those he has to work with and his background. I will take it over the last four years.

  5. Lord knows Biden was not my first choice for president. But I think it’s a real misreading to say that he is naive or under any particular illusions re: how stabby Mitch McConnell is.

    When Biden was Vice President, it was under a president who had ascended to the office specifically on a platform of unity, purple states, common ground. They had to go way beyond good-faith efforts and absolutely exhaust the attempts to work with the Republicans. Which they did.

    Biden is still going to make some attempts to work across the aisle because hey, if that works, awesome.

    But he has also indicated in a lot of important ways that he understands the stabbiness full well, and plans to work around it if – as is most likely – he’s not met with any particular reciprocity.

  6. I’d love it if Biden went beyond boring, but that’s just not in his nature. I’ll settle for waking up in the morning without having to wonder what insane shitstorm the imPOTUS tweeted out this morning.

  7. As a cis white male (gen x) I spend much time learning how much I don’t know and how much privilege I really do have. I certainly hope that Biden allows us all to realize how close we came to Joe Stalin presidency and take that breath and start trying to include everyone in the blessings of liberty.

  8. I disagree that Biden thinks McConnell and he are going to get together to sing Kumbaya. Although I think he may be reluctant to take out the shiv, he;s no dummy, and I wish people would just stop portraying him as one.

  9. Biden was not my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc choice for the role, but by god, when he got the nomination I was 100% all-in for him. And I will continue to be all-in for him, even as I maybe criticize and question decisions he makes and actions he takes, because that’s what our country is about.

    Also, I am 100% in agreement with this:
    “White people in their obliviousness almost “both sided” our country into authoritarianism and, yes, fascism. We have a loooooong way to go to get back from that bullshit.”

    I don’t want to hear more white people talking about how “both sides are to blame” and acting like ongoing racism, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny, and general hate are just minor inconveniences and something we should just shrug and deal with.

  10. I’m still (hopelessly) optimistic that Biden learned the same lessons from the Obama Administration as a lot of us have. Today’s moves — dragging McConnel and McCarthy to Church to publicly acknowledge his victory, making the first bill a Voting Rights bill and implicitly daring the Republicans to filibuster it, and appointing a trans woman to a post requiring Senate confirmation and not caring about how that might play on Fox and Breitbart — speaks to a strength and confidence we are not used to seeing from centrist Democrats.

  11. A literal wet, leaky sack of dog crap would serve as a better POTUS than Trump. Fortunately for everyone, Joe Biden is many steps above a literal wet, leaky sack of dog crap.

  12. About white people (me). My lesson has been that I must stop projecting my experience as what others have experienced. Try really, really, really hard to listen to what their experience is and accept it, not sit in judgement. “But (behold the underlying truth)” I refuse to wear what someone else demands they won’t wear. “All” whatever.

    Biden. IMHO, same with Obama, too many are going to expect too much from someone who, thank whatever, isn’t all powerful. Then be really, really angry he couldn’t deliver on their unreasonable expectations. Again, IMHO, only two things will make any huge difference at this point and it’s at the State level: Some type of Ranked choice voting (RCV) so the right leaning among us aren’t always in fear of who is more right then they are in a primary. End gerrymandering. Only then will you have a legislature that includes conservatives who are truly interested in getting something done.

  13. Hank Roberts – California – I'm Nobody! Who are you? Are you --Nobody --Too? Then there's a pair of us? Don't tell! they'd advertise --you know! How dreary --to be --Somebody! How public --like a Frog -- To tell one's name --the livelong June -- To an admiring B[l]og! [Parody, with apology to] -- Emily Dickinson____ http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/711.html ____ Avatar stolen from illustration by James Donnelly of THE BASIC LAWS OF HUMAN STUPIDITY by Carlo M. Cipolla, www.cantrip.org/stupidity.html or http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/ or 'oogle it. _________________________ DISAMBIGUATION: not Hank Roberts the Internet Guy/Vlogger; not the cellist [hankrobertsmusic]; not the camping stove maker; not the angler; not British [hankroberts.org.uk]; not a corporate nor a union officer; not from Chicago; not at Southern Pacific; not the award-winning educator at peacemakersinc. You see the pattern. => If you may know me, ask; likely I owe you a long-borrowed book, an apology, thanks, and applause.
    Hank Roberts

    Lordy, given where* you live, are you grateful your neighbors don’t read what you write and show up with torches and pitchforks on your front lawn?

    having lived in Ohio for 8 years myself, mostly as an overt liberal hippie

  14. I’ve kinda thought from a distance that Mr Biden is the acceptable face of the presidency for the next four (or 8) years, getting to heal some divisions and wake people up, helping them to realise that actually anyone who isn’t white isn’t someone to be scared of, while Ms Harris and others do the hard work behind the scenes and then hopefully move things forward once he’s done.

  15. Hank Roberts:

    What makes you think my neighbors don’t read my site? And aren’t otherwise aware of my opinions?

  16. Boring is good. However, the Insane clown presidency is a lot more bearable since Twitter defenestrated him.

    I don’t have high hopes for Biden, but he’ll not actively be drilling holes in the bottom of the boat like the orange one. Given the House and Senate, that’s about the best we can hope for.

    Already the Repubs are screaming “amnesty!! Open borders” about his immigration plan, and “muh deficit !11!!!” about covid relief, so it’ll be the same old same old hypocrisy from the GOP.

  17. Has there ever been? Well, yeah. When Lincoln replaced Buchanan. But yeah, Trump to Biden probably tops that, now that I think of it.

  18. I think we’re going to be happy with Biden’s treatment of Republicans. Or maybe not happy, but it’ll be reasonably well done.

    Both Obama and Biden can’t go full-bore against Republicans the way Trump and Republicans have done to Democrats for the last 25 years. Obama was black and there would have been a huge backlash, Biden has 30% of the country who rabidly believe he stole the election, etc and he’s coming on the heels of the worst, most divisive president we’ve ever had. You can already see the media moving the goalposts on what they consider to be acceptable, and he’s well aware of that.

    But you can already see how this is going to shake out. Biden’s going to make bi-partisan noises. He’s going to talk about how we all need to get along. And at the same time he’s going to nominate people that Republicans really disapprove of, push for immigration and voting rights fixes, has announced a bevy of very good executive orders, etc.

    Basically, he’s going to be nice and call for civility and bipartisanship, and then pursue a leftish policy anyway. He’s leaving a door open to Republicans who want to save face (if there are any), not making any nervous white people who voted for him nervous, and is still going to push for better change. We’re going to get stymied a lot (see the Republican minority), but it’s not going to be because Biden doesn’t know what he’s dealing with.

  19. You are not, in fact, a radical liberal. The fact that your MOR opinions are viewed as “left-wing extremism” by so many only illustrates how reactionary the right has become in our society. May your prediction of boring, but effective, bear fruit. Your opinions about white people are much kinder than mine. I’ve been in time out for years and I don’t think I’m getting out any time soon. As always, thank you for your reasonableness.

  20. Lol. I’ve been saying that for months. It was a hoot on CNN, the night Biden officially won (for the second time?), to hear Cuomo and Lemon joking about the boring acceptance speech. Then they started joking and parodying all the ways that Trump would have said it. I’m seriously paraphrasing, but Cuomo says, ‘won’t you miss it?’, and Lemon just says a flat ‘no’.
    Anyway boring is good, both in presidents and life. There’s always going to be another hump in the road ahead. Enjoy the boring.

  21. I’m looking forward to boring as well. I want a B+ president. Someone who’ll fix the shit that was ladled on us the past four years, and give us an improvement or two.

    That being said, I know I’m going to see some on the left who will positively despise Biden because he won’t wave a magic Oval Office wand and instantly deliver their heart’s desire, whether it’s a UBI or totally free college or hot-and-cold running Medicare for all.

    They’ll bitch about him just as much as Obama was bitched about, and I’ll have to remind myself to tolerantly wish them well, and remind myself that we don’t have a sociopath running the country. I’ll take that, thank you.

  22. Well said, as usual. Harris was actually my first pick for president, but yeah, I will absolutely take Good Ol’ boring Joe with VP Harris doing a lot of the behind the scenes work. And I note that a female POC doing a lot of behind the scenes work for an older white dude is very much on point for our country.

    I will very much enjoy not having our country face a existential fucking crisis every 3 fucking days – boring is going to be a QUITE REFRESHING change of pace.

    On that note, I hope the rumors of state capitol uprisings are just that and, given what happened on Jan 6th, I am relieved (sad at the necessity, but relieved) that DC has basically turned into a fortress for the inauguration.

  23. Cindy F, a friend of mine used to work for Jerry Springer. He said Jerry’s opinion of Trump was “the guy should be on my show, NOT in the White House!”

  24. I think you’re damning him with faint praise here. Yes, he will hand-hold the nervous wypipo that need comforting that they won’t ACTUALLY get defenestrated by angry Visigoth hordes rampaging o’er the body politic.

    More importantly, and something I think he was uniquely suited for even moreso than all the other primary contenders, is knowing how the government ACTUALLY operates. He, and his cabinet selections know the levers. Where the levers are, where they may have been hidden, and how to find the (many) boobytraps left for them by figurative and actual vandals in the Trump Administration.

    Yes, we have a large number of long term problems that need dealing with, but right now this country is the equivalent of cancer patient who’s been shot. I agree that the lung cancer is an ISSUE, but I think the higher priority at the moment, is dealing with the sucking chest wound.

    Complaining that the Paramedic on site isn’t addressing the carcinoma is kind of missing the point.

  25. Yeah, Biden doesn’t seem stupid. He got elected on a platform of, basically, “not Trump” – i.e. “a decent man who is compassionate, empathic and actually knows what he’s doing”. So being open to bipartisanship isn’t stupid – it’s who he is and promised to be. At the same time, as many here have mentioned, he and his government seem to be well aware of how to push things through in the absence of bipartisanship, and also prepared to do that.

    Biden also has long experience in foreign policy. Which does require a skill to get stuff done when the people you’re negotiating with can be extremely adversarial.

    And yeah, I think it’s a good idea for everyone to stay engaged politically, so that this doesn’t end up being the first of many authoritarian regimes in your country. Governments can do reforms; the important work – such as making authoritarianism unacceptable among all groups of people – is at grass roots level IMO.

    Good luck.

  26. I am heartened by his slate of nominees for appointments, who are not all straight white dudes. (I appreciate the jab of nominating Merrick Garland who is, while also understanding that my preferred nominees for that job would potentially have to recuse themselves from a lot. I also understand the political realities that are keeping Elizabeth Warren – my primary candidate – and others in the Senate for now.)

  27. I expect Biden will be an efficient and balanced administrator. Unfortunately what I think we NEED is a truly great President.

    I’m ready for for years of boring, too, I just don’t want it to be 4 boring years then back to the Republi-Supremacist Party.

  28. I haven’t seen anything in this discussion that I particularly disagree with. I personally don’t see Biden as quite as boring, and I’m a white cishet gay man, so I have always had a slightly different view of things to some degree.

    But one way that I think a lot of things people are pointing out may actually work in our favor as a country. The standard response to a resounding Democratic presidential victory has, in my lifetime, been “Oh, good, now we can relax for four years, because everything will be all better now,” only to get roundly trounced at the midterms.

    If seeing Biden working hard and being all Presidential and grandfatherly and civil and stuff, while being disappointed that he’s not magically fixing everything because he’s an Old White Dude Who Doesn’t Get It keeps Democrats engaged, if frustrations at Things Not Moving Fast Enough means that state and local and federal mid-terms are finally taken seriously by Democratic voters – and donors, and the bullets we (in some cases literally) dodged keeps people on edge and not complacent that the Republicans will magically see the error of their ways means we keep – or better yet, expand – the margins in the House and Senate during what is likely to be one of the most brutal midterms ever, then that will be a very good thing. Maybe we will have actually woken up more, and realized that we have to participate, even during “off years” – because for the foreseeable future, there won’t be any “off years” if we want to still have a country.

  29. I’m an old white dude who wanted Liz. I’m glad we got Joe instead (and I still love Liz). I’m not dumb enough to claim I understand anyone less privileged than I’ve been, but I’ll comment that it really wasn’t white dudes who put Joe over the top in the nominating contest. Before we damn Joe with too much faint praise, maybe we ought to consider what it means that people who’ve really been on the wrong side of racism/fascism decided they wanted Joe.

  30. Boring? Eh, maybe?

    If he doesnt shield these traitorous bastards and his attorney general is announcing convictions every week, that would be pretty exciting to me.

    If he takes the standard dem corward “look forward, not back” response, then he’d be more enraging than boring.

    So, will wait and see….

  31. To echo a few other people here, I don’t think Biden will be “boring” so much as “not exciting”, which is a big difference. If “Trump shits his pants on national TV again” is your definition of exciting, then we’re absolutely not going to get any of it. Biden won’t drive clicks the same way Trump did, but that’s a good thing overall.

    I do think he’s going to have an enormous challenge keeping Dems engaged while Republicans continually increase the DefCon level, but I’m not really sure what to do about that. Hell, Obama couldn’t do that and he was the most legitimately exciting and engaging President we’ve had in 50 years.

    But I’m really hoping that some eyes have been opened as to what the Republican Party is, and that will keep people voting and paying attention. We’re seeing a lot of improvements already, as Biden and the DNC are starting to put more money and attention on State Parties to keep people involved and to keep election infrastructure in place.

  32. I am looking forward to four years of NOT experiencing OMG WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS every time I look at social media. Boring is good.

    But you know what? Competent is even BETTER. After the trash fire of the last four years, I am going to be quite happy in seeing people who know what the fuck they are doing in charge of things. It’s about frickin’ time. I’ll be even happier to NOT see the near-future SF I’ve already written come perilously close to reality (I kept looking back at my Netwalk Sequence books and cringing because I had projected chaos in the ’20s back when I was putting down the foundation of that world. Now I can rebrand and rerelease them this fall with a sigh of relief).

    That said, we MUST organize. Once I’m done with my political history posts over on my Substack, I plan to start updating and revising some political organizing posts I wrote back in the ’90s. Update to reflect social media, but otherwise it’s gonna be my (somewhat well-informed) view on what we must do. Stacey Abrams showed us in Georgia. We MUST follow up on her lead. Change does not happen at the higher levels but ultimately comes from below. Our right wing opponents figured that out in the ’80s and ’90s, while our folks were playing around with paid canvassers as the way to go. Uh-uh.

  33. I’m with Les M, that I am heartened by his nominees who generally seem to be both competent and diverse. Biden was not my first choice, and when he was nominated I thought it was a missed opportunity, but I’m no longer sure that was true. I agree with Doug Clark that we need someone who will stop the sucking chest wound so that the patient survives long enough to treat the carcinoma, and I think the Biden-Harris administration is shaping up well in that regard.

    But also, I’m certain I’m not the only one thinking ahead to midterms and how I can support inclusive efforts, given that I’m in a solidly blue state and district. I had coasted for years on “good enough;” I voted, but was absolutely nobody’s idea of an activist. Privilege, yada, yada – I know I’m late to the party, but I’m here now and I’m planning to be, I don’t know, serving up snacks and wiping off the tables in support of the main actors.

  34. @Paul – ” Before we damn Joe with too much faint praise, maybe we ought to consider what it means that people who’ve really been on the wrong side of racism/fascism decided they wanted Joe.”

    Valid and thoughtful and something I shouldn’t overlook in my own opinions!

  35. I saw recently (in Mediocre, maybe) about how women tend to get handed the CEO position after things have gone to hell in a handbasket, and there’s really no hope. And then, in a couple of years when things are better they get fired and another bold white man gets the company to wreck again. This feels like that. Everyone will complain about Biden and everything he does, but the country will look markedly better when he’s done. And then he’ll be replaced by some Trump-like Republican mavericking it up and wrecking more shit.

  36. I cannot tell whether Biden really thinks being aw shucks let’s work together will actually accomplish something or whether it’s just the song and dance he needs to do so the fringe right doesn’t have a full meltdown (as opposed to the inevitable screeching and complaining) when the dems actually work to accomplish something. Which I guess is how it would need to be if it was just a song and dance. But it sure does make my eye twitch.

    I’m under no illusions about what the R congressional crowd will do to stop anything from happening or what Biden could actually manage to do even if he went full scorched earth, so I am just not gonna worry about it too much (because what can I do about it if he’s really that deluded?) but it does concern me with regards to all the stuff his admin can accomplish just running the executive branch and with orders. I’m feeling a wee more on the optimistic side of the teeter-totter based on the nominations and moves they’re announcing so far.

    I’m assuming my warm fuzzy will last a week or two, but I’ll take it.

  37. I am very much looking forward to waking up every morning and not having to dread viewing the news to see what humiliating thing my president has done the day before. Liz Warren was my choice. Bernie was my second choice, Biden, who I do actually view as good ole Uncle Joe, was still very close to the bottom of the people I would have voted for if I ever got a valid vote in the primary. Which is almost always decided before it gets to my state. I absolutely mailed in my vote, and made sure my husband and daughter mailed theirs as well. And even if he wasn’t my choice I still am very much looking forward to tomorrow, and the next 4 years. I can settle for boring.

  38. Nathan – Wichita, KS – I am the Community Manager and a Project Manager for Kodi, as well as the President of the XBMC Foundation. I also like to make videos in my spare time.
    Nate from Kansas

    I’ve read from a few different sources is that Biden may have more luck than Obama, because he approaches deal-making differently. Obama did this thing where he pre-supposed what the GOP wanted, built it into the bill, and then said, “Look, I gave you something, please vote for it.”

    This may have been a mistake, because there’s a good chance what the GOP actually wants isn’t the same thing as what they say they want. When a Dem president is in the office, they often say they want austerity. But the reality is they probably want other things, like tax cuts, instead. The fact that they didn’t want austerity while Trump was in office kinda points to what they really are looking for.

    I have faith that if it’s possible to get a deal out of some of the republicans, Biden is probably the only guy who can do it. And I’m hopeful that he’ll be aware enough to see when are where deals are and are not possible.

  39. Hell, Biden should know that after watching eight years of Obama getting his hand slapped away every single time he reached it out. But I guess Biden is gonna give it the ol’ college try anyway.

    given that he isn’t “the black guy” I expect him to get his hand slapped away just a few symbolic times fewer but still not get anything meaningful done unless he goes full out Ceasar and leaves the grandfatherly centrist shtick at home.

  40. With apologies to Shange, I feel like maybe He’s the president for White People Who Still Haven’t Realized How Bad It Just Got When the Rainbow was Too Gotdam Skeery.

    I, a white straight-passing cis-female gen-X progressive who verges on radicalism sometimes, legit hope he does his grandfatherly schtick for oh maybe six months or so, then lets Harris take the wheel, largely because I feel confident that she is EXTREMELY aware that the attempts to get along didn’t work well for Obama and will take McConnell’s kidney shivs and send them right back with interest; also I hope in the next two years they set an agenda of relentlessly and unstintingly pushing everything as far left as they possibly can even though there will be some rebound and all, because I feel like there will be rebound regardless and so we might as well start that from a place that is maybe barely in shouting distance of not sucking? I will be thrilled if the upshot of that is then momentum which is maintained after 2022.

    (Neither Biden nor Harris was my first choice, but wow am I here for this presidency).

  41. Boring, perhaps, but definitely not stupid and sure as hell not naive. Think about it–he was elected to the senate in 1972, before Watergate, the war in Vietnam still raging, long before economic recession and Reagan. Biden has seen everything.

    The fact that he chose Harris as his running mate–enthusiastically, I think–is also proof that he is not so out of touch of the country’s present and future. Good luck to him.

  42. You do a good job of summing up my thoughts on the matter, but I will say that Biden absolutely CANNOT just ‘forgive and forget’. The people who broke law after law and convention after convention HAVE to be held accountable for it or the next attempt at a coup will certainly succeed. We are actually rather lucky that Trump and his cadre of incompetents are so incompetent. If he was actually not just a narcissistic dilettante who regards his job as just an annoyance to get through until his next game of golf, we’d be in real trouble and probably looking at the new Fascist Republic of America.

    There also HAS to be a way found to keep media (traditional and social) from constantly lying all day every day. I know the 1st Amendment concerns but lying without consequence means that a large percentage of people will always believe the easy lies vs. the hard truths… and if we don’t fix this problem we will be back here again sooner than later.

  43. As a Canadian ( for the last 50 years anyway ), I applaud boring.
    BTW, have you all read the “1776 Report”? I am astounded that some people consider that a logical, reality based analysis of US education

  44. As long as he can stay on the script he has stated, I’ll live with him. Just his first hundred days looks more impressive to me than all four years of the dumpster fire.

    Someday soon I might get a decent nights sleep ( without having to apply alcohol) because I no longer will have to worry about chaos from the top.

    Though COVID is a nasty beast, it might be the thing to get unity rolling towards something other then scorn. An organized response to it will open some eyes to how horrid the last Prez was.

    I look forward to it. Even though he was somewhere around number 4 on my first list, I see a lot of sense in him now.

  45. I >do< take notice that Biden scheduled a unitary prayer breakfast for Dem and Rep. leaders at the same time as the Orange One’s scheduled departure.

    I think Joe is much more subtle at slicing and dicing; he’s not going to make a habit of being loud and in your face when quiet and deadly will do.

  46. The moment Biden finishes his oath with “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.””

    Imma gonn break out with these lyrics:

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And days of auld lang syne?
    For auld lang syne, my dear
    For auld lang syne
    We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
    For days of auld lang syne

    December 51 cant get here soon enough.

  47. I’m still convinced that Biden was the only Democrat who could win the Electoral College, so I’m happy he won. I don’t think he will get the climate legislation we need, but that is a Joe Manchin problem. Honestly, if Biden gets through a new voting rights act, $15 minimum wage, and green investment as part of a real infrastructure bill, that will be a huge win.

  48. I’m betting that there’s just gonna be two, maybe three major legislative accomplishments from Joe. The way Congress and the courts are wired, a president is lucky to push through anything these days.

    There’s going to be more progress in executive branch directives, where there’s fewer obstacles. They’ll spend time undoing the crap done by the asshole, but there’s possibility there….

  49. If “boring” means all us hypothetical raging liberals can take our eyes off the White House for 2 minutes (the spotted owl?!) to build a serious structure for the House and Senate, I am all here for it.

    @Lymis, I’ve got 90 postcards that didn’t go out this election, and you can bet your buttons I’m going to do more than pay attention to the mid-terms. If Biden is boring then there will be more focus on Congress, at least that’s my hope.

    I also hope that “competent/boring” is safe enough for everyone to get a metaphorical nap before the next big fight.

  50. I’d much rather have someone further left, but the main thing was getting Trump out of office this time. Biden’s policies will be meh. I’m not expecting him to move the needle on the bad things that happened under Obama, but he’ll stop most of what Trump did.

    So I’m less worried about policy than I am afraid that 4-8 years of centrism under Biden will get us the same thing 8 years of centrism got us under Obama: another fascist GOP administration. And this time they may be more competent than the Trump administration.

  51. I caucused for Klobuchar, but I think she would have lost. Biden may well have been the only one who could have beaten Trump.

    As for Joe Manchin, while he is not my favorite Senator, he is almost certainly the ONLY Democrat who could have won reelection in 2018. From time to time I say to one of my Progressive friends, “would you really rather a Republican in Joe Manchin’s seat? On Planet Reality, his State is not going to elect somebody like Warren or AOC.”

  52. Since Kamala Harris was my first choice all along, I’m pretty happy with this outcome. I usually agree with your wording on things but this time not so much. Boring? No, I would prefer stable. After all, having a President that can speak in complete sentences not go off on the Crazy Train and has a coherent plan for most things already put out there, is worth it it compared to utter chaos.

  53. I think he’ll be fine. We don’t need any more grand opera; quiet hard work to bring us back to functional and undo the damage is exactly what’s needed.

    But let us not be content to sit back and watch, and then bitch about it. Get off your arses, people, and go volunteer someplace. Attend City Council meetings. It’s way too easy to be in the audience while there’s a plague on (great excuse, huh?) but when we’re out and about again, get out there and be a credit to your neighborhood, city, state, country. That’s what will make the biggest difference.

  54. Today received the farewell email from the never confirmed and likely illegally “acting” head of the federal agency where I work. Likely he will return to his previous career which involved quite a bit of suing this same agency. Good riddance and bring on tomorrow’s main event – I certainly look forward to seeing Joe’s official portrait in the lobby whenever we return to work in the office.

  55. What’s been frustrating me about “the Discourse” right now is how Biden hasn’t even been on the job yet and people are already going on about how he’s a corporate sellout, or a squishy moderate, or whatever bothers them about Biden (but apparently not Bernie).

    I don’t understand how people can’t even take a single day and enjoy an actual victory without complaint.

    The only blessing through the last four years has been how divisive and incompetent the Trumpistas have been. It will take alot of time to fix this stuff, but at least it’s possible to do so, mainly because they were so bad at doing their jobs and so unwilling to get Congress to sign off on things in their first two years that they just rammed everything through with Executive Orders, which can be over turned just as quickly and then Congress can pass laws to keep people from doing this stuff again.

  56. If you want progressive policies nationally, you’re going to have to implement the hard way: state by state, convincing individuals to move leftward, step by step.

    You can’t expect to implement it from the top down, from national leaders (in fact, that’s antithetical to progressive philosophy). And there’s a good chance that it can be sold better by “centrist” politicians, as ideas whose time have finally come, rather than by self identified progressives.

  57. There’s never been a boring presidential administration in my lifetime — at least not for me. There’s always crises from Iran Hostage to Guns for Drugs to flood the black communities, to inflation, recession, wars, Katrina, impeachment for a blowjob, sheer cray-cray racial hatred out in the open that allowed for the election of one of the most evil, toxic, destructive, crule persons ever to live, etc. Never once has there been boring. I have no idea what it looks like. One doubts strongly as heck Biden’s will be no different. But at least for awhile again, there will be someone I feel is rather on our side for a change.

  58. I’ll just be happy with fewer WTF moments than the last administration provided. I admit that’s setting the bar low, but I’d like to have my expectations surpassed in a positive direction and I have very little confidence in any branch of the federal government.

  59. How dare you, sir — Senator Turtle does not “snigger!” Rumor has it that he has engaged a highly respected voice coach to enhance a full-blown evil supervillain guffaw.

    Besides, Senator Turtle is too slow-moving to shiv anyone, not even Grandpa Joe; he’ll just obstruct everything to death (which is far more effective anyway), even in the face of another crisis requiring decisive action. Or even this one as it continues, and you can take your pick from half a dozen or more current crises requiring decisive action for which one that is.

  60. In Ottawa, Canada, we’ve had a mayor for years who is described as the most boring mayor in Canada (especially for a gay man). I prefer a boring person who gets the job done to a charismatic con artist.

  61. Honestly, I’m hoping he sets fire to those drapes in the Oval Office. They are beyond fugly and I’ve spent the last 4 years looking at a shitbrindle orange turd sitting between two piss-yellow drapes. While Average Joe is busy building a cabinet of ALL kinds of people, I’m hoping he spares 5 minutes and hires some fabulously gay interior decorators to get rid of all the cheesy fake gold crap that the orange turd more or less puked all over the place. Restore some visual dignity to the White House while you’re restoring some actual dignity to the office. Please. My eyes are bleeding. And not just from those existential crisis-hemorrhagic red Christmas trees.

    I too cannot wait until the news is boring again. As opposed to the “heart event” WTF panic reaction I got every time I tuned into the 6pm news. Not even doomscrolling. Just regular broadcast news. Looking forward to a time when this kind of insanity–like the 1/6/21 insurrection/sedition riot–is a thing that happens in other countries.

    That said, I really hope Average Joe doesn’t just settle back in the chair for 4 or 8 years (thinking 4–the presidency really takes the mickey out of a person and Joe is 78 NOW. Honestly not sure he’d survive a second term, and honestly, maybe he won’t survive the first term. Actuarial tables are kinda against him.). The status quo may have worked for cis het white men middle class and up but it sure wasn’t working for anyone else. For that matter, it sure isn’t working for the working class, POC, women of ALL colors (yes, white women generally fare better than the other flavors but women as a whole have lost ground, particularly in the pandemic, but really starting in the Reagan years and it’s been a steady downhill march ever since.) “Return to normalcy” is certainly better than the outgoing dumpster fire but let’s not lose sight of the fact that “normal” was actually “pretty crappy” for lots of people. That said, getting back to “normal”–whatever that actually is–is a long steep climb up. We’ve already lost 400,000 people to the pandemic and I will honestly be surprised if we don’t reach 500,000 by the start of summer. Small businesses, the self-employed, any business whose customer was the middle class–they’re all on the edge of extinction. If you are 45 years old & have sunk the last 20+ years of your life into your own business or self-employment and your business tanks, what exactly are you going to do? Chances are that you’re not going to start over and ageism is a very real thing in the employment market. Even people employed by state or local municipalities are getting nervous, because revenue is down all over, which means that budgets are or will be pared to the bone, which means that at least some of those people are going to the unemployment office. All of these things were happening before, in a slowly-boiling-frog kind of way but the pandemic has really accelerated the steady downward march to double time. So as much as I’m looking forward to normal, I’m also kind of hoping that normal isn’t “going back to the way things were before” but a “new (better!) normal”. So yeah, a long steep climb up out of Hell and hoping Orpheus doesn’t look back at the past with nostalgia for “the way things were.”

    @Les M.
    Yes, Warren was my preferred candidate and while Joe wasn’t my dead last choice (that would be Oprah’s psychic friend), he was pretty close. And I did appreciate the Merrick Garland jab, probably a little too much. That said, Joe is actually friendly with pretty much most of the Congress (probably not the QAnon nut from the south or Hawley, but most), having worked there for so long and more importantly, most of Congress is friendly towards Joe. That’s really important in getting actual stuff done and it’s an advantage that Obama didn’t have and that Harris won’t have either in the awful event of Joe’s early demise in office.

    @Paul
    Yes, that is a factor that all voters who aren’t white, het, cis and male have to make EVERY election. Let’s just stop a moment to let the awfulness of that choice sink in. I’m sure that lots of black people would have preferred Harris or any number of other candidates but they are also in the unpleasant position of having to weigh their choices more than most–“do we want to throw our weight behind a less desirable candidate that has a better chance of winning or behind the person we’d actually want to vote FOR?” And the black voters in SC put Biden clearly over the top. Here’s hoping he doesn’t forget that by 8am on 1/21/2020. Obama rather blatantly forgot to include the people who put him in the White House. Yes, he had a tougher time than most being the first black President but he could have done more for the ones who brought him to the dance, especially in the second term.

    @Lymis
    Agree with you 100% but the times they are a’changin’. I am heartened by McConnell’s admittedly weak tea speech today in which Yertle the Turtle states uncategorically that Trump incited the riot. Not because he had a come-to-Jesus moment but because he is now looking down the undeniable fact that he will no longer be Senate leader, at best he will be a minority leader and maybe not that either if the Republicans decide new leadership is in order and also because he, along with the other presidential poodle Pence were clearly on the “to-do” list of the seditionist mob. He’s going to have a lot less pull going forward. People won’t have to take his opinions/wishes as much as they used to (if nothing else, this means that the detestable Elaine Chao won’t be a crappy Cabinet Secretary of Something Else She Will Fuck Up Big Time. There, I knew I’d find a silver lining somewhere.) And he did spend some time sheltering in place in the Capitol while the seditionist mob screamed for his head, which seems to have had a salutary effect on him.

    @notyourdaddysnation
    So far, Joe doesn’t look to be giving anyone a pass. Perhaps he has learned something about winking and nodding at decidedly shitty behavior from his debacle as the head of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearing. His Cabinet picks certainly seem to indicate it.

  62. Before the populist era started, business writer Peter Drucker disagreed with those who still wanted charismatic. He thought the world was going through a time of wanting quiet capable leaders. Such as the leaders around at the time.

    He also said that “salvation by society” (such as communism) was not working and so many people in the world, even in the affluent USA, were going in for “salvation by religion” hence the rise of fundamentalism.

    As for president Biden, who can afford press releases, I can smile to imagine his fellow democrats pleading with him: “Please, please-please, don’t tweet!

  63. I’m not just a boring old white straight Boomer, I grew up in Delaware and high school friends of mine helped get Biden elected the first time. I was raised Republican, but that was when our Republicans were moderate-to-liberal and supported environmentalism because it was conservation (my mom is still a Republican, and voted against both Bushes and Trump, and I forget which of Biden’s kids lived two houses away from her, probably Hunter.) Biden’s way down my list of Democrats, in spite of being a nice guy, and I’ve lived in California long enough to have watched Kamala Harris move up the ladder very rapidly, and don’t like her (sorry, but she supported too many bad prosecutors as CA AG and didn’t enforce enough other civil liberties positions.)

    But as with 90% of the Democratic primary candidates, both of them count as Any Competent Adult, which puts them ahead of Giant Meteor, and therefore way way ahead of Trump. (I lived in New Jersey during the 80s, when Trump was scamming Atlantic City into supporting his effort to build and bankrupt casinos, which is like losing money running a liquor store in a college town, as well as being a classic corrupt NYC real estate developer whose dad was so notoriously bad that Woody Guthrie wrote two songs about him.)

    I can deal with boring. Boring is much better than four years of wondering what hateful appalling thing the Dynamite-Monkey President is going to do to us today. Most of my objections to Obama were that he kept compromising with the Republicans on things he should have fixed, like Gitmo. I remember back in the 80s, Biden lost his chance in the primary when he got caught plagiarizing a speech; yeah, it was a whiny speech by a whiny UK Labour politician, but c’mon, most politicians usually copy most of their speech material from other politicians, or from things they’ve said before, just like most Protestant preachers have a few books of sermons from the great preachers of the past that they can drag out when they’re out of ideas for this week’s sermon.

  64. @gwangung
    Joe Biden could have scheduled a “rake cow manure off of the back 40” session for the same time slot and people would have skipped the Trump farewell. Given that the blinding incompetence of the various short-lived Cabinet picks was on full display, they are not anxious to be caught in images that will live forever on the internet and big media (small media too, for that matter) now that their government job is gone and the companies that would normally hire outgoing Cabinet members want nothing to do with these asshats. They’re going to have enough trouble finding gainful employment as it is without the bog-standard HR internet sweep turning up photos of these clowns waving goodbye to their dumpster fire employer.

    Yeah, I smirked at the timing and the invite list too.

  65. The last two Republicans who didn’t fuck things up for Democrats to fix were Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt.

    That right there is why I will never vote for a Republican.

  66. Someone elsewhere online pointed out Biden didn’t nominate Garland as AG until after the Georgia elections, which make it possible for him to get a new judge past the Senate. That indicates he’s aware what he’s in for.
    Back in my former home, the Florida Panhandle, the Bay County Republican Party has officially announced it considers Biden “the President Imposed” and nothing more. While I don’t doubt that’s a common sentiment in that oh-so-red part of Florida, I am surprised they made it official.
    Regarding boring, Politico just had an article whining about that: come on everyone, admit you miss Trump’s wonderfully entertaining Twitter bullshit! Losing that is just a foretaste of four years of political ennui! The concept politicians should be entertaining for journalists (I’ve seen a couple of columns over the years grumbling they’re stuck covering policy instead of a sex scandal).

  67. What guangung said (all three of them). I’ve read that Biden is already planning for the ‘22 midterms. Good – so should we all. There are criminals to punish and state and local governments to flip in order to end gerrymandering and voter suppression, essential for making bigger changes.

  68. After Trump was impeached the second time, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) decried, “If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a group of partisans, this Capitol would be empty.” And suddenly I knew what I really want.

    That. I want that.

    Recall every single politician that ever made a fiery speech to a group of partisans, empty the Capitol building of them, and elect a ton of boring ass people who probably aren’t even good at speeches.

    Accountants and actuaries. Nurses and paralegals. Hire HR managers and land surveyors.* Elect those people. And every single time some old white dude starts yelling til they’re red in the face, shrug and say, “Yer not cut out for government work.”

    Thanks for the idea, McClintock. May your tenure be shortened by a recall election.

    (* Full disclosure: I am aware that people in those professions are not really boring and that those professions are not really boring. But you get The Joke.)

  69. Thank god, I can let out a long held breath and sigh of relief. I just want America to have a boring president who will look to American issues, and not screw up the rest of the world trying to gain headlines or approval of tyrants. I hope he has a quiet presidency too.

  70. @Ellid:

    I can’t agree with one of those two. Eisenhower left a lot of crap behind, ranging from his personal animosity to civil rights that he knew he couldn’t make public (which is why the Voting Rights Act didn’t even get out of committee, in a nascent form, until after he left office — everyone knew there was no White House support, and there were behind-the-scenes veto threats to contend with, too) to his unfortunate, unlawful, malign influence on military promotions to the grade of colonel and above (he ignored the Navy whenever he could, which seemingly was most of the time, and didn’t that pay off in the 1980s). Plus… Nixon as Vice President. That seems plenty of crap to clean up by itself.

    Eisenhower’s main “accomplishments” were getting out of Korea and jump-starting the space program… in a kneejerk reaction to failures of his own administration’s planning and intelligence efforts from 1953 through 1956. OK, I’ll grant — somewhat — mitigation of big-city-boss machine politics at the national level, but he took (and was interested in) exactly no steps to reform structures or ensure competent replacements were available, let alone in place or prominently waiting in the wings. Evan that is more than counterbalanced by the permanent damage he and his ideologues did to South and Southwest Asia, and to southern Europe, epitomized by the 1953 coup in Iran (which was never more than a pipe dream until Eisenhower took office, and then cascaded so fast that the field folk were literally falling over themselves… and, interestingly, involved a nephew of TR as a major player).

    Almost everything worthwhile in the US government that came out of the 1950s began in the Senate, not the White House (or the House, which was still struggling with HUAC and the blowback). And some of Eisenhower’s less-visible minions were some of the biggest impediments. That Kennedy had to rely upon Johnson to get anything done is another story for another time.

    So any respect I have for Republicans in the White House not leaving a dungheap behind ends over a century ago.

  71. “…a buffoonish sociopath with rage issues and a chorus of inadequacies screaming in and out of his skull all hours of the day and night.”

    If this isn’t a description emblematic of most of the republicans warming seats in the house and senate, I don’t know what is.

    And yes, “White people in their obliviousness almost “both sided” our country into authoritarianism and, yes, fascism.”

    Many of these folks have and continue to try to gaslight and shake their heads moralistically at others (mostly people of color, you understand) who refused to “reeducate” or “reintegrate” Trumpists into society.

    They know who they are.

    Grade A whataboutism and false equivalence issued forth from white democrats who, safe in their whiteness, were either unwilling or unable to understand why people weren’t keen on holding out their hands to Trumpists and trusting that they wouldn’t be hacked off at the joints.

    They handwaved four and a half years of major and minor hate crimes and pointed to Obama’s atrocities as if they could exculpate Trump and his supporters from theirs.

    The same teachers, fire fighters, cops and other “heroes” they defended attempted to overthrow the US government at the behest of a wannabe dictator.

    It was so much “I know these people. You don’t!” until those same folks decided to “take back the country” by force,shocking and horrifying the folks who knew Trumpists so much better than their victims.

    It’s that same “but they’re of our tribe” mentality that had security forces dropping their guard on insurrection day when social justice day was torn apart by rubber bullets and tear gas.

    My sister (this was the one who was attacked by racist Trumpists on election day) no longer trusts white people, and I’m running out of reasons to explain why she should.

    Any suggestions?

  72. @Sarah Marie – If Trumpists would like to reintegrate into civilized society, we’ll be happy to welcome them back to encountering reality and not basing their policies on hate, or at least not expecting other people to join them in it. I think we’re more likely to see some Republicans rejoining civilized society, now that they’re not under the constant threat of being ostracized from the party that hires them.

    @Jaws – For all the damage Ike caused to Southwest Asia, we shouldn’t forget the damage he let the Dulles Bros start in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Interesting to read he was against the Civil Rights Act, though; he’d done ok with Brown v. Board integration so I wouldn’t have expected that.

  73. You might be right about the ones in congress, the senate in particular.

    So far, Hawley, Cruz, Lee and Paul are the only ones among senate republicans still willing to let their Trump flags fly; see the confirmation hearings.

    The ones who worry me are the QAnon supporters (especially those who, quite literally, were calling from inside the house) , the gun nut militia groups and the white supremacist domestic terrorists who are currently in the process of scooping up disgruntled QAnon supporters who feel betrayed and abandoned by Trump.

    I doubt very seriously that folks like the ones who stormed the capital are going to be interested in anything a black woman has to say about integration or society.

    There’s enough support for the insurrection among rank and file (rank and file specifically meaning averageJohns and Janes in the community) republicans thatI’m alright with delegating the reintegration process to someone else.

    I’m not ready to trust or forgive these people, and I don’t know when or if I ever will be.

    It was bad enough just tolerating the jingoistic, religiously intolerant, warmongering, pro-torture, anti-choice finger-shakers and social darwinists who believed taxation was theft and poverty was bootstrapping deferred.

    I could even tolerate, evon if only just barely, the professional quality strawmen being churned out by the anti-PC, anti-woke crowd who thought antiracism and feminism were obsolete because Title Nine became a thing and because Jim Crow laws and the Rule of Thumb were off the books.

    These new-fangled republicans, with their lizard people conspiracy theories, lynching’s, concentration camps, eugenics, covid spreading, armed insurrections and civil war plans are way above my pay grade.

  74. Biden won’t be a dumpster on fire. That’s not the same as being boring; IMHO the concept of “boring” was yanked askew during the past 4 years. ;-)

    But I will be happy to slowly let go of my need to do “homework” (read: check what the latest trash fire is) before calling my mid-80s mother every day, to make sure I was ready when she asked if I knew about insert-fresh-horror-here. Less homework, yay! It’s the little things. Like knowing adults are back in charge.

  75. @BillStewart:

    Subtle distinction (although ironically passed within a year of each other): Eisenhower was against the Voting Rights Act (eventually 1963), not the Civil Rights Act (eventually 1964). His issue was with suitability for leadership, and even a voice in leadership. For example, in 1947 he had no problem with Truman integrating the military by executive order… but he was quietly against equal footing for non-Caucasian non-Christians at West Point. He was particularly skeptical about general integration of the pilot cohort of the Army Air Corps; he didn’t think any but the most exceptional “Negroes” (he at least didn’t sink to using the other word beginning with that letter) were prepared for both the technical skill and leadership role. (I’d sarcastically say the same about Caucasian Christians, even today…)

    So for his time, I suppose you’d say Eisenhower was “advanced”: They can have all the rights they want, just as long as they don’t try to take over the place unless really exceptional. I find that painful.

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