Column: A year to forget

Politics of White House and President of USA United states concept.  Podium speaker tribune with USA flags and sign of White House
Photo Getty

This past year was fraught with disappointment. There was, prior to its commencement, a reasonable expectation of optimistic outcomes for 2021.

The Trump administration had, in record time, produced a vaccine that attacked COVID. It had achieved, for the first time in decades, American energy independence. The economy was, before the pandemic hit, booming, and the path to returning to unparalleled prosperity afterwards was evident. The labor force participation rate had reached levels not seen in more than half a century. For Black and Latino workers, unemployment was at record lows. Peace in the Middle East was blossoming. North Korea, which prior to 2017, had been at the brink of war, had calmed down.

There were challenges, of course. Progressive-inspired riots by BLM and Antifa plagued the nation. Iran continued with its nuclear program. Leftist district attorneys, supported by blue-state legislation such as bail reform and underfunded police departments, allowed crime to flourish within their jurisdictions.

The national descent that occurred following the Biden inauguration was, in its breadth and depth, devastating and indeed unnecessary.

The shutdown of the Keystone XL pipeline, and other assaults on energy production was irrational, particularly since all it did was increase reliance to nations that were in some cases either not friendly or downright hostile to the West.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Progressives produced innuendos that the COVID vaccine was somehow unsafe, particularly for minority voters. That left many to refuse to take the preventative shot, a problem still prevalent in poor communities.

The threat of increased regulation, higher taxes, and a White House hostile to free enterprise worked as a heavy weight on an economy that should have snapped back following the conclusion of the worst of the pandemic.

The new president’s apparent weakness has led to Russian, Chinese and terrorist adventurism, much as it had during the Obama-Biden era.

On the Southern border, the White House’s words and deeds encouraged massive illegal immigration, including individuals connected to criminal drug and human trafficking cartels, as well as people infected with COVID. The dilemma was compounded by unannounced, nighttime flights spreading these folks across the nation.

The utterly botched withdrawal from Afghanistan served as an example of the Biden administration’s penchant for unnecessary tragedy. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the concept of ending America’s participation in the conflict, but envisioned both an orderly retreat as well as the strategically vital necessity of leaving a small residual force, presumably at the Bagram Air Force Base — a particularly strong base.

Biden repeated the identical mistake he made as vice president, when, as the Obama administration’s point man on the Middle East, he hastily and totally withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq without a residual force. This disastrous error directly led to the establishment of the ISIS caliphate, which the subsequent Trump administration had to deal with, fortunately, with great success. In an inexplicable act of immorality, Biden failed to evacuate many Americans and American supporters before his unseemly exit. Adding to the tragedy was the absurd failure to withdraw a fortune in military equipment, providing a windfall of arms to the very organization that were responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

There is a central theme to these domestic, economic and foreign policy missteps. All administrations make errors of judgment and strategy when under pressure. But the Biden White House was under no such compulsion. It enjoyed an exceptionally friendly media, and its party controlled both houses of Congress. America’s robust energy production was an exceptional asset. Other than the ravages of COVID, the economy was fundamentally strong. Illegal immigration had been sharply reduced through successful policies. The military had been revitalized.

These benefits were rapidly dismantled by ineptness, stubbornness and an excess of partisanship.

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