There is a substantial group of irredentists who claim that President Biden’s call to unify the country rings hollow. Most of them are simply disappointed that his policies differ from his predecessor.
While carpers and croakers cannot always find something to complain about, there are at least five (maybe six) things that this Administration can do that even Trumpistas should heartily endorse, thus allowing the President to take the verbal cudgels out of their hands. He is already well on his way down many of these paths.
First, the President should announce that Antifa does not get a pass—that violence from the left deserves a firm response from law enforcement (not the Army, thankfully). Statements from Press Secretary Jen Psaki are no substitute for a direct, forceful statement by the President, along the lines of his recent announcement that Putin does not get a pass for its misconduct. And it wouldn’t hurt for President Biden to call the mayors of affected cities (Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, to name a few) to offer (publicly) federal assistance to quell rioting and violence, perhaps to shame them into enforcement of their laws and ordinances.
Second, President Biden should continue to call out Putin’s Russia for its hostile actions, whether minor pinpricks such as buzzing United States ships, or major violations such as offering bounties on American military personnel, or disreputable disruptions and hacks of U.S. official and commercial interests. There is a laundry list of Putin’s villainy, not the least of which is the attempted murder of Alexei Navalny, and the Kafkaesque imprisonment of that man for failing to report back to Russia while he was in a coma being treated for Russia’s poisoning. The President should be able to distinguish between Putin and the Russian people in his words and deeds.
Third, President Biden should reiterate that China is an intellectual property thief and a repressive, inhuman regime. China’s treatment of ethnic minorities, particularly the Uighurs, amounts to cultural genocide, and should be publicly condemned. From the top. Over and over again. And each time Chinese-backed hackers are identified, the Justice Department should seek their extradition, and consider bringing the issue before international tribunals. There’s nothing wrong with telling the truth.
Fourth, while President Biden and then-Secretary of State John Kerry were all-in on the original Iran deal (now called the JPCOA), times have changed. This Administration has so far refused to buckle and let Iran off the hook for sponsoring terrorism and probable violations with respect to the enrichment of uranium. It should stick to its position.
Fifth, President Biden should continue the Trump policy of making overtures to other Arab states to further isolate the Iranians and the radical Palestinian murderers. For too long other Arab states have been hostage to Palestinian blackmail. At some point the Palestinian people must break free of their terrorist influencers and recognize Israel’s right to exist within secure borders. When that happens, and hopefully in our lifetimes, peace will break out.
The five initiatives above should be no-brainers, even for Trump diehards. But finally, and this would be Item No. 6, President Biden can be a law and order guy by enforcing immigration laws and expanding legal immigration. Not by child separation, but by funding the Border Patrol, funding additional equipment for surveillance at the border (rather than an ineffective, expensive, and environmentally destructive “wall”), funding the hiring of screeners to weed out terrorists, funding expanded immigration courts, and hiring more immigration judges. Ultimately, instead of the hypocrisy employed by the Trump Administration, we will have the tools to adjudicate whether people who want to become Americans have demonstrated the qualities we look for – essentially, decent people without felonies on their record. Rational Republicans decry people violating the law and jumping to the front. Well, the “law,” or what passed for law under the Trump Administration, was an ass. We need more immigrants, not fewer. The vast majority are sincere refugees and would be entitled to asylum in a rational world. The Trump Administration essentially made them “criminals” by refusing to honor the laws. By the way, these oft-cited “caravans” consist of relatively few people numerically (particularly when compared to 330 million Americans) and the people in them are willing to walk hundreds or even thousands of miles to come to the U.S. for better lives. That takes a great deal of moxie. Why should we exclude them? They may not become hedge fund founders, but they are not freeloaders. They are generally younger than the U.S population, they work, and they will pay taxes—more than they do now, once they are allowed out of the shadows. Look at Israel, which really is a “nation of immigrants.” And a very successful one. Immigrants are in many ways better citizens than those of us who had the good fortune to be born here. A comprehensive immigration bill is the only way. This is a “first 100 days” issue. We need to do it. Now. And if it is coupled with the law and order provisions, it might pass. It will make for a younger, better, stronger America.