While many of us on the right have described Biden’s presidency as “Obama’s third term” in a pejorative sense, Barack Obama apparently agrees with us, telling the New York Times last week that Joe Biden is “finishing the job” he started.
“I think that what we’re seeing now is Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job,” Obama said. “And I think it’ll be an interesting test. Ninety percent of the folks who were there in my administration, they are continuing and building on the policies we talked about, whether it’s the Affordable Care Act or our climate change agenda and the Paris [climate deal], and figuring out how do we improve the ladders to mobility through things like community colleges.”
Obama is correct. Much of Biden’s most consequential acts have been the reversal of Trump-era policies that had reversed Obama-era policies.
But the key difference, of course, is that Obama recalls his administration’s policies as good things. Never mind the fact that Obamacare failed to make health care more affordable (in fact, the first time my health insurance rates actually went down was after Trump had axed the individual mandate and made other reforms) or that America did more to curb carbon emissions than the signatories of the Paris climate agreement did.
And don’t get me started on Iran or girls’ sports.
But I digress. While Obama clearly considers the Biden presidency his “third term” this is a perception the Biden team isn’t exactly thrilled with.
Back in May, Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “Given the number of former Obama administration officials that are now in the Biden administration and the president’s relatively light schedule, there’s a growing perception that this is really just the third term of President Obama, what do you say to people who say that?”
Psaki was not amused. “Who were saying that? Who’s saying that?” she asked.
“You’ve heard that a lot in the media,” Robinson replied, but Psaki continued to push back, effectively avoiding the question. It’s no doubt that the Biden team can’t be happy about Obama’s characterization of the Biden administration.
But Biden’s policies aren’t the only callbacks to the Obama era. Biden’s unilateral approach to “governing” is right out of the Obama playbook. Obama infamously declared that he “has a pen and a phone” and wouldn’t hesitate to use them if Congress “failed to act.” With no pushback by Democrats in Congress for subverting their constitutionally mandated role of passing legislation, Obama went on an unconstitutional rampage, effectively legislating via executive fiat. Joe Biden, who campaigned as a uniter who would work with Republicans, has made Obama’s executive power grabs seem tame by comparison, issuing more executive orders in his infant presidency than his predecessors—by a long shot. Much of which, as I previously pointed out, reset Obama-era policies that were similarly implemented via unconstitutional executive action.
Still, given the disaster that Biden has created, it’s hard to understand why Barack Obama would want to take any sort of ownership of that—even if in name only. Perhaps the most telling part of Obama’s statement was how he referred to the Biden administration as “finishing the job.”
When Obama first ran for president, he spoke of wanting to fundamentally transform America. I have no doubt that’s the “job” Obama was referring to, and that he thinks Biden is finishing what he started is a scary prospect.