News & Politics
Premium

Don't Be Fooled: Biden's Vaccine Mandate Is Just a Distraction

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Freedom-loving Americans were horrified by Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, which he announced on Thursday. As anyone could have predicted, his announcement was met with swift criticism and pushback. I was outraged, too—and I’m vaccinated. This mandate has no impact on me, but if it is allowed to stand, such a mandate has terrible implications for the country and what authority the government potentially has over us.

But there’s reason to believe that Biden’s mandate is a red herring that will inevitably fail to pass constitutional muster in the courts.

For starters, the Biden administration must know that a vaccine mandate is illegal. Just eight months ago, Biden dismissed the idea that he would ever impose a vaccine mandate. “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory,” he said. “I wouldn’t demand it be mandatory. But I would do everything in my power — just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide — I will do everything in my power as president of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing. And when they do it, demonstrate that it matters.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said earlier this summer that vaccine mandates are “not the role” of the federal government.

“Well, I think the question here — one, that’s not the role of the federal government,” she said on July 23, offering no exception to this assessment. “That is the role that institutions, private-sector entities, and others may take. That certainly is appropriate.”

Psaki also conceded that the federal government’s only role here was to make the vaccine available. “What our role is and what we are going to continue to do is make the vaccine available,” she said.

In other words, Psaki acknowledged the basic fact that the federal government has no authority to mandate vaccination. Any attempt to do so would be unconstitutional. Certainly, Biden had some advisors who warned him about this.

Then there’s the infamous retweet by Ron Klain—Joe Biden’s chief of staff, whom my PJMedia colleague Bryan Preston has dubbed “the actual president.” Klain retweeted a tweet that effectively endorsed using an OSHA rule as a workaround for enacting an unconstitutional federal mandate. As with the eviction moratorium before it, the Biden administration knows a federal vaccine mandate is illegal but doesn’t care.

“The retweet was breathtakingly daft on the eve of litigation over the order. It is reminiscent of President Biden admitting that his own White House counsel and their preferred legal experts all said that the eviction moratorium extension was likely unconstitutional,” constitutional expert Jonathan Turley said on Fox News on Friday. “Courts will now be asked to ignore the admission and uphold a self-admitted evasion of constitutional limits.”

Related: Biden’s Authoritarian COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Meets Immediate and Fierce Resistance

“Klain effectively became a witness for the challengers in labeling the order an evasion or subterfuge designed for the courts. Klain leaves the courts in the unenviable position of ratifying an order that the Administration admits is a mere work around to evade constitutional limits. It is akin to claiming self-defense in an assault case while saying that it was the best way to shoot the guy,” Turley added.

So why would Joe Biden go ahead with something he knows will fail in the courts? Republican governors are already working on legal challenges to the mandate, and surely several private companies are as well. Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire is also “staffing up” to fight Biden’s “tyrannical and authoritarian order.” So a fight is coming–make no mistake about that. And it seems very likely that Biden will lose this battle, but he doesn’t care. He wants the fight anyway.

So why set up the fight in the first place? The answer’s obvious, isn’t it?

Joe Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal sent his approval ratings down the toilet. His polling averages are underwater at both RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight. His allies in the liberal media criticized him for his incompetence and attempt to pin the blame on everyone but himself. Then a terror attack claimed the lives of thirteen U.S. service members. Then after a couple of symbolic airstrikes, Biden packed up and left an unknown number of American citizens behind—laying the foundation for a massive hostage crisis. The situation in Afghanistan is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better, and Biden needed something to shift our focus away from the ongoing quagmire he created there. What better way to accomplish that than to start a fight over a vaccine mandate? Biden knew his actions would start an aggressive fight over states’ rights. “If these governors won’t help beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he said—whatever that’s supposed to mean. Bottom line: Biden wants this fight. The longer, the better. The dirtier, the better. Anything is better than having us talking about how he lost Afghanistan. Biden hopes that even in defeat in the courts, he’ll emerge victorious. He hopes that throughout the whole process Afghanistan will become old news, along with his bad approval ratings.