The Biden administration can be subjected to two empirical tests by any observer: first whether there will there be a new outbreak of war in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) owing to the repudiation of the Abraham Accords and second, will it endorse restrictions on the exercise of the First and Second Amendments?
We can leave aside for a moment the question of whether these possible developments are justified or beneficial. All that need concern the analyst for the moment is whether they can be detected. They most probably can because their signal characteristics are strong enough to burn through any spin.
If one or more of these blips show up on screen its principal value will be to condition our further expectations. Even those on opposite sides of the justification divide will probably agree on where these blips head next, given that they appear.
For some it will be the confirmation of their worst fears; to others it will be the fulfillment of their most cherished hopes. But to most of the public they will come as a surprise. Campaign promises mean almost nothing. Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks illustrates how what people expect to find inside a political box is rarely what they get:
So, @JoeBiden bombs Syria and kills the minimum wage hike, confirming every fear progressives had. Soon they'll renege on getting $2000 checks to everyone in the middle class by limiting who gets it (to appease their donors). The establishment is back! And it absolutely sucks.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) February 26, 2021
Is this a harbinger of future Biden administration events? An anomaly? Who knows? The public stares at the still quiet scope waiting for the main action to develop full of suspicion but with nary a solid return. The tragedy of modern political media coverage is that it is so full of disinformation that there’s almost no actual content. Many of us who read thousands of expensive articles each day are little wiser for our efforts.
Mark Thiessen of the Washington Post writer’s group was flabbergasted at Donald Trump’s attempt to carry out his campaign promises, to actually do what he said. In an article ironically titled “Trump could be the most honest president in modern history,” Thiessen wrote:
Donald Trump may be remembered as the most honest president in modern American history. Don’t get me wrong, Trump lies all the time. He said that he “enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history” (actually they are the eighth-largest) and that “our economy is the strongest it’s ever been in the history of our country” (which may one day be true, but not yet). In part, it’s a New York thing — everything is the biggest and the best.
But when it comes to the real barometer of presidential truthfulness — keeping his promises — Trump is a paragon of honesty. For better or worse, since taking office, Trump has done exactly what he promised he would do.
Trump kept his promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something his three immediate predecessors also promised yet failed to do. He promised to “crush and destroy ISIS,” and two years later he is on the verge of eliminating Islamic State’s physical caliphate. He promised to impose a travel ban on countries that he saw as posing a terrorist threat, and after several false starts the final version of his ban was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Trump pledged to nominate Supreme Court justices “in the mold of Justice (Antonin) Scalia,” and now Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh sit on the high court. Trump also pledged to fill the federal appellate courts with young, conservative judges, and so far the Senate has confirmed 29 — more than any recent president at this point in his administration.
He surprised the pundits by pulling the ultimate switcheroo and turned the electronic countermeasures off. Nobody bothered to track him in assuming it was a false return. Now that the political norms have returned to the old standard everyone is back to saying nothing.
So what’s Joe gonna do, who can say? But the Biden administration can be subjected to two empirical tests by any observer: first whether there will there be a new outbreak of war in MENA owing to the repudiation of the Abraham Accords and second, will it endorse restrictions on the exercise of the First and Second Amendments …
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Follow Richard Fernandez at Wretchard.com