Biden inaugurated his presidency with a bang, or more aptly, a torrent of executive orders, and in doing so, established a particular tone of governance.

Sad to say, it’s not what I had hoped, although I can’t even remotely say I’m surprised.

First off, he set about reversing a slew of his predecessor’s, in some cases appearing to do so solely because the now-former President wrote them. While I favor some of these reversals (especially on immigration), a motive born of simple gainsaying isn’t a signal of thoughtfulness or of rational policy analysis.

Next, the killing of the Keystone XL pipeline is nothing more than a petulant virtue signal to the Greens, to whom he’s promised the moon. It makes no sense from an environmental angle (the pipeline is safer and cleaner than rail transport, and the oil is going to get pumped and sold anyway), nor does it tally from a diplomatic angle. He’s also taken the next step in a promised war on oil and gas: he suspended new oil and gas drilling permits on federal lands. In the midst of the pandemic. Priorities, declared.

His undoing of the “revoke two rules for every new rule” requirement for federal bureaucracies is another mis-step. We are massively over-regulated, and it’s near-certain that many junk regulations can be culled from every government agency without even the slightest adverse impact to the public or the nation. This is one of those that appears to be “he did it, so I’m undoing it” motivated. Either that or it’s a signal to the bureaucrats that they’re to re-throttle the economy with red tape.

We have a mask mandate on federal property and on public transportation, which seems superfluous to some degree, but does represent another “we are doing something!” bit of preening. There are some other COVID-related EOs therein, but they’re a bit more esoteric, and I haven’t dug into them enough to warrant an opinion.

Finally, there’s the biggest signal of all: The executive orders and other language that make it clear that identity politics are going to be front-and-center in this administration. First, there’s the removal of the ban on some diversity training programs on the government side of things, then there some new mandates for “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” that reek of the sort of social justice pap that does no one any good. As the cherry on the cake, we now have an EO that allows trans persons to compete in women’s sports, as well as denying private spaces to biological women. Biden has chosen his side of the TERF war, among other things.

It all feels pretty progressive to me, especially from someone who was supposedly the “moderate” amongst the pack of leftists. Again, little surprise. Biden was pulled leftward by the SJ crowd and the Justice Democrats, Harris’s record is among the most leftward in all of Congress, the left flank of the Overton Window has been shifted by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, among others, and there’s the opportunity (aka the giant gift) offered to the Democrats by the Capitol riot, that enables them to chase a leftist agenda despite an electorate that made it pretty clear it wants centrism and moderation.

This was one of my big fears going into this election: that the Democrats would foist a progressive platform upon us, no matter what the populace actually wants or asks for. Biden opened his Presidency with promises of unity, but he appears to have taken a lesson from his former boss. “Unity” may prove yet again to be code for “agree with everything I do and I’ll let you sit in the back of my bus.”

Of course, it’s only been two days, and many of these were telegraphed well before the election, which makes them “promises kept” rather than “I’m springing leftism on y’all.” However, it’s all the data we have at this point, and the conclusion that this data offers isn’t a pretty one. Biden and the Dems might very well end up going moderate as time goes on. But, they say you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and Joe’s old enough to know so.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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