DRISCOLL: America needs Joe Biden

After four years of incompetent leadership, divisive rhetoric and a growing partisan divide, it’s time for our country to finally turn the page

op-driscoll
Of the five leading candidates still in the race, only Biden has experience on the international stage. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Throughout the course of our nation’s history, we have been blessed with the great fortune of having the right leader at the right time — Lincoln during the Civil War, Roosevelt at the height of the Great Depression and Ford in the aftermath of Watergate. Today, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads where bold, decisive leadership is expected and American resolve and active participation on the world stage is required. The recent escalation in tensions with Iran — a crisis which nearly culminated in a direct military conflict earlier this month — has demonstrated the perils of incompetent leadership. With the stakes now higher than ever and inaction being an untenable course, this is a moment that will require strong, steady and stable leadership. This is a moment for Joe Biden. 

Now, before I am bombarded with what will almost certainly be a barrage of angry emails and Facebook comments from every “Bernie Bro” and Trump supporter that has walked the face of the earth, I ask that you at least please consider what it is that I have to say. In this article I will not seek to argue that Biden is the most electable candidate — I have already made this case before and it has been consistently reaffirmed by nearly every poll in the year since then. Similarly, as I have already addressed the merits of Trump’s accusation that Biden engaged in wrongdoing while serving as vice president, I will not further entertain this well-discredited conspiracy theory. Instead, I will seek to argue what is perhaps the one question that is most often overlooked in a presidential campaign — who will govern most effectively?

As the recent escalation in tensions with Iran have perfectly illustrated, the potential for the United States to be dragged into military conflict is the greatest that it has been in almost a generation. While it can be universally agreed upon that General Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist with American and civilian blood on his hands, the fact that he was a state official remains unchanged. Because of this, in choosing to kill a man whose influence in Tehran was second only to that of the Ayatollah himself, President Trump effectively declared war against Iran — an impulsive action which not only reflects the current administration’s reckless disregard for American lives and interests but will also serve to further destabilize an already volatile region.

The past three years have been a lesson on the consequences of placing leadership, particularly as it relates to foreign affairs, in the hands of an amateur. Of the five leading candidates still in the race, only Biden has experience on the international stage. Not only did he serve as the point-man within the Obama administration on key matters of foreign policy — including the American troop withdrawal from Iraq and the response to the 2014 Ukranian Revolution — but prior to this he was also the longtime chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When considering all of the missteps that have been taken by the current administration in just this realm alone — such as the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Iran Nuclear Deal — we will need a president capable of renewing diplomacy and projecting American strength on day one.

In addition to foreign policy, the next president of the United States will also need to be able to effectively address a host of domestic concerns. Since taking office, President Trump and his allies have repeatedly sought to dismantle the historic progress achieved under the Obama administration. Instead of starting from scratch and pretending as though the other party doesn’t exist — newsflash, it does — we should look to the achievements of the Obama administration, such as the Affordable Care Act, as a foundation from which to build programs and policies that work for everyone. 

Similarly, while many progressives would like to believe that the rest of the country is just as “woke” as they are, they fail to acknowledge the current political climate not only within the Democratic Party itself but also the nation as a whole. This fallacy was perfectly illustrated during the 2018 midterm cycle, as the seats that flipped from red to blue were won almost exclusively by those who ran on traditional Democratic values and a willingness to engage in bipartisan dialogue. While it would be naive to suggest that a Biden presidency will bring Republicans and Democrats together in kumbaya, at the very least, having the former vice president at the helm will ensure an end to the perpetual antagonism and divisive rhetoric that has flowed from the Oval Office. Given that Biden not only has the most experience out of anyone in the race but also what oftentimes appears to be the only sufficient understanding of how basic governance works, it is clear that he is the most well-suited to address our current political challenges.

Finally, if nothing else, Biden’s candidacy promises a sense of hope and decency in an era when it is sorely needed. The past four years have seen political discourse become consumed by overt partisanship, fake news and divisive rhetoric, rekindling the wounds of many of this nation’s most painful chapters. One does not need to look further than our own community to see what the consequences of the Trump presidency have been. With the future of American democracy riding on our decision, this election will ultimately be about more than just red states and blue states. It will be a battle for the soul of the nation and one that only Joe Biden can lead us through.

Thomas Driscoll is the Senior Associate Opinion Editor for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at t.driscoll@cavalierdaily.com

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