The independence to be boring

“boring in the best possible way”

joebidenThere are lots of important, vital things that this country still needs to address. Climate change, failing infrastructure, social justice, economic inequity, increasing violence – the list is too long to note here.

Yet I’ve been feeling independence from a certain level of stress much of this year, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. That is until I saw this in the Boston Globe.

Joe Biden stays out of our face. Isn’t it great? For the first time in decades, America has a president who avoids the limelight.

“Five months into his presidency, it is clear that Biden… isn’t gripped by a desperate craving to be seen and heard and talked about. After four years of a president whose narcissism was bottomless and exhausting, and, before him, eight years of a president who also didn’t suffer from any lack of vanity, Biden’s willingness to stay largely behind the scenes is not just refreshing, but downright admirable.”

I would be exhausted by the daily barrage of tweets and off-the-cuff comments at press conferences by his predecessor. In fact, I’m convinced that if he had avoided those COVID briefings, or said nothing, he might have been REALLY reelected.

Columnist Jeff Jacoby doesn’t necessarily agree with “Biden’s policy agenda. From his gargantuan spending bills to his outreach toward Iran to his embrace of woke racial ideology, I think he is on the wrong track.”

Not dominating every news cycle

However, “Biden is content to stay out of public view and not make himself or his thoughts each day’s top story. He doesn’t comment on every political development. He doesn’t give daily briefings. And he doesn’t weigh in on every Washington dispute.” The silence is refreshing.

As Peter Nicholas wrote in The Atlantic, the Biden White House has made the “conscious calculation that people don’t need — or want — to hear from the president on an hour-by-hour basis.”

As one anonymous former Biden campaign aide told Nicholas: “He’s boring in the best possible way. We need boring. We want boring.” He’s an antidote to an in-your-face presidency.

Joe Biden “endured a fair amount of ‘Where’s Joe?’ mockery” during the 2020 campaign. “But it didn’t keep him from winning the election. Perhaps he and his advisers have concluded that staying out of the spotlight will continue to work to his benefit, both by demonstrating how different he is from Trump and by minimizing opportunities for the gaffes to which he himself says he is prone.”


From January 6 to competence

Boring is a good thing.

Jen PsakiThe Saturday night after the inauguration, I decided to view some recordings of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. I had watched the January 3 episode, which ended with Amanda Peet in the middle of a game. Since it recorded automatically, I didn’t notice that there were three episodes on January 6. Well, ostensibly.

As it turned out, there was no Millionaire airing that night, but rather three hours of ABC News’ coverage of the siege on the US Capitol. Seeing this news from only 18 days earlier felt almost otherworldly. January 6 seems simultaneously so current – troops are still locking down DC – and in the horrible past. I can’t explain it.

Even then, several of the network reporters indicated how race played a role in the assault. Martha Raddatz compared the armed camp that was summer 2020 DC, where she felt safe with the cocoon of soldiers with concern for her safety in the initial hours of the siege. (She talked about it on The View on January 7.)

It’s not that we’re past January 6. Far from it. But I’m feeling…IDK..less stressed. I haven’t asked my wife if we’ve invaded Iran in over a week, something I feared greatly as recently as January 19.

My TV is even happy

I am really thrilled with catching the CBS This Morning eye-opener and not wanting to curse at my TV set. A recent Boston Globe headline: ‘Boring is a good thing’: A day in post-Trump Washington.

Watching Jen Psaki conduct White House press conferences is like viewing competence. That’s defined as “They know what they’re doing, they know their jobs, and they work to get the job done. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t complications!”

I haven’t become Pollyannic about what the next four years will look like. We’ll have to deal with many of the same problems that we’ve encountered in 2020, not the least of which is COVID. But I feel…dare I say it?… hopeful about the future, and that hasn’t often been the case.

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