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Craig Shirley: Joe Biden is No FDR, and Thinking Otherwise is Pure Make-believe

If there’s one thing I hate about politics, it’s when we frame very weak people with savior-like complexes. Like Barack Obama or in this case Joe Biden.

It happens more and more unfortunately in modern American politics, and it gets in the way of viewing objective reality for what it is, particularly when much is at stake. Right now, the Left seems fixated on doing just this to a weakling like Joe Biden by proclaiming him as the second coming of President Franklin Roosevelt. Ridiculous.

In a recent column in the liberal New York Times, the silly and shallow leftist Nicholas Krisof spent several hundred words acclaiming Biden and that he is “electrifying” America like FDR, per the column’s title. Kristof spends the silly piece praising Biden for his ambitious plans to increase taxes and correct the “wrong turn” America took in the 1970s when it adopted the “harsh narrative” about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

And here I was thinking that had been the narrative all along, but you learn something new each day.

The issues Kristof brings up are valid problems that need action, but too much for a weakling like Biden. He focuses on Biden’s planned investments in childcare, infrastructure, broadband, and education, likening them to similar programs FDR used during the Depression. None of these issues belong at the federal level by the way. Many of these programs are debatable for America, and many of Roosevelt’s initiatives were allowed to continue long beyond when they were necessary. They became boondoggles.

The problem is that unlike FDR, for every possible good human investment Biden could make he’s matching it with a poor decision that’s designed purely to appease the progressive voting base. Consider, for example, investing in children and education.

If Biden wants to improve graduation rates and create more accessible daycare, that certainly is admirable though wrong-headed. These problems are best addressed by the states. But I don’t see how children who aren’t in school can hope to make it to the next grade up, let alone graduate, if they can’t attend classes.

Yet so far Biden has dragged his feet on reopening classes on a national level, preferring instead to play it safe by not upsetting the teachers unions who I’m sure contribute millions to Democratic interests every year. Hundreds of private schools across the country have demonstrated that safely opening during COVID is possible, but Biden seems only interested in listening to what unions have to say.

Then again, what good would in-person classes be if Biden allows the far Left to have its way with the national curriculum?

Right now, there is a massive push underway from so-called “anti-racism” activists to make Critical Race Theory the standard in American education. This Marxist-inspired garbage teaches, in essence, that all white people are predestined racists and all people of color are victims. FDR would think it nonsense.

In other words it teaches that Americans must view each other as stereotypes, content of character be damned, and that the country is wicked beyond repair. It teaches kids to hate the country rather than try to improve it. And Joe Biden’s Department of Education recently proposed giving federal grants to schools in order to teach this nonsense.

If we’re comparing Biden and FDR’s education investments, perhaps we should take CRT into consideration.

Roosevelt was a deeply flawed man (indeed his distaste for Asians is well-documented) but he certainly did not hate America the way pro-CRT progressives do. If he had, I doubt he would have so enthusiastically taken up the fight against Hitler and the Nazis?

All that is to say is that if we are going to talk about Biden reforming education and caring for our children, we need to understand the full scope of what that means.

Kristof writes that the “highest return on investment in America today isn’t in private equity but in early childhood initiatives for disadvantaged kids of all races.” But how can we do that if we teach one group of children they’re oppressors and teach others that they’re victims? How can we hope to get a return on any investment in children if from age four onwards we teach them to hate each other?

Likewise, how can we in good faith invest in new rural initiatives like broadband for American citizens when Biden can’t be bothered to invest in serious infrastructure on the southern border. I may sound like a broken record, but it doesn’t seem fair to American children of today if illegal immigrants take advantage of jobs that should be theirs one day.

Contrary to the numerous other definitions offered by liberals, security on the border is very much infrastructure. Undermanning the border patrol, no kind of barrier whatsoever, and pretending mass migration isn’t a crisis is as much of an issue as is rural internet.

If Biden wants to be the next FDR, then he should spend as much time and effort mitigating the border crisis as he does on other infrastructure initiatives. What good is broadband if an American citizen can’t enjoy it because an illegal was hired for a job instead of them? How is a robust and secure border not an investment in the capital that is our children?

The issues addressed in the Times piece are valid ones, and yes they need to be answered one day for the sake of future generations. In a perfect world, Joe Biden would fix these problems by working with Republicans and Democrats together in those smoke-filled rooms that once made D.C. famous.

But that’s not the world we live in, and Biden is certainly not the next FDR.

He doesn’t inspire the confidence and comfort that even FDR’s adversaries admired. He doesn’t have the firm hand that allowed FDR, for better or worse, to implement the New Deal and later proved indispensable during the war years. And he certainly doesn’t have FDR’s independence of mind to think for himself instead of doing whatever progressives whisper into his ear.


  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • FDR

  • Great Depression

  • New Deal

  • federal spending

  • national debt

  • Joe Biden proposals

  • infrastructure

  • socialism

  • Biden tax increases

  • federal education spending

  • reopening schools

  • Critical Race Theory

  • border security

  • Progressive agenda

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