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Ordinary Joe Biden

Ordinary Joe Biden

Posted: Jul 23, 2021 12:01 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2021 12:01 AM

It's often said that each US president is the direct antidote to the excesses of his predecessor.

You might have noticed that Donald Trump -- who made his name by literally splashing it across apartment blocks, hotels, airliners, steaks and pretty much anything else that could be sold -- was not the humblest president in US history. He was forever boasting about how smart he was, awarding himself A grades for his often-questionable performance -- for instance, on the pandemic -- and boasting falsely that no president before him had achieved what he did.

Joe Biden is just the opposite. In a clear reaction to the Trump years, he's made the presidency less noisy and attention-grabbing.

Biden's humility was on display throughout the CNN town hall in Ohio on Wednesday night when he spoke about his administration's pandemic response. "One of the things that we're doing is what I've done -- we've done, excuse me -- my team has done," the President said. Later the ex-senator and former vice president argued that he was a foreign policy expert -- but in the most modest way. "I've had a lot of experience internationally. And I mean that -- not good or bad, just I have," he said.

Biden said his recent first foreign trip had made him realize his new status -- but he avoided puffing his own ego. "The only place I have felt like what the office connotes is when I went to Europe and watched the rest of the heads of state react to me -- not me, because I'm the President of the United States of America," Biden said. 

Of course, Biden knows what he's doing. Making out that he's just like any other American is good politics. He's following a method that he's long used on the campaign trail to burnish his ordinary Joe image. He's using modesty as a political weapon, and the fact that he is not personally objectionable creates an aura of moderation even though some of his social policy plans are quite radical.

But he's been around long enough -- and been scarred by enough personal tragedy -- that it's pretty clear that his personality isn't just an act. At the end of the town hall, Biden told CNN's Don Lemon a self-deprecating story that underscored how different he was from Trump.

"The first time I walked downstairs and they played 'Hail to the Chief,' I wondered, 'Where is he?' No, you think I'm kidding. I'm not kidding."

"It's a great tune, but ... you feel a little self-conscious," the President added.

The Republican reversal on vaccines

Biden calls it the Republican Party's altar call.

There's been a sudden epiphany as lawmakers and TV opinion hosts from the Republican Party and Fox News -- two organs more than happy to raise skepticism about Covid-19 vaccines -- have changed their tune. In a striking statement, Sean Hannity, one of Fox's most watched conservative pundits, called on his viewers this week to get their shots. "I can't say it enough. Enough people have died. We don't need any more death," Hannity said on his show. In fairness, Hannity, a Trump confidant, had spoken out on vaccines before, despite often downplaying the pandemic. But such a strident message from such a powerful conservative opinion host led a chorus of other Fox hosts to board the vaccine train.

One of the top people in the House Republican leadership, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, took the plunge and went to TV to urge viewers to do the same after waiting months to get his dose. This came after some members of Scalise's House caucus compared Biden to a Nazi because he sent teams into hard-hit states to plead with people to get the life-saving shots.

What's behind the sudden change of heart?

It's always possible -- though admittedly unfathomable in Washington -- that people are simply, finally, doing the right thing. More likely, there's a realization that it's not good politics or business for the Republican Party or Fox to see its viewers getting sick and dying.

Almost all of the states with the lowest vaccination rates and highest new case numbers in a summer surge of Covid-19 fueled by the Delta variant are Republican-run. Hospitals all over Trump country are filling up. There are tales from doctors and nurses of patients pleading for vaccines on their death beds, when it is too late.

Whatever the reason -- and frustrated by the previous conservative torrent of misinformation about vaccines -- Biden will take it. "They've had an altar call, some of those guys," Biden, a devout Roman Catholic, said at the CNN town hall on Wednesday night. "All of a sudden, they're out there saying, 'Let's get vaccinated' .... I shouldn't make fun. That's good."

The-CNN-Wire
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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