Anyone who has ushered a parent through the many health challenges that come with age understands that structure is essential. A functioning environment for most people above 75 necessitates planning, often with a carefully crafted schedule. There is pill time, rest time, breakfast, lunch, and dinner time, and if the senior is in decent shape – exercise time. Fostering order is the key to their functionality.
Now, is Joe Biden’s first week in office beginning to make some sense?
An unusually insightful article in a prominent Washington newspaper titled “Biden embraces order and routine in his first week. How will that fit this moment of crisis?” takes note of the new president’s highly structured day. Although author Matt Viser makes no connection between Mr. Biden’s age or complicated health profile and his well-plotted out day, he does ask crucial questions after observing the 46th president’s first week of activities. Viser wondered in print:
“However, the question to be answered in the coming weeks is whether Biden’s orderly presidency matches this moment of national urgency and whether it’s sustainable in the face of multiple crises. Biden himself said last week that the government was on a ‘wartime’ footing — then took the weekend off from public appearances.”
Highlighting the president’s “rigid routine,” the article asks “whether Biden’s more restrained style is an antidote or an overcorrection” to that of President Trump. Broadening the aperture, one might ask if a 21st century president can be truly effective in responding to a job that requires a high level of performance while operating in such unbending confines. For sure, the new president provides a low key and perhaps even low energy contrast to the frenetic pace of Donald Trump.
This likely comes as a welcome respite to some. Still, even a media that favors Biden over Trump is not so quietly registering concern as to whether this health-challenged senior is up to the rigors of the Oval Office. Thus far, President Biden is tightly scripted, stays on the teleprompter, appears for a brief time each day, and then disappears. One can almost hear the whine of boredom setting in when the Washington newspaper author intones, “His early days have featured a drumbeat of policy announcements, dutifully explained by fact sheets, conference calls, and experts.”
Unlike his predecessor, Joe Biden’s tweets, opines Viser, “often read like fortune cookies.” “The time to move forward is now,” tweeted the newly sworn-in president on January 20, 2021. “We’ll get through this together,” was another cookie caption for the hungry masses. Left unsaid is that these missives aren’t simply tedious and platitudinous but uninformative. This is a far cry from the now-banned Donald Trump Twitter account that had the media breathlessly lurching from one major news story to the next. President Trump talked directly to the people, whereas President Biden appears unwilling to allow the press or the people into his thought process.
The robotic Biden approach may be refreshing at first. However, in time it may become frustrating for a people and a Fourth Estate so accustomed to an open and frank exchange of plans, ideas, and reasoning. On some level, one wonders if the legacy media that expressed such displeasure in Mr. Trump might miss him soon.
There is a vast chasm between the journey to the presidency and the presidency itself. Will a senior operating within the confines of a tight script and schedule ultimately be up to the job? That is something America is about to find out.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.