Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden once said: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” In the professions of journalism and politics – and it is a great shame that the latter would be considered a profession at all – character is lacking, which is why, to politicians and journalists, reputation is everything. During the 2020 election season, reporters and legacy media pundits, along with the leaders of most of the so-called “big tech” companies, gambled their reputations by making it so unquestionably clear which candidate they supported. Now, it already appears that the gamble may have been an ill-conceived one.
While every president has been compared to his immediate predecessor, the comparison is all the more stark when an incumbent is unseated after one term. In those relatively rare cases, the successor is judged by comparing his America to the America that might have been, had the defeated incumbent served a second term.
Why Is Everything Not Already Wonderful?
The media and the big tech companies were so heavily invested in Trump’s defeat – CNN was just recently exposed as having deliberately pursued that agenda – that their reputations and credibility for many years to come hinge on Biden’s performance in the White House. Perhaps those reputations may never be recovered.
So awful, corrupt, incompetent, and destructive was Trump’s one term in office, so these press and Silicon Valley partisans insisted, that Biden’s first – and probably only – term will need to produce massive and quantifiable improvements. Essentially, Trump was apparently such a monster that the Biden presidency must surely bring immediate improvements to the lives of all Americans. If that does not happen – and quickly – then either Biden was little better than the man he replaced or Trump was really not so bad after all.
It is not enough to claim that the 45th president made such a mess of things that it will take many months or years to recover; the Democrats and their media minions wore out that play during former President Barack Obama’s first term. Obama’s presidency was, for the most part, a disaster, but he and his supporters in the media claimed for almost his entire first term that the blame for everything should be laid at the feet of George W. Bush.
Upon Biden’s shoulders, then, lies the responsibility for the state of the Union. Even more so, since, through executive actions, he rushed to dismantle as much of Trump’s policy as possible. There is no claiming, a year from now, that things are still a mess because that is what Biden inherited.
Granted, the new administration is just three months old, and so perhaps it is a little too early to look for signs of improvement. But it seems that almost every aspect of American life, along with the nation’s foreign policy interests, has gotten significantly worse in just these three months.
Prospects for a Better Life?
There are probably few Americans, if they are willing to be entirely objective and forget politics for a moment, who could honestly say that anything about their lives has improved since Trump was vanquished. They are paying more for gas and groceries, the cities around them are in as much turmoil now as they were in 2020, the southern border is complete chaos, and, to top it off, they are facing the very real prospect of tax hikes on all the goods and services they use, as well as on their own incomes. The reality is that the middle class is not going to escape higher taxes – the Biden agenda is simply too expensive to even imagine that possibility.
Two, three, or four years from now, then, will Americans be feeling that life is much easier and more pleasant – and more free – than it was during the Trump years? If they do not feel that way, then those in the legacy media and the tech industry who did everything in their power to ensure that Biden replaced Trump in 2020 will have a lot to answer for. In the eyes of Americans who feel their lives have gotten no easier – and perhaps much harder – these influencers will be seen as having done the country a grave disservice.
At that point, they will be without both character and reputation.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.