Sure there was some fraud and cheating. People cheat. At cards. On college admission applications. For welfare payments. Even 59 West Point cadets cheated on a calculus exam. Voter cheating is done by Democrats and Republicans, so they cancel each other out. You won, Joe, by about 7 million legit votes.
Now comes the hard part. It’s not Obama’s fault. It’s not Trump’s fault. It all rests on your 78-year-old shoulders.
The Iran quandary. North Korea’s Kim and his missiles. The Taliban in Afghanistan. China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
At your age (or mine) most men want less stress, travel (and not on Air Force One), and not being disturbed during naps or long night sleeps.
But your predecessor really mucked things up and a lot needs to be made right. Especially with our offended allies in Germany, France and Great Britain. Then there’s the homegrown grievances. Progressives like Bernie, who hope you’ll be the new FDR with ideas for societal enrichment programs, ending fossil fuels (not likely) and paying everyone in America a subsidy (as in a free wage, and also not likely.) Conservatives and the GOP Senate won’t bless you in your endeavors. Donald Trump got a big chunk of America all riled up about immigrants, loss of religious values and gun ownership. You’ll be expected to be nice to them (not likely.)
A smart move on your part would be to work on equality of economic growth and cultural integration and every so slowly inch in the direction of democratic socialism, an ultimate Democratic Party goal and a good one when it’s palatable.
Be as one Lincoln biographer said of Abe: “Radical, but not sounding too damned radical.”
Your net worth is estimated at $9 million so no need to do any stupid moves to shore up your bank account. You don’t need a hotel or country club you can rent to the Secret Service during your travels.
Too bad you didn’t bring me aboard as your Ivanka or Jared. Senior adviser. I’m full of ideas, some of which are found on this daily column site. Okay, I’ll admit that what I really want is an overnighter in the White House!
But seriously, consider these things:
(1) You can’t give away the candy store. But there’s no call to be in a tariff war with China. It needs to be cajoled into playing by international rules. No technology stealing. Fair pricing. And they must quit claiming ownership of a sea the International Court says they don’t own. Then we can be best friends and we’ll quit putting our ships and planes on their doorstep and let them and Taiwan and Hong Kong work out things without us threatening war. About Mr. Kim: he needs to understand two things. There are benefits for his people to play ball with the South and us, and maybe step down and allow an election. And that the penalty for misuse of a missile would leave him ruling a radioactive desert — if he survived. Harsh? I know. But Mr. Trump’s sweet talk went nowhere.
(2) We got our knickers in a twist in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s not our front yard or our backyard. Not even our neighborhood. Not our culture or our main religion. How did we get in so deep? Now we’ve got longtime NATO ally Turkey pissed at us.Was it all about the Saudi oil we really don’t need any more and will need even less of in 10-20 years time? We’re dumping out on the Afghans. Already dumped out on the Kurds. We let Syria’s Assad cross the “red line.” Libya’s a zoo. Ethiopia is a no place. Why did so many U.S. soldiers die in Somalia? We certainly did not make it a better place. Isn’t it time to stand back and let that pot boil?
Pull the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Those two countries can’t be saved. Would ISIS or similar move in? Probably. But the terrorism threat to us would likely diminish. ISIS won’t want to tangle with us once we’ve removed our “friendly occupation” forces from the area. Let Saudi Arabia and Israel deal with Iran. We just help keep the Strait open for shipping and international air space open for airplanes.
(4) Please put Cuba back in our good graces. It’s no threat to us. And we can’t tell people what kind of government they should have. Most seem content that it’s at least better than the bad old Batista days. Re-open tourism and trade. It’s the right things to do.
(5) Covid demands a national mask-wearing law with enforcement and penalties. Enough of this “I’m a free person” crap. We’re in an emergency. If we’re at war and government tells us to turn off all lights at night and sign up for the draft, we turn off the lights and sign up. This is no different. A lot of people will die as we await adequate inoculations. We have no idea how long they’ll give us immunity or what the longer-term side effects might be. Masks, social distancing and shutdowns of indoor group activities and our beloved bar hangouts will be around for many more months. It’s ridiculous to have a shutdown violation penalty like ours — you’re closed for just 24 hours! Testing is nice but only good for a moment in time when the test is given. If states are going to allow cross-border traffic (guaranteed by the Constitution) then we must enforce the 14-day quarantine. Is that possible? Yes, if the violation brings something more than a wrist slap. An automatic $5,000 fine gets people’s attention.)
That’s about it for now. Oh, can I have the Lincoln bedroom? And tell your chef I love eggs Benedict with kale pork for breakfast.