In 1987, Joe Biden ran for president. As a 44-year-old Senator, he was considered an up and coming star of the Democratic party and one of seven hopefuls for president that year. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he would preside over the confirmation hearings of Judge Robert Bork, a controversial conservative nominated to the Supreme Court. This would give him great visibility in the coming presidential election campaign and the political stars seemed to be aligning in his favor.
But a few days before those confirmation hearings began, a scandal erupted. Biden had made a speech in his presidential campaign at the Iowa State Fair. Investigative journalists pieced together footage of U. K. Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock giving a speech that Biden had clearly used for his Iowa speech without giving attribution to Kinnock. Other examples of Biden’s plagiarism were soon found and he had to drop out of the presidential campaign only three months after he began.
In the 2020 presidential election campaign, Biden came out with his plan to curb the spread of the Covid pandemic. It was so similar to President Trump’s plan, the Wall Street Journal editorial board stated, “The Democratic nominee is also promising a better virus strategy, which would be wonderful if he had one. But the virus plan he’s pushing is little different on the substance than what the Trump Administration is already doing.” (see Biden’s Covid Plan is Trump’s Plan)
Now that he is president, Joe Biden has just announced his plans to deal with the Covid pandemic. He has promised 100 million vaccinations in the next 100 days. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new strategy is focused partly on ramping up vaccinations and curbing the spread of the virus through mask wearing, testing data and treatments, and includes new executive orders and directives. One order directs agencies to use their authority, including the Defense Production Act, to meet shortfalls in supplies such as masks, while another establishes a pandemic testing board to expand testing supply and access. Another order requires masks in airports and in certain transportation such as many trains, ships, intercity buses and airplanes.
In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu, all over again!” This is just a repackaging of the Trump plan. His promise to produce 100 million vaccinations in the next 100 days is not much of a challenge. According to outgoing CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, the Trump administration has nearly reached a million vaccinations a day already. A Bloomberg compilation of state vaccination data confirms the rate of inoculations – which has been gradually accelerating since late December – averaged 912,497 per day during the final week of the Trump administration.
The real reason for the slower than predicted vaccination process is blue state governors who have refused to accept Trump administration recommendations. The rollout has been particularly slow in those states while state and local officials argue over vaccination priorities. Mask mandates may sound like a good idea, but it is doubtful they will make any significant difference since masks seem to be already required in all public spaces. The lower-than-usual flu infections this season have been attributed to the widespread use of masks around the world.
All the focus on lockdowns, masks, social distancing, hand washing, and other measures designed to ameliorate the spread of the virus will have much less impact than the vaccination of the population. The important thing to do now is get vaccinated; the sooner the better. Joe Biden wants to take credit for “stopping the pandemic”, but the real credit goes to those who made the vaccines available in record-breaking time.