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Biden is better than Obama

No doubt Barack Obama is a rock star.

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Biden is better than Obama

No doubt Barack Obama is a rock star. The man can talk; he has humor, also self-mockery; And then he looks ridiculously good. It's no surprise that hearts flew out to him all over the world — not just in America — from the start.

Obama just had to stand somewhere and it looked cool. And he could also do otherwise; he had and still has a sensitive side. After a racist mass murderer shot dead nine people in a black church in 2017, Obama performed there and sang "Amazing Grace". Anyone who didn't have tears in their eyes was long dead on the inside.

But as President? After all, Barack Obama pushed one important reform through Congress during his term in office: With his Affordable Care Act, he ensured that fewer Americans are without health insurance than ever before. If you don't think that's important, you're cordially invited to go to the emergency room of an American hospital and see how people without health insurance are treated after five or six hours of waiting.

But Obama has done little beyond the Affordable Care Act. In foreign policy, for example, he never understood what the hour had come. Of course, he despised Vladimir Putin — that had no practical consequences. The Russians were allowed to invade Georgia, devastate Syria, support Donald Trump's campaign without the lights ever going out in Moscow.

Joe Biden was never a political rock star. Journalists underestimated him from the start: in the 2019 primary, all eyes were on Bernie Sanders, on Elizabeth Warren, on Kamala Harris; Joe Biden was considered a clumsy old man who couldn't utter a straight sentence. This is true: Biden had a bad stutter as a child. He has learned to mumble to cover up his stutter.

Completely unaware of the fact that Biden enjoys the respect and sympathy of almost every black American — a respect he has honestly earned through the decades. The journalists also failed to see that Joe Biden did what no other candidate could have done: he reconciled the party left with those in the centre. And so he managed to clearly beat the right-wing would-be autocrat Trump.

That was just the first of his accomplishments. He also managed to pass an infrastructure plan in a deeply divided country with Republican support that will fundamentally change America for the better; and he has pushed through social reforms at least as ambitious as Roosevelt's "New Deal" of the 1930s, against furious opposition from Republicans. These reforms will primarily benefit people in the Republican-governed constituencies. Biden's bet is that it could succeed in freeing the people there from their hatred and madness. We'll see if that works.

Biden isn't much of a rhetorician — but that hasn't stopped him from delivering some brilliant speeches. For example, the speech in which he warned against the "Maga Republicans", the Trump supporters, who are not conservatives, but violent enemies of democracy.

Above all, Biden is a fox. Not only is he smart, but he's also smart. He proved that in his recent address to both houses of Congress, in which he set up a rhetorical trap that Republicans promptly fell into: He spoke of some Republicans wanting to end elder health insurance and Social Security. Angry protest howls! And Biden snapped the trap: Then everyone agrees, he said — no cuts in health and social security. That's how politics works when you know how the machine works, where to pull the levers, which buttons to press.

And foreign policy? Many resented Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan at the time. But that war has been lost for at least a decade — it's just that no administration (including the Obama administration) has had the courage to give up what has been lost. Biden was in the position of a tavern visitor at whose expense his predecessors drank heavily and who ended up sitting alone with the bill. In retrospect, it's clear that his decision was incredibly painful — and incredibly right. Imagine if American forces were still tied up in Afghanistan; it would be fatal.

We are very fortunate that in Joe Biden there is a man in the White House who had his formative foreign policy experience during the Cold War. He knows from that time that NATO is indispensable for America; that against Russian nuclear weapons, the deterrence of American nuclear weapons helps; that aggression should not be rewarded; that loyalty to allies is worthwhile, even if it costs something financially.

But there is a second experience that Biden brought to office — one that Europeans have long forgotten. It is only thirty years since the Serbs waged a national war of annihilation against multi-ethnic Bosnia. At that time, the Europeans did next to nothing to counter the butchers.

Dutch blue helmets even drank champagne with Serbian war criminals in Srebrenica before they went to the massacre. Since then, Biden has realized that the Europeans cannot be relied on. They need America to find their better selves. Without or against America, Europeans are either helpless or dangerous.

With his visit to Kiev, Joe Biden has reached the high point of his presidency so far. No one who has seen them will ever forget the images of him walking fearlessly through the city with the President of Ukraine while air raid raid sirens wailed. This moment can only be compared to John F. Kennedy's visit to Berlin. Or with Ronald Reagan's visit to the Berlin Wall in 1987. Joe Kennedy's confession "I am a Berliner" and Ronald Reagan's request "Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev" correspond to the following sentences by Joe Biden: "Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. And America and the world stand by your side.”

In a sense, Biden's phrases are even more succinct — none of his predecessors went to great lengths to travel. Biden, on the other hand, completed a 10-hour train journey and ventured into a country whose airspace is unsecured.

Perhaps it should be said openly: Joe Biden, who is not a rock star, is a better president than Barack Obama. He doesn't shine, but he understands the business better. He's not afraid to make difficult decisions — while Obama was always happy to put them off. And he knows that the fight against the enemies of liberal democracy must be waged — at home and abroad.

Of course it's possible that he'll be struck by lightning tomorrow. Or that he will not stand for a second term at all; that soon a younger person will push him aside. Who knows? Only one thing is clear: the journalists who wrote him off from the start because he stammers and is old will continue to underestimate the fox Biden.

The brilliant cynic Ambrose Bierce came up with the definition that a statesman is “a dead politician”. But shouldn't we, quite uncynically, call Joe Biden a statesman already?

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