Several weeks ago, President Joe Biden announced that he would use the might of OSHA to force a vaccine mandate on private businesses. This became a hot topic issue for all the talking heads and loud voices on social media to argue about. However, since that announcement, no regulation or rule has actually come. We’ve seen no language on it, and I am starting to suspect we never will see any language on it.
Likewise, two days ago, Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland, announced that the Justice Department would be establishing guidance on how federal law enforcement can handle “the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel,” seemingly in response to the growing number of protests, fiery rhetoric, and angry parents at school board meetings. Immediately, the administration’s moves were (rightfully) denounced as an attempt to silence speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. But the memo from Garland to federal law enforcement and the rest of the DOJ also says they’ll study it for 30 days and then get back to them.
Like the OSHA announcement, this is a “We’re gonna study and come up with something later, but it’s definitely happening” approach that could just be another distraction from the Biden adminstration. Words are being written about it, the left and the right are arguing online, and it’s taken up big chunks of airtime on conservative talk radio. But what we don’t have is any indication that this is going to be a plan the administration follows through on. A 30-day study on this “criminal conduct” leaves a lot of time for a largely unfocused electorate to forget about it, but it does buy Biden’s team some time to try and maneuver behind the scenes on their legislative goals.
It also keeps one of Biden’s most loyal groups, the teachers’ unions, happy. These protests and angry parents threaten the control over the education system that the government and unions have enjoyed for so long. The National School Board Association kicked this whole controversy off by writing a letter to the Biden administration seeking help on the school board front, and the unions have been decrying the “violent rhetoric” from these parents who really just want their kids to be in school with realistic COVID-19 expectations and not be taught they are inherently racists or inherently victims.
But then Mitch McConnell screwed it all up by announcing that he’d be willing to expedite the reconciliation process for a clean debt ceiling bill, putting the ball squarely into the Democrats’ court and bringing our attention back to Congress. The Garland memo will be lost in the mix and we’ll be back to fighting rhetorical battles over Congress while the politicians continue to squabble. Especially the Democrats.
In other words, Biden’s plan to distract us gave us a major authoritarian freedom of speech issue in the short term and no actual benefit to himself or the Democrats in the long term.
The Biden team is absolutely flailing at this point, and tossing out ideas like getting the FBI involved in local school board meetings is just a temporary distraction that won’t actually do anything, nor will it move any of the percentage points from “Disapprove” to “Approve” in the polling.