The Caretaker President

“She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothing’s gained
Or nothing’s lost, at such a cost.” — Mick Jagger

Admittedly, this happens in sports all the time. Occasionally it even happens in matters of religion. The concept is easy enough and we know it here in Houston as good as anyone. The Texans and Rockets are rebuilding. It didn’t make sense to hire a big time coach and no big time coach would want either position anyway. So, you hire a caretaker.

The caretaker is usually a nice guy that is calm, relaxed, and won’t rock the boat one way or the other. They know their role. They know they are there to calm things down and put things right. They also know they are not going to be there very long.

As you might suspect, there are folks better at this than others. The Texans managed to hire themselves a dud. The whole point is whether you can envision success with the caretaker. We all know there won’t be success, but we have to be able to envision it. We simply can’t envision it in his case.

Pope Benedict the 16th was a caretaker pope. John Paul II was a reformer and the church knew another reformer was in the offing. Pope Francis has turned out to be that guy. So, the church put in another caretaker for a few years to keep everything calm. That’s the whole idea. Don’t do anything major. Just be competent and let things calm down.

This brings us to the current president. Through no fault of his own, Barack Obama was a volatile president. Again, it had nothing to do with him. He had a steady hand and a level head, but he also was guilty of presidenting while black. So, everything he did seemed radical whether it was in reality or not. He was followed by the most volatile president in our nation’s history.

No matter what anyone could say about the 45th president, they had to admit he was volatile. There was a scandal every day. People were hired and fired at breakneck speed, and seemingly every week there was a new comment that angered the opposition. Even if you supported him you had to come away from the presidency exhausted.

Enter Joe Biden. Biden hasn’t done much. He’s put us back in the Paris Climate Accords. He’s organized the vaccine rollout to the point where everyone that has wanted to vaccine has gotten one and ahead of the schedule he promised. He stabilized the economy to the point where we have had growth again. Now, Congress has passed infrastructure reform and he has signed it.

Yet, after all of that Biden can’t win. A minority of Americans think he is doing a good job. Progressives want more and they want it now. Conservatives don’t want any of it and they have been programmed to hate him. The anti-vaxxers seem to think all of these mandates harken back to Nazi Germany and everyone else just wants them to sit down, shut up, and get the shot.

In order for us to really determine whether he is doing a good job we need to identify the job he is supposed to do. If people really wanted a reformer they would have elected any other candidate in the Democratic primary. You had Bernie Sanders. You had Elizabeth Warren. You had Kamela Harris. You had Pete Buttigieg. Any one of them would have been a more effective reformer. With the exception of Sanders, any one of them could possibly still be a candidate in the future.

What most Americans wanted was a few simple things. They wanted someone competent to administer us through the pandemic. Despite the anti-vaxxers best efforts, Biden has done that. They wanted someone that wouldn’t generate headlines every day. Everyone was just tired of having the president in our face saying or doing something stupid. He has certainly done that.

Unfortunately, when you follow the Tasmanian devil president you spend most of your time cleaning up his mess. No one likes cleaning up messes. Whether you want to sit and watch television or do something more productive around the house, cleaning up a mess keeps you from doing that. When the president does that it is easy to be dissatisfied. There are so many things we would rather he be doing, but he can’t. He has to spend time putting everything right, so maybe we should cut him some slack.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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