A President Joe Biden, we were told, would be a moderate president, one who could unite Americans and competently lead our nation.
Talk about fake news.
Ten months into the Biden presidency, it's clear that he is neither moderate nor, despite decades in Washington as a senator and vice president, competent.
Yet perhaps no president was ever better set up to be successful.
All Americans wanted was an end to 2020, that horrible pandemic year. Yet who among us, as we clinked champagne glasses with a select few on New Year's Eve, thought 2021 would usher in yet more rounds of horrors?
The Biden burden: Low approval ratings, soaring inflation and a COVID-19 culture war
Who imagined that COVID-19 would continue to ravage us and that we would also have record-high inflation, sky-high gas and food prices, and our fellow Americans left behind in Afghanistan? Who could have seen that the No. 1 enemy of the Justice Department in 2021 would be parents worried about what their children were taught in school? Who thought that our southern border would be effectively open and that the supply chain crisis would be so dire, children's Christmas gifts are at risk?
Happy 2021 indeed.
From the beginning, Biden - who successfully campaigned as a uniter of a divided America - refused to govern in a centrist way. Instead he pursued a liberal agenda, despite the razor-thin Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
On the first day in office, Biden reversed key actions by President Donald Trump to stem illegal immigration, canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and ended the 1776 Commission, which had the terrifying goal of teaching young Americans the "history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776," per the executive order.
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And that was just the beginning.
In March, Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID "relief" bill (which also included fun liberal giveaways like a bailout of union pension plans) that not a single Republican had voted for. That same month, he referred to an election reform law in Georgia as "Jim Crow on steroids" - language no doubt intended to unify. And now he's pushing for the "Build Back Better" legislation, another massive spending package jammed with leftist priorities.
What a missed opportunity.
Joe from Scranton could have championed the blue-collar workers of the Keystone pipeline - and explained to the radicals in his party the importance of inexpensive gas and energy independence. He could have responded to parents, worn out after months and months of their children attending public school via Zoom, by saying it was time the public schools face real competition and endorsed school choice.
He could have realized that, whatever your views on how many immigrants and refugees the United States should take, having an effectively open border is no way to run a country. It puts our security in jeopardy, endangers the illegal immigrants who make the journey with the help of cartels, and leads to even more drugs entering the country, fueling addiction and wasted lives.
He could have shown he was a president of all, by both urging the vaccine (which the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed had fought to get out as quickly as possible) and an end to mandatory mask laws in this time when vaccines were readily available.
He has done none of that.
In today's politics, we often place too much importance on the presidency. Our nation, especially with its deep divisions on so many issues, would be better served if the federal government was less intrusive and state and local governments, which are closer to the concerns of the people, more responsible for the bulk of laws and regulations.
At the end of the day, there's no way Biden could have governed in a manner that would have satisfied most Americans - there's simply too much disagreement about our values and goals.
But he also didn't have to be such a divisive president.
"History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity," a president once said during his inauguration. "We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature."
Now if Biden would just heed his own words.
Katrina Trinko is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal. Her views do not represent her employer, The Heritage Foundation. Follow her on Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden pushes liberal agenda, refuses to govern in a centrist way