Biden’s First Year: A Reality Check

I hoped that the standard year-in-review or one-year-anniversary appraisals of Biden’s first year would remind anybody who’s paying attention that he’s already achieved a lot as president (in addition to making the White House less corrupt and less incompetent). There have been a few such positive appraisals, but not as many as I expected. CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers wrote one of the positive ones:

Here’s an apparently unpopular opinion: Joe Biden is not failing or flailing. His presidency is not in peril.

It’s hard to see this through the blizzard of over-the-top headlines such as, “Biden Can Still Rescue His Presidency,” “How the Biden Administration Lost Its Way” and “Biden’s Epic Failures.”

Everyone needs to take a breath: It’s been one year. These headlines could just as easily read, “Joe Biden Fails to Fix Every Problem in the World in 365 days.”

What drives much of the “presidency in peril” coverage is Biden’s approval ratings. CNN’s poll of polls, released Thursday, found that 41% of Americans approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job while 54% disapprove.

Low approval ratings are used as a proxy by various political and ideological factions to argue that the president needs to do more of what they want and if he doesn’t, he won’t get reelected. (Spoiler alert: nobody will cast their vote in three years based on how they feel today about Biden). . . .  It’s become conventional wisdom in the media that Biden’s approval ratings started dropping because of how he handled the Afghanistan withdrawal. But Gallup’s senior editor Jeff Jones told Politico in November that his declining poll numbers began before that, during the Delta Covid-19 variant surge.

The fact is, approval ratings are most closely tied to how people feel about their day-to-day lives. Americans are understandably fatigued as we enter the third year of the pandemic and, until the US gets back to some semblance of normal, we should expect Biden’s approval ratings to reflect that frustration. Moreover, gas prices are high and research has shown that presidential approval ratings often track with gas prices, even though the president’s power over these prices is limited. The economic news is mostly good for Biden — unemployment is down and wages are up — but inflation is high and rising (note: In the US but also in many other countries). Taken together, this means the day-to-day life of many Americans feels really hard. 

It doesn’t help that the media reinforce the idea that Biden is somehow failing because he hasn’t solved issues that have bedeviled his predecessors over longer periods of time. The New York Times dinged Biden this week, noting that, “The president has not yet succeeded in meeting his own goals for combating climate change,…[hasn’t] delivered on his broader promise for a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented Americans” and has failed “on the central promise he made during the 2020 campaign — to ‘shut down’ the pandemic…”

This is bananas, but it’s a fairly typical roundup of the disconnected-from-reality analysis of Biden’s first year.

No president has been able to achieve a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who were not able to accomplish immigration reform over an eight-year period each. Biden should not be expected to do what they couldn’t, in a single year, in the middle of a global pandemic.

Speaking of the pandemic, it’s hard to shut it down when conservative leaders across the country are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen. Biden, for his part, signed into law the historic $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to ensure broad distribution of vaccines. But he can’t force people to get vaccinated. He did issue vaccination and testing mandates for businesses, but those were rebuked by the Supreme Court. He also isn’t responsible for conservative disinformation and efforts to thwart measures to protect people from Covid by Republican elected officials, which is the primary reason the US is still struggling with the virus in a way that some other industrialized countries aren’t.

What about Biden’s alleged lack of success in solving the climate change issue in a single year? Biden has taken many steps that are within his authority on climate change such as rejoining the Paris climate accordcanceling the Keystone XL pipeline and undoing many Trump-era anti-climate executive orders. He has pushed climate priorities in his Build Back Better bill which anyone who is sentient knows hasn’t passed because Biden enjoys the slimmest of majorities in the Senate and he couldn’t win over Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. There is also the fact that Republicans have zero interest in this bill. Republican obstructionism is not Biden’s fault.

Biden is not a magician; he is president. He can’t shout “abracadabra” and produce 50 Democratic senators who will support every element of his agenda. There aren’t 10 GOP senators to pull out of a hat to back common sense and patriotic priorities like protecting voting rights. “But he didn’t end the filibuster for voting rights,” is the complaint. Right, because he doesn’t have the votes.

This doesn’t mean that Biden couldn’t have done some things better in his first year. The administration was caught flat-footed by the Omicron variant and failed to deliver on promises to make testing easier and more available to Americans. Biden should have called Sen. Manchin’s bluff on Build Back Better a long time ago and struck a deal if there was one to be had (which is debatable). If Manchin wouldn’t strike a deal, Biden should have moved on to something more achievable like breaking the bill into smaller parts (something he said in his press conference this week he is open to doing).

Ultimately, we need to remember that Biden entered the White House during one of the most difficult periods this country has ever faced. “The worst pandemic in 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” he said during his campaign. “The most compelling call for racial justice since the 60’s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change.” We can now add to that list an attack on democracy by one of the two major political parties.

. . . Whatever Biden’s flaws, the country is in a better place than it was when he took office, something that was not a given considering the challenges he was up against. Like all presidents, he is clearly absorbing the lessons of the first year and recalibrating for the next.

Unquote.

I’ll add two positives not mentioned: 

No president since Ronald Reagan has gotten so many judges confirmed in his first year. Mr. Biden has also fulfilled a campaign promise by nominating perhaps the most diverse slate of judicial picks ever: 75% are women and 71% are people of color, according to FiveThirtyEight. Also important, court watchers say, is that the 40 new judges bring with them a wide backdrop of legal experience [including, for example, public defenders and civil rights and labor lawyers] (CS Monitor).

Secondly, he had the courage and insight to end the longest, stupidest war in American history, while evacuating nearly 130,000 Afghans and Americans in a matter of days after the national government collapsed more quickly than most observers expected.

A Silver Lining, Perhaps

The arguments Democratic senators made last night to reform the filibuster, e.g. by returning to the “talking” filibuster that can delay legislation as long as the minority keeps arguing against it, meaning that a bill can’t be stopped in its tracks by email, were so good that the refusal of two “Democratic” senators to vote for reform is either the result of stupidity or base motives.

If they truly believe the filibuster fosters bipartisan solutions, they are stupid. If they think the country will be better off with Republicans having total electoral control in various states, possibly resulting in the return of the worst president in history — whether he wins or not — they are horrible people. (We shouldn’t rule out the likelihood that they’re both stupid and horrible.)

Anyway, Paul Waldman of The Washington Posts looks on the bright side:

For years, Democrats have been waiting for Republicans to have their “epiphany,” to realize that scorched-earth politics and implacable opposition to anything a Democratic president might suggest are not good for the country. The epiphany has arrived — but it’s the Democrats who have finally come to understand reality, and are prepared to act accordingly.

This might seem like a moment of Democratic defeat [it sure as hell does]. But it could be a turning point, one that leads to more progress in the future.

At his Wednesday news conference, President Biden was asked whether he had over-promised and what he planned to change in the remainder of his term. In response, he said, “I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.”

Lots of people anticipated it — it has been a topic of debate for years, and Biden took a lot of criticism in the 2020 campaign from those who thought his claim that he could persuade Republicans to work with him was disingenuous or naive. Every reasonable observer knew that [Republicans] would approach his presidency with the same strategy it used with Barack Obama: Oppose almost everything the president proposes, and do everything in the party’s power to make him fail.

But what matters at the moment isn’t whether Biden ever believed [Republicans] would act differently. It’s that he seems ready to stop pretending that a dawn of bipartisan cooperation is about to break.

Now consider what happened that night, when Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) joined with every Republican to shoot down a rules change that would have allowed two voting rights bills — bills Manchin and Sinema claim to support — to receive an up-or-down vote.

It was absolutely a defeat, for Biden, for his party, and most of all for voters. But it also represented a significant shift within the Democratic Party. That’s because every single Democrat apart from Manchin and Sinema supported setting aside the filibuster.

A variety of factors led them there. The obstructionism and radicalism of today’s [Republican Party] certainly played a part. Perhaps just as important, we’ve had our first real, detailed debate about the filibuster, and all the arguments in its defense were revealed to be so preposterous that it has become almost impossible for any honest person to oppose reforming it.

As Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a more moderate Democrat, explained in a passionate plea, the Senate has adjusted filibuster rules to allow majority votes more than 160 times, including for such pressing matters as “approving compensation plans for commercial space accidents.”

So with two exceptions, every member of the Democratic caucus, from progressives such as Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) to moderates such as Jon Tester (Mont.) and Angus King (I-Maine), agreed that the filibuster has to change here as well.

There was nothing like that kind of unanimity even a year ago. That glass is now 48/50ths full.

And the defeat of these voting rights bills, which is extremely painful for both Democratic legislators and their party’s base, might actually hasten the filibuster’s demise.

As I’ve noted, in every state where Democrats have a chance to take a Republican Senate seat, all Democratic primary candidates favor scrapping the filibuster. That includes both moderates and progressives. Though there are many things that divide, for instance, Rep. Conor Lamb and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, they agree the filibuster should go.

Democrats, including the president who has spent so much time insisting that he can achieve bipartisanship, are simply done waiting for Republicans to see the light. The next step is for them to get mad enough to do something about it.

Which might happen. Even though the most likely outcome in 2022 is a Republican sweep (following the usual midterm election pattern), Democratic voters can and should be angry enough about the death of these voting bills — among many other things, including the Supreme Court’s likely overturning of Roe v. Wade this year — to organize, register and overcome Republican voter suppression to get to the polls in November.

If you’re a Democrat and you’re mad at Manchin and Sinema — and you should be — the answer is to make them irrelevant by electing a few more Democrats to the Senate.

Besides, they’ll probably be around for only a few more years. Manchin might not run for reelection in 2024, and if he does, he’ll probably lose, as long as Republicans find a halfway decent candidate in deep-red West Virginia. And after this, Sinema couldn’t win a Democratic primary for dogcatcher; if she runs again the same year, she’ll face a strong primary challenge [the latest poll shows she has an 8% — eight percent — approval rate among Arizona Democrats].

So it’s not hard to imagine the Senate considering voting rights again in the near future — and this time, there will be 50 votes to pass it.

Thanks to Manchin and Sinema, and to Republicans who remain just what they’ve been all along, Democrats can no longer afford to delude themselves about how politics works today. And for a change, they all know it.

I Guess It’s a Little Thing, But This Other Thing Is Big

The U.S. has two major political parties. One is older than the other. Which one?

You might think it’s the Republican Party. It’s not. The Democratic Party was founded in 1828, when Andrew Jackson was running for president. It’s the oldest active political party in the world. Jackson was the first Democratic president, which is why the party is occasionally called the “Party of Jackson” (even though Jackson might not be a Democrat today).

The Republican Party wasn’t founded until 1854. The party’s main thrust was opposition to slavery. It’s sometimes called the “Party of Lincoln” because Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president — even though Lincoln was a liberal or progressive for his day, not a conservative or reactionary (the Republicans began to move right around 1912 and never looked back).

It bugs me that news people frequently refer to the Republican Party as the GOP. Many Americans don’t know what “GOP” refers to or stands for. It’s “Grand Old Party”, even though the Democratic Party is older. In fact, the GOP acronym was first used to refer to the Democratic Party. After the Democrats dropped it, the Republicans picked it up.

So the Republican Party isn’t old compared to the Democratic Party; news people don’t have a friendly little acronym for the Democrats; and worst of all, when the GOP does something especially bad — like opposing voting rights in Congress and across the country — a significant number of people don’t even realize it’s the Republicans at work. That’s why I try to avoid using “GOP”.

That was the small thing. Here’s the big thing, as chronicled by Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post. Her article appears on the paper’s digital front page as “Dear Media: Stop Giving the GOP the Benefit of the Doubt”: 

The Republican Party has a reliable — albeit inadvertent — ally in the mainstream media. The latter remain all too anxious to make the authoritarian and often blatantly racist party seem “normal.”

When Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race in Virginia, the media gobbled up the GOP talking point that he had cracked the code for the post-T___ era. See how clever he was to keep his distance from former president D____ T____? The coverage rarely scrutinized his positions, such as his potentially disastrous proposed tax cuts or his aversion to mask mandates, a critical part of Virginia’s school reopening.

The story line was set: Democrats blew it by closing schools; Youngkin was “smart” to pose as a normal Republican. As The New York Times cooed: “Many conservatives see his campaign as providing a template for how to delicately embrace T____ism in blue states.”

Delicately? Youngkin was always serious about the MAGA camp’s culture wars, as he made abundantly clear on day one of his governorship.

Shortly after his inauguration, Youngkin promptly banned critical race theory from Virginia curriculums, even though it isn’t taught in schools, thereby flaunting his willingness to cater to White grievance in a state infamous for its resistance to desegregation. He described what would be removed from school curriculum: “All of the principles of critical race theory, the fundamental building blocks of actually accusing one group of being oppressors and another of being oppressed, of actually burdening children today for sins of the past.”

Listening to Youngkin, one might never know that slavery and Jim Crow are woven into the Commonwealth’s history and are relevant to ongoing racial disparities in wealth, education, health and homeownership. His airbrushed version of history is the standard MAGA effort to cater to White supremacists and wreak havoc in the schools. If only the media had taken him seriously during the campaign.

And just as Democrats predicted, Youngkin swiftly imported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s war on mask requirements, preventing schools from issuing such mandates. Several school boards promptly decried his edict and said they’d go on protecting teachers and students. It seems Youngkin duped voters and the media who wanted to believe there was a normal alternative to MAGA Republicanism.

The media’s predilection for portraying Republicans as tactically brilliant is indicative of their preference for treating politics as a game. They denude their coverage of any qualitative judgment that would inform voters that the party’s “cleverness” is lying, plain and simple.

This refusal by the media to render judgment on the GOP’s cult leaders has gone on for more than six years. Despite replete evidence of T____’s inability [note: refusal] to distinguish truth from fiction, his self-image of grandiosity and his fixation on conspiracy theories, the mainstream media failed to characterize T____’s conduct as abnormal.

Take his bizarre rally in Arizona on Saturday, where he rambled incoherently, insisting, for example, “The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating . . . White people to determine who lives and who dies. If you’re White, you don’t get the vaccine, or if you’re White, you don’t get therapeutics.” This is a loony lie. . . . 

No reasonable person could hear this and not conclude he is unhinged. And he has been sounding like this for years. Yet the media largely covered the rally as run-of-the-mill politics. One New York Times headline: “T____ Rally Underscores G.O.P. Tension Over How to Win in 2022.” Meanwhile, Politico intoned: “Spread out in a sea of red MAGA hats and T-shirts emblazoned with ‘T____ won,’ the former president’s fans roared in support as he aired complaints about the election and made swipes at the Biden administration.”

Is that what he was doing? “Airing complaints”? Or was he making positively ludicrous claims, like the guy on the street corner hollering about the end of the world? Anodyne descriptions that slot T____’s antics into “politics as usual” mislead news consumers. To make matters worse, interviewers avoid asking Republicans how they can pledge loyalty to someone so bonkers.

Certainly, the media should avoid rendering a psychiatric evaluation . . . but they routinely refuse to convey the abnormality on display before them. This is “the emperor has no clothes” on steroids.

Unflinching, brutally honest coverage would describe T____’s behavior accurately, including his syntax and preposterous lies. It would concede this conduct would be disqualifying for any business executive or even a small-town mayor. The media are compelled to level with voters: The two parties are not equivalent, in part because one treats its crackpot leader like a messiah. . . . 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Without the Whitewash

The journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones reports that she was invited to give a speech for Martin Luther King Day:

. . . A small number of members of the group hosting me wrote and then leaked emails opposing my giving this speech, as it dishonored Dr. King for me to do so. They called me a “discredited activist” “unworthy of such association with King”.

So, I scrapped my original speech and spent the entire first half of it reading excerpts from a bunch of Dr. King’s speeches, but without telling anyone that I was doing so, leading the audience to think King’s words were mine. And, whew, chile, it was AMAZING.

Here is some of it (wherever you see “Black” in capital letters, it’s because I subbed out “Negro” to not give it away):

“It was in the year 1619 that the first BLACK slave was brought to the shores of this nation. They were brought here from the soils of Africa and unlike the Pilgrim fathers who landed here at Plymouth a year later, they were brought here against their will…”

“For more than 200 years Africa was raped and plundered, a native kingdom disorganized, the people and rulers demoralized and throughout slavery the BLACK slaves were treated in a very inhuman form…”

“White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society…The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism…”

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

“The crowning achievement in hypocrisy must go to those staunch Republicans and Democrats of the Midwest and West who were given land by our government when they came here as immigrants from Europe. They were given education through the land grant colleges. . . These are the same people that now say to black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains and who were emancipated in 1863 without being given land to cultivate or bread to eat; that they must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

“What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor…”

“We know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization.”

“Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly professes the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy.”

“The fact is, there has never been a single, solid, determined commitment on the part of the vast majority of white Americans to genuine equality for Black people.”

“The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there. . . The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed on the shores of this nation.”

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance . . . With each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that BLACK Americans have come far enough.”

“…for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality and that racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists.”

“If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say, that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.”

“Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Black people are sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to them those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America?”

“I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the BLACK for their freedom . . . “

Oh, the uncomfortable silence as I read Dr. King’s words at a commemoration of Dr. King’s life when people had no idea that these were his words. When I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between 1956 and 1967 . . . Can you say SHOOK!

Then I read all the names that white Americans called King: charlatan, demagogue, communist, traitor — and brought out the polling showing more than three-quarters of Americans opposed King at his death while 94 percent approve of him now.

I left them with this: People who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy. The real Dr. King cannot be commodified, homogenized, and white-washed and whatever side you stand on TODAY is the side you would have been back then.

In fact, most white Americans in 1963 opposed the March on Washington where Dr. King gave the “I Have A Dream Speech” with that one line that people opposed to anti-racism like to trot out against those working for racial justice. [Note: that one line is “Judge us by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin”, which certainly doesn’t mean what they’d like it to mean.]

This is why the 1619 Project exists. This is why the decades of scholarship that undergirds the 1619 Project exists. Because if we do nothing, they will co-opt our history and use it against us.

Dr. King was a radical critic of racism, capitalism and militarism. He didn’t die. He was assassinated. And many, including Reagan, fought the national holiday we’re now commemorating. If you haven’t read, in entirety, his speeches, you’ve been miseducated and I hope that you will.

Comparing the Former Guy to a Tired Comedy Act

His act has gotten very old. Maybe that will contribute to a crushing defeat in 2024. From Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast:

There was a time when D____ T____ made news with his rallies—when he said things that utterly shocked us. Who could forget the firestorm he started, for example, when he went after Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who knelt during the national anthem in 2017, or earlier that year when he called Barack Obama “the founder of ISIS”?

T____’s performance in Arizona on Saturday night—his first rally in months and his much-hyped chance to respond to the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot—was neither shocking nor terribly newsworthy.

It didn’t even merit a mention on The Washington Post’s homepage Sunday morning. The New York Times only used T____’s speech as a peg to write a broader story under the headline: “T____ Rally Underscores G.O.P. Tension Over How to Win in 2022.”

A few years ago, T____ rallies spawned breathless coverage and drove multiple news cycles. But The Times’ story isn’t even about the rally, and their mentioning it is mostly perfunctory. . . .

TV sitcom showrunners sometimes react to declining ratings by introducing a “Cousin Oliver”—which, quite often, is a cute kid whose smart-alecky sass is meant to liven up a tired atmosphere. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s evidence a show [is desperate]. But T____’s never been an ensemble cast type of personality. He’s the whole show, and the surrounding players are as replaceable and ephemeral as Spinal Tap’s exploding drummers.

The Arizona rally may have been the unofficial kickoff of his 2024 campaign. But this time around, T____ will have to work harder to break through—and not just because the media is less likely to give him ample air time free of charge.

Call it the Andrew Dice Clay conundrum: If your entire schtick is based on shock value, eventually the audience grows inured, and the lack of substance becomes embarrassingly plain.

T____ made assertions in Arizona Saturday night that might once have garnered buzz (on Sunday morning, at least). But they’re getting little play. In its writeup of the rally, Politico said T____ “issued a blistering response to Democrats” and that he “opened his speech by falsely claiming ‘proof’ that the 2020 election was ‘rigged.’” A more telling fact is that this “blistering response” was not deemed worthy enough to be the site’s lead story. What might have spawned outrage and wagging tongues a few years prior now elicits a collective chorus of yawns.

Here’s the thing about moving the Overton Window: The process of shifting standards and assumptions matters greatly at the societal level. It’s bad when news consumers become desensitized to a former president erroneously claiming an election was stolen. It also cannibalizes one of T____’s greatest assets: his ability to shock and awe. His schtick is tired, and that can often equate to a professional death sentence.

T____’s rock-concert rallies provide enough of his greatest hits for the fans and groupies who actually attend them. But for performers to remain relevant, they require new material. And politics is more stand-up comedy than rock and roll.

The Rolling Stones can play their more-current hits a million times, yet we will still keep clamoring for “Sympathy For The Devil.” But can you imagine Chris Rock getting an HBO special and doing 2016 material? The same goes for T____. Nobody wants to hear a political retread who rehashes his same tired conspiracy theories ad nauseam.

T____ seems like the sort of man who could appreciate the temporal, consumerist, and disposable culture of modernity. We fetishize what is new and what is next. Yet, T____’s obsession with relitigating an election that is now two calendar years past runs contrary to this modern American tendency. In this regard, his ego T____s his marketing savvy.

To be sure, T____ also benefits from the (bogus) sense he was wronged. But it’s hard to see how such a backward-looking 75-year-old man can remain in the vanguard. On Saturday night, T____ wasn’t just stuck in 2020—he was also stuck in the 20th century. There were numerous references to communism (more so than usual), including a reference to the Jan. 6 Commission’s witness interviews, which he compared to Stalinist show trials.

You might forgive T____ for such fanciful attacks on Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats, since his criticism of Joe Biden isn’t terribly effective. T____ isn’t skilled at prosecuting a substantive policy critique . . .  (the best T____ could do was mock him for seeming dazed and confused). All this is to say, the new material didn’t kill on Saturday night.

The theme was “Make America Great Again…Again” . . .  But does lightning ever really strike twice? For every “Godfather II” masterpiece there’s dozens of “Ghostbusters II” failed sequels.

We’d be fools to count T____ out entirely. . . .  But he needs new material, and fast, because if his Arizona rally shows anything, it’s that the old routine just doesn’t land anymore.