Toned Down Rhetoric, Cash Support for Students: Professors on Biden’s first 100 days

Biden’s first 100 days in office show clear attempts at helping Americans domestically and “lowering the temperature,” of the political climate, according to CUNY public policy experts.

Promising a night of expert commentary from CUNY undergraduate and graduate political science professors, Director Harold Holder of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute set the stage for comprehensive analysis of the Biden administration’s first 100 days and the administration’s plans moving forward.

COVID relief bills and the universal appeal of the Biden administration’s legislative agenda will have the most tangible impact on CUNY students, said professor Leslie McCall of the Graduate Center at CUNY

McCall emphasized the scope and scale of Biden’s legislative proposals during her speaking time. According to McCall, Policies such as extending the child tax credit represent a concerted effort by the administration to get cash in the hands of individuals for immediate support.

“Putting more money into institutions in a number of different ways should shore up public and community institutions like CUNY,” said McCall, expressing confidence in the administration’s ability to impact CUNY students.

McCall spent her 10-15 minute speaking-time on the domestic policy initiatives the Biden administration passed and announced during the first 100 days like the American Rescue Plan and the administration’s proposed American Jobs Plan.

A president’s first 100 days are a relatively arbitrary marker of a president’s accomplishments according to Panelist David Jones, who said Biden’s focus during that period was on appealing to a moderate voter base.

Jones, also of CUNY’s graduate center and an author of two books on American electoral politics, spent his time discussing the outward-facing tactics of the administration. He described Biden’s communication as disciplined and strategic, saying the departure from the inflammatory rhetoric of Biden’s predecessor should help advance his legislative agenda.

City College professor specializing in foreign relations, Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner acknowledged that three months is not a substantive amount of time to grade an administration’s decision making in that area.

“My biggest disappointment in the elections was that there was so little discussed on foreign policy,” said Braveboy-Wagner claiming an administration’s foreign and domestic policy being on the same page is vital to the country’s success.

Both Braveboy-Wagner and fellow panelist Peter Beinart, a CUNY professor and New York Times contributor, spent their time deep-diving into foreign policy which seemed to appeal to the audience of mainly CUNY public policy and political science graduate and undergraduate students.

“We’re in an era of domestic and progressive activism… but with the exception of climate, we’re not in such an era on foreign policy,” said Beinart, describing Biden’s approach to foreign policy so far as “hawkish.”

Addressing President Biden’s toned-down rhetoric in his Wednesday night speech, moderator Charles Tien said, “he’s made politics boring again–to the relief of many, I think.”

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