Which brings us to the president’s news conference on Thursday. Mr. Biden said that, for the first time, all federal employees would have to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated (or else wear a mask at work), submit to weekly testing and maintain social distance.
He stopped short of a vaccine mandate, saying such a requirement was a decision for local governments, school districts and companies. He said that if things got worse, and those resisting vaccines were denied entry from jobs and public spaces, maybe then things would get better.
“My guess is, if we don’t start to make more progress, a lot of businesses and a lot of enterprises are going to require proof for you to be able to participate,” Mr. Biden said.
This maneuver — essentially a shifting of responsibility away from the federal government — is consistent with the way that Mr. Biden often tries to project a hopeful tone while airbrushing the reality of a starkly divided nation.
The market for disinformation in America is larger than ever, with Mr. Trump, despite starting the program that has led to the full vaccination of 164 million Americans, leading the charge to discredit the same program during the Biden administration.
But it wasn’t Mr. Trump and Republicans who ran last year on ending the pandemic — it was Mr. Biden and Democrats who successfully made the election a referendum on managing a once-in-a-century global public health crisis.