Joe Biden Saves Christmas!
Christmas was Saturday, and you probably noticed it arrived as scheduled. Rudolph overlooked a lifetime of psychological abuse and guided Santa’s sleigh through a blinding storm. The Grinch had a change of heart and returned everything he stole after an evening of efficient burglary. Most importantly, President Joe Biden didn’t fail us. The supply chains held. Mothers across the nation received their mediocre gifts.
Republicans had insisted for months that Biden would ruin Christmas. Gifts wouldn’t arrive on time because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was off being a gay parent, and children would cry buckets. It’d be the worst Christmas ever. This was an actual GOP strategy:
“Many are saying the current supply chain crisis is ‘unparalleled in American history.’ How did we get here? ... Bad luck? Nope. Bad politicians,” says the [Republican Study Committee] memo obtained by The Hill.
"The Biden administration caused it. And our job as Republicans is to explain to the American people what the grinches at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave did to ruin Christmas.”
The Republican National Committee also blamed Biden for a Christmas tree shortage that has been years in the making. (Climate change, which Republicans ignore, has also played its part.)
Senator Joni Ernst tweeted on December 9, "Americans will have to fork over a lot more cash for their Christmas tree this year — if they can find one. Inflation from President Biden and the Democrats’ reckless spending isn’t helping to make the season bright."
However, the Biden administration rose to the challenge. Donald Trump might imply he created the COVID-19 vaccine with his bare hands while wearing a lab coat, but Biden’s White House did actively work to improve supply chain issues in advance of the holidays. This included round-the-clock port operations and new transit rules. Biden announced last week that “the much-predicted crisis didn't occur. Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered, shelves are not empty."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that Christmas was saved.
"As the New York Times said today, Christmas gifts are arriving on time this year," Psaki said following Biden's meeting with business leaders to address supply chain disruptions. "Good news. We've saved Christmas, and that is because President Biden recognized this challenge early.”
This pissed off Republicans who had a good Christmas-killing narrative going. A Fox News article snidely noted that “despite being saved, Christmas will be more expensive this year for those buying gifts, which may arrive late.”
Christmas is almost always more expensive each year. iPhones just keep getting fancier. Higher prices also didn’t deter holiday shopping. According to the AP, holiday sales "rose at the fastest pace in 17 years."
Holiday sales were up 10.7% compared with the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday period.
By category, clothing rose 47%, jewelry 32%, electronics 16%. Online sales were up 11% from a year ago and 61% from 2019. Department stores registered a 21% increase over 2020.
We’re not economic experts, but people buying more gifts at a slightly greater cost doesn’t sound like a Steinbeck novel. Sure, because of Omicron, people were more likely to avoid the gross mall and shop online. The National Retail Federation said early that holiday sales would increase 10.5 percent compared to 2020, which if you can believe it was just last year. Holiday sales were already up 8.2 percent last year when depressed shoppers stocked up on pajamas and sweat pants for all occasions.
Retailers reportedly had to increase pay to find and retain workers, but that didn’t cause businesses to fold. It all seemed to have gone well this year. Major retailers such as Target and Walmart promised stocked shelves for the holidays, but Americans were also willing to seek alternatives if their top gift choices were out of stock. It was a Christmas miracle.
Republicans of course aren’t willing to give Biden credit for saving Christmas like a common Ernest P. Worrell. We don’t expect them to play fair or ever admit when they’re wrong. However, the media outlets that played up the supply chain crisis over the past few months, helping driving down Biden’s approval ratings, shouldn’t dismiss the Hallmark movie happy ending. Let the president have his much-deserved victory lap.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."