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Port: With his approval polls sagging, Biden changes the subject by declaring war on the unvaccinated

We already have a crisis of trust in this country. Now we're going to dump gas on that fire by forcing needles into the arms of tens of millions of Americans?

President Joe Biden delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 28, 2021. Michael Reynolds / Pool via REUTERS

MINOT, N.D. — President Joe Biden has issued sweeping mandates for vaccination , announcing that his administration will try to force private-sector employers with workforces over 100, as well as federal contractors, to get shots.

He's also mandating shots for health care workers and federal employees.

I say try, because this mandate will be swiftly challenged in court, and the constitutionality of such an order is very much in doubt.

But while I believe President Biden really does want the 80 million or so Americans who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but haven't yet availed themselves of it to get the shot (which is a feeling I share), what is motivating this mandate, I believe, is politics.

Biden's administration is in trouble. Afghanistan is a disaster. His approval numbers , in particular those for his handling of the pandemic , are cratering.



  • Port: Democrats push a methane emissions regulation that isn't actually tied to methane emissions You probably fell asleep just reading that title, but wake yourselves up, because I'm about to blow your minds by describing how stupid this bit of legislative doggerel is.

  • Port: The inconvenient truth is that renewables are making our power grids less reliable A generator company is raking in profits because America's power grids, increasingly beholden to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, can't keep the lights on.

  • Port: It's time to stop pushing masks and focus on vaccines No reasonable person wants Americans to be wearing masks forever. We all want this pandemic to end. Vaccines, not masks, are the long-term solution.

The president needed to wag the dog, and a figurative war on the vaccine skeptical is apparently just the ticket.
Because let's face it, the anti-vax crowd isn't a very sympathetic group of people.

But this is terrible public policy, and not just because I don't believe the president has the power to order this. Whether he can is a separate issue from whether he should.

This is bad policy because it's needlessly provocative.

We were making progress in putting shots in arms. Every day, thousands and thousands of Americans were being persuaded to get the shot. Now Biden has turned this into yet another front in the culture war, to the detriment of the cause of not just this vaccination drive, but the credibility of public health policy in general.

We already have a crisis of trust in this country. Now we're going to dump gas on that fire by forcing needles into the arms of tens of millions of Americans?

Perhaps worse is the way Biden is talking about his mandate makes it seem like the vaccines don't work. "We're going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers," he says.


Vaccinated people don't need to be protected from the unvaccinated.

Vaccinated people have protection. They've been vaccinated.

The people who need to be protected are unvaccinated.

If the point is to convince people that the vaccines work and that getting one is a good medical choice, this is not the way to do it.

But it is, I suppose, a good way for Biden to change the subject from Afghanistan and other topics that are inconvenient for his administration.

Please, choose to get vaccinated. Or, at the very least, talk to your doctor about them. Not because President Biden is trying to force them on people, but because the data shows they work, and they're the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and get our society back to normal.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a columnist and podcast host for the Forum News Service. Reach him at
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