Forget for a moment the dubious constitutionality of Joe Biden’s decision to mandate that all medium- and large-size businesses oversee a COVID vaccination mandate or administer a weekly testing regime for those who opt out—an authority the president, his White House, and its executive agencies have repeatedly said they did not possess. Let’s put aside the debate over the unknowable impacts this policy would have on vaccination rates. Let’s even assume for a minute that we don’t have to worry about exceptions for religious objectors, people with disabilities that preclude vaccination, or the abundant wrongful-termination suits that are sure to follow this mandate. Let’s focus on what Joe Biden admitted was the goal of this extraordinary federal intervention into the conduct of the public sector: to “protect the vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.”

With this utterly bizarre flourish—one the Biden White House took such pride in it chose to highlight it on the president’s Twitter account—Joe Biden has given away the game. If this policy increases vaccination rates on the margins, that’s a fringe benefit. The White House’s chief objective is to mollify his own supporters—hyper-anxious, fully-vaccinated Americans who have been getting mixed messages from this administration for weeks over the efficacy of vaccines in preventing serious COVID infections resulting in hospitalization or death. Joe Biden has just deepened their confusion and heightened their undue sense of existential dread.

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