Saturday, May 1, 2021

Teflon Joe

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
We all know about the presidential honeymoon period. Depending on who you talk to, it lasts from anywhere between the first 100 days (an artificial framework of the mainstream media, as day 100 in a new presidency is just another day at the office to those who work in it) to the first six months. It's the period in which new presidents waft that new president smell all over the Beltway as long as the ambergris of political capital lasts, that rarest, most valuable and highly perishable kind of political capital: That of hope and, dare I say it, change.
    Joe Biden positively reeks of it, to the irritation of Republicans who are desperate to get anything, anything, bad to stick to Joe Biden. Long before the usual period when the honeymoon is over and insurance policies and the long knives come out, Biden's presidency was in jeopardy with the "loyal but principled opposition" before it had even begun.
   The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a largely ceremonial group of six lawmakers, three of each party, largely rubber-stamps the needs of the upcoming inaugural, allocating space and coordinating events in partnership with the Office of the President-elect. But this time around, they did something unprecedented in its 120 year-long history: In an even split along party lines, the committee had chosen to deny Joe Biden space for the inauguration, which always takes place before the Capitol Building.
    Obviously, it was just the shape of things to come. Even before Mr. Biden had taken his hand off the family Bible on January 20th, Mitch McConnell had balefully warned that none of the new president's Cabinet picks would get confirmed. Republicans heard the new president's calls for unity and bipartisanship and twisted them into allegations of divisiveness. Then, when Republicans proved they were not willing to work with the nascent administration on anything, especially the latest stimulus bill, they cried foul when Democrats took their ball and ran with it, passing the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill without a single Republican vote in either chamber.
   There were only two (albeit huge) problems for the GOP: By the time the Biden-Harris administration took over at noontime January 20th, the Georgia runoff elections had happened. Democrats swept the doubleheader. The Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff got elected, giving Democrats the slimmest of majorities in the upper chamber, with Vice President Harris always waiting in the wings ready to cast a tie-breaking 50-50 vote.
     What happened in Georgia on the evening of January 5th, just hours before the deadly insurrection that had claimed the lives of five people, including a policeman, was something McConnell hadn't dared to entertain and the power shift essentially got McConnell fired as Majority Leader. Georgia voters, especially the African American electorate in Fulton County (Atlanta) understood the stakes that were involved. Then Georgia Republicans engaged in a scorched earth campaign of vengeance that had resulted in the ramming through of the most fascist voting law in American history.

What About the Other Problem?
To paraphrase Al Franken's character, Stuart Smalley, "Gosh darn it, people like him." The same applies to many of his policy agendas.
    An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey taken a few weeks ago showed 56% overall of the people polled supported the president's infrastructure bill, including 90% of Democrats. The same poll also found the president's approval rating to be at 53%, a number never once hit by Trump. It also found that 63% of Americans approved of higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for the two trillion dollar infrastructure bill.
     Getting tax-dodging fat cats to foot the entire bill for all that infrastructure that would create millions of jobs? Who outside of the 1% could possibly criticize that? Well, Republicans, obviously, who are now backed into a corner, unsure whether they should defend corporations from this slightly higher tax (the Biden administration is talking only a 25% corporate tax, a modest 4% increase on the current 21% set during the last regime) or continue attacking those same corporations for being "woke."
    In addition, late last March, a survey of 1291 voters fully supported gun control measures endorsed by the Biden administration. Quote:
The poll finds both of these policies are widely popular. When asked if they would support “a bill that would require a background check for all gun purchases,” 65 percent of respondents said yes, with just 27 percent opposed — including 48 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.

     Two thirds is a pretty significant majority. Some would say that's a commanding mandate. Biden's appeal, elusive to most Republicans, is the ability to be populist and popular across party lines. Populism ought never be mistaken for mere popularity (Just look at the last administration for what I mean). The president's getting high marks almost across the board from the vigorous, efficacious response to the pandemic (especially the vaccine rollout) to the recent round of stimulus checks last March to the infrastructure bill that was only rolled out in the last administration on special occasions (such as when Trump was about to get impeached or impeached again). So, what are right wingers harping on. instead?

     Yeah, how dare he pull us out of despair when more despair is what we need after 2020?

(Editor's note: If you can spare a few bucks for the proprietor of this blog, pleese do so, as money is tight at Casa de Pottersville. Just use the handy Paypal link at the end of this and every post )


At May 2, 2021 at 4:45 AM, Anonymous CC said...

Repubs in Congress accuse Biden of abandoning bipartisanship, but significant percentages of their constituents do support many of his plans.


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