Here’s what Pres. Joe Biden’s press secretary said yesterday about his troubles getting his legislation through Congress: “You do hard things in White Houses, You have every challenge laid at your feet, whether it’s global or domestically. And we could certainly propose legislation to see if people support bunny rabbits and ice cream, but that wouldn’t be very rewarding to the American people.”
Jen Psaki needs to issue an apology to rabbits and ice cream manufacturers. And as for the American people, I’m going to go out a limb here and speculate that they love both very much. So, let’s give them more.
As we’ve said more than once here at YSDA and as an Associated Press analysis concluded today, Biden over-reached. He got elected to just be normal, calm the waters and manage effectively. He did not, as a moderate Democrat has said, get elected to be FDR.
Instead, with tiny margins in the House and Senate and knowing from the start that everything came down to a couple of moderate senators, Biden set off on remaking the nation. Build Back Better has been mentioned in the same breath as FDR’s New Deal or LBJ’s Great Society. But those two presidents had enormous Democratic majorities to work with. They could legitimately claim mandates. Biden had nothing like that.
What happened, I suppose, is that Biden decided he needed to placate the activist left in his own party — and I believe it’s also fair to say that he truly believes in his legislation, as do I. Maybe they convinced themselves somehow that they could get Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema to come around. Maybe it was hubris. Biden had such faith in his own negotiating skills that he was sure he could pull this off.
What’s also probably true is that the very lack of significant majorities helped drive the agenda. Given the average losses in mid-term elections for the party in power, the Dems may have just figured they’d get all that they could while they had the chance, knowing they had almost no prospect of keeping their majorities beyond a single session of Congress.
Whatever the calculations (and I agreed with some of them myself) they’ve proven to be wrong. And now, continuing to tilt at windmills just emphasizes the failures.
It’s time to do what Bill Clinton did after he got his back end handed to him in the 1994 mid-terms. Trim the sails. Play small ball. Just focus on a few things that the bulk of voters really cares about and strongly supports. Stop reminding everyone about your failures and start talking up your successes.
Now, of course, the two main things voters care about Biden has little control over. Despite some slowness on testing, he’s done all he can to end the pandemic. The fact that it continues is 100% the fault of the unvaccinated. Republicans — now aided by the conservative Supreme Court — fight Biden’s efforts to get people vaccinated and then blame him for the ongoing crisis.
Inflation too is mostly beyond Biden’s control. It’s the result of supply chain issues and pent up consumer demand. But on this score it’s actually probably a good thing that BBB appears dead. The last thing Biden needs right now is more stimulus to the economy.
With luck both the pandemic and inflation will ease substantially by mid-year. Meanwhile, National Ice Cream Day is Sunday (appropriately enough) July 17th. Let’s go all out. C’mon, you Democrats. We’re not licked yet.
Welcome to the 330th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!