Inside every pudding is proof….
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"I've been here for cliffs and crises and wars, and this is going to be the biggest mashup we've ever had since I've been here — with the debt limit, with a government shutdown, with reconciliation and with infrastructure. And I have no idea how it all works out.”
-- Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to NBC News
[The] path is exceedingly murky as Democrats careen toward a tangle of fiscal and political deadlines with no discernible public strategy in place, but party leaders remained publicly sanguine on Wednesday.
Democratic leaders are counting on the president to galvanize consensus between progressives and centrists in their party…. At one point, Biden told the lawmakers there were plenty of conference rooms at the White House they could use to hunker down this weekend as some suggested they roll up their sleeves and stay to get final details done.
Emily Cochrane @ESCochraneALSO! asked how Biden approached the meeting. Per Murphy, he "allowed the senators and the representatives to express their perspectives." She adds, "I think that is a good first step as we try to move forward to create a targeted, fiscally responsible plan...." https://t.co/PtBSyRfXPE
Could it be that during an unprecedented global pandemic, that the public health crisis is not in the top five of President Biden’s most immediate politically existential crises?
Could the urgency of the Big Four (debt limit, government shutdown, reconciliation, infrastructure) and the chaos on the Mexican border actually represent greater challenges to Mr. Biden than COVID, both substantively and politically?
The news space is filled today with stories about the debt ceiling/shutdown standoff between the two parties, and with stories about the recon/infra standoff within the Democratic Party.
Also with stories about the challenge of the Haitians on the border, with this most essential reading step-back New York Times story documenting the divisions within the Biden administration over what to do, and the harsh the-current-policy-is-pleasing-no-one reality.
Also don’t dismiss the possibility that the has-Joe-Biden-ever-visited-the-border question raised at Wednesday’s White House briefing will jump (Swift Boat-style) from the conservative media to the Dominant Media.
All of this is occurring while there hasn’t been a genuinely positive public poll for Team Biden in quite some time.
There are many other administration voices speaking out on the Big Four + 1 these days – Vice President Harris, Secretary Yellen, Secretary Mayorkas, etc.
But there’s only one president.
I’ve always been from the sky-isn’t-necessarily-falling school of journalism. Let’s all keep the chicken heads veclroed to the chicken bodies as long as we can.
But this stuff is supremely serious and if the president is somewhere, somehow being secretly less passive than his known actions suggest – well, the White House is doing a great job of keeping that a secret.
If a president and his team go around talking in existential, urgent terms about the catastrophe of fiscal default, of a government shutdown, of the failure to pass infrastructure or $3.5 trillion in other spending, of the horrors of the immigration policy status quo, then one would think the president himself would be front and center communicating with the American people about how these things should be solved, as well as meeting with leaders of both parties to get the job done.
For whatever reason that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Drawing smartly on history, Rich Lowry makes a dispassionate case that the entire reconciliation package could go down in flames.
If there’s a government shutdown, if the infrastructure bill doesn’t pass, if the debt ceiling isn’t raised in time, if the border crisis grows, if the massive Biden-Harris legislative agenda implodes – if any or all of those happen, Bob Woodward, Bob Costa, and others will look back and ask:
Could Joe Biden have handled this period differently?
Deferring to the congressional leadership, kicking the can down the road, keeping a limited public schedule, doing the same thing over and over and (apparently) expecting a different result – all are either part of a brilliant plan or the reasons that Barack Obama didn’t think Joe Biden should run for president.
For all the latest news all the time, check out our 24/7 website the Walking Duck.