Joe Biden's Catalogue of Miseries
The Presumption of Grace Adler....
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Nearly every political and substantive domestic problem of the Biden administration is on vivid display in this news cycle.
Two essential reading stories in particular put the sheer direness of the situation in sharp relief.
That would be a CNN.com piece and a Washington Post piece.
Read them both and you will see many (but not all) of the catalogue of complaints Democrats (let alone Republicans….) have about both the competence and ideology of Team Biden, with the grumbles from various quarters of Team Blue both that the president is governing as not liberal enough and as too liberal.
The overall bill of particulars is long, and includes: the president’s habit of yelling at staffers is being imitated by senior aides shouting at more junior ones; the White House is slow to react to crises and Republican attacks (if it reacts at all); Mr. Biden is uninspiring; administration officials are exhausted and it shows.
Note both stories have eye-catching/popping on-the-record quotes from some Democrats brave enough to attach their names publicly to criticisms of a president of their own party.
But know that privately prominent Democrats in DC and around the country say much the same thing (but with more salt and vinegar) to anyone who will listen.
Here, then, are just some of the critiques and realities faced by All the President’s Women and Men:
THE LEFT IS RESTIVE, UNHAPPY, AND FED UP
The lead of that CNN.com story is one for the ages:
Debra Messing was fed up. The former "Will & Grace" star was among dozens of celebrity Democratic supporters and activists who joined a call with White House aides last Monday to discuss the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The mood was fatalistic, according to three people on the call, which was also co-organized by the advocacy group Build Back Better Together.
Messing said she'd gotten Joe Biden elected and wanted to know why she was being asked to do anything at all, yelling that there didn't even seem a point to voting. Others wondered why the call was happening.
That afternoon, participants received a follow-up email with a list of basic talking points and suggestions of Biden speech clips to share on TikTok.
The call, three days after the decision eliminating federal abortion rights, encapsulates the overwhelming sense of frustration among Democrats with Biden. It offers a new window into what many in the President's party describe as a mismanagement permeating the White House.
Top Democrats complain the President isn't acting with -- or perhaps is even capable of -- the urgency the moment demands.
"Rudderless, aimless and hopeless" is how one member of Congress described the White House.
Two dozen leading Democratic politicians and operatives, as well as several within the West Wing, tell CNN they feel this goes deeper than questions of ideology and posture. Instead, they say, it gets to questions of basic management.
LAME DUCKERY IS IN THE AIR, AS DEMOCRATS DOUBT BIDEN IS THE RIGHT PERSON AT THE RIGHT TIME
As the Washington Post chronicles:
In the view of many distraught Democrats, the country is facing a full-blown crisis on a range of fronts, and Biden seems unable or unwilling to respond with appropriate force. Democracy is under direct attack, they say, as Republicans change election rules and the Supreme Court rapidly rewrites American law. Shooting sprees are routine, abortion rights have ended and Democrats could suffer big losses in the next election….
[A]s the Democratic rank-and-file’s thirst for a more combative attitude becomes increasingly evident, other party leaders are beginning to showcase an alternative tone, one that goes far more sharply at Republican attitudes and tactics….
An administration official said that while Democrats have long expressed private alarm at Biden’s perceived missteps, the Supreme Court abortion decision seemed to represent a turning point. Speaking on the condition of anonymity to deliver a candid assessment, the official said it catalyzed three key frustrations — the high stakes; Biden’s inability to do much unilaterally to fight the decision; and concern that the White House would let the moment pass without using it to galvanize fellow Democrats.
INFLATION IS NOT ABATING, WORSE THAN THE NUMBERS SUGGEST, AND LARGELY UNADDRESSED BY TEAM BIDEN
Rich Lowry finds common cause with Jeff Bezos in mocking the weekend presidential tweet blaming gas stations for high prices, while Henry Olsen channels Debbie Dingell with this:
America’s decades-long low inflation adds to the political impact of double-digit price hikes. The official inflation rate hasn’t been this high since December 1981. Only those who are 60 or older have experienced something like this before. For most Americans, it’s the shock of a lifetime. No wonder they are furious. And they are not likely to see any relief before November.
SPEAK SOFTLY, CARRY A SMALL STICK, AND/BUT ACT LIKE THE LABOR-SECRETARY-IN-CHIEF CATERING TO BIG LABOR
So President Biden today is going to what used to be Ground Zero for Democrats in national politics – Cleveland, Ohio – to give a speech on the #1 issue facing American voters, and this is what the Associated Press says he will highlight:
Seeking to boost his standing with frustrated blue-collar voters, President Joe Biden on Wednesday will use the backdrop of a union training center in Cleveland to tell workers his policies will shore up troubled pension funding for millions now on the job or retired.
Hurt politically by inflation at a 40-year high and damages wrought by the pandemic, the president is anchoring his message to workers in the former election bellwether of Ohio. The Buckeye State has been trending strongly Republican with Donald Trump easily carrying it twice, and this is Biden’s fourth visit as president as he labors to personally reverse that electoral tide.
Biden’s speech at the Iron Workers Local 17 Training Center is timed to the announcement of a final administrative rule that is tied to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from last year. The rule allows troubled multi-company pensions to be made financially whole, ensuring full benefits for 2 million to 3 million workers and retirees.
I’m no expert on politics, media, or the news cycle, but THERE IS ZERO CHANCE THIS MESSAGE WILL BREAK THROUGH OUTSIDE OF AFL-CIO HEADQUARTERS.
DITHER, DELAY, DECONSTRUCT, DON’T DECIDE DECISIONS
There are countless policy examples that illustrate this point (student loan debt, immigration policy, etc.) but the practice of dealing with big choices by putting off resolution leads to the Biden Classic: too little, too late, too convoluted.
This Politico story and this Wall Street Journal editorial about the (still!) pending decision on tariffs and China (implicating both an inflation “plan” and an overall posture towards Beijing) are comic-tragic (but mostly comic) illustrations of WTF.
LOSING THE BLUE-RED WAR
For Team Biden, this is a painful, data-driven Wall Street Journal news story:
By many measures, red states—those that lean Republican—have recovered faster economically than Democratic-leaning blue ones, with workers and employers moving from the coasts to the middle of the country and Florida.
Since February 2020, the month before the pandemic began, the share of all U.S. jobs located in red states has grown by more than half a percentage point, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Brookings Institution think tank. Red states have added 341,000 jobs over that time, while blue states were still short 1.3 million jobs as of May.
THE RIGHT TRACK/WRONG TRACK IS WHOA
A new Monmouth poll says 10% of the country feels America is on the right track.
THE DOMINANT MEDIA HAS TURNED NEARLY IN FULL AGAINST MR. BIDEN
For those on Team Biden and on the Hill who say the solution to all of this is to Let Biden be Biden and have the president out on the road more, the obvious rejoinder is – he is going to Ohio today to say exactly what his theory of the case on the economy leads him to say.
And while tomorrow is another day, it is also a day closer to the midterms, a day closer to a decision about whether to run for another term, and day closer to the public criticism from within the Democratic Party growing wider and louder.
The Georgia prosecutor investigating the conduct of former President Donald Trump and his allies after the 2020 election is subpoenaing U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and other members of Trump’s campaign legal team to testify before a special grand jury.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Tuesday filed petitions with the judge overseeing the special grand jury as part of her investigation into what she alleges was “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”
The move marks a major escalation in a case that could pose a serious legal challenge to the former president as he weighs another White House run. While the special grand jury has already heard from top state officials, Tuesday’s filings directly target several of Trump’s closest allies and advisers, including Giuliani, who led his campaign’s legal efforts to overturn the election results.
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