Red, Right, and/or Blue
Who actually knows what’s happening – and what happens next?
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It’s been an extraordinary fortnight in American politics and government, especially for those who are paid to analyze what’s going on and those whose real lives are impacted by decisions made in Washington, D.C. and around the world.
Two international summits; an Election Day with a decisive winner (but whose meaning and implications are not universally accepted); the passage of the most significant infrastructure legislation in several generations; a semi détente among House Democrats on a path forward on reconciliation; the debate over the Youngkin-Trump template; countless economic and pandemic developments; a national soul searching over “Let’s go, Brandon!”; and so much more.
For Republicans, the lessons and implications are clear: The Democrats remain in a long civil war; Rs will win the House and (with some lucky breaks on the outcome of primaries) the Senate; Joe Biden is a hapless bystander; maybe Donald Trump will play the midterms in a way that is actually good for his adopted party; and Democrats are screwed if they pass Build Back Better (and/but also if they don’t).
For Democrats, the lessons and implications are clear: Although the Dominant Media has turned on them a bit (over Afghanistan, Virginia, and the president’s poll numbers), there is still time to regain home field advantage and sell the heck out of the infrastructure bill; it won’t be pretty, but they will find a way to pass and market the Biden agenda and accomplishments (including on the economy and the pandemic) long before November of 2022; Trump will find a way to not help himself and his adopted party; and the long arc of history is bending away from Republicans on most every issue, so some patience is required.
Here, in just the final seven paragraphs of an essential reading Washington Post story, is a perfect distillation of what smart (and/but, perhaps, overly optimistic) Democrats think needs to happen next to turn the Biden presidency around:
Celinda Lake, a pollster for Biden, said Democrats should take two cautionary tales from the American Rescue Plan: Few voters know that Republicans voted against it, and voters only temporarily gave credit to Democrats for passing it.
“It’s a sobering reminder of how hard it is to break through, how hard it is to get credit and how little people really understand who is voting for and against these things,” she said.
White House officials say circumstances are different now. For instance, the infrastructure plan will take much more time to implement, in contrast to the American Rescue Plan, for which the administration worked to get relief out to Americans as quickly as possible.
That longer timeline, officials said, will allow the administration to continue to sell pieces of the plan for many months and even years later. White House officials also said Biden and Cabinet officials faced a set of historic crises upon taking office, and they had less time to aggressively travel and sell the rescue plan when it passed in March.
Now, with the country making significant progress in battling back the pandemic and its impact on the economy, the administration will have more resources and time to devote to pitching the package, they contend.
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), a close Biden ally, said in an interview Saturday that Democrats did not do a good enough job promoting their previous accomplishments, including the sweeping pandemic relief bill, and cannot afford to fall short again.
“We did not do a sufficient job of explaining to people exactly what we’d done to rescue families, rescue businesses,” Clyburn said. He added a sharp warning: “We cannot make that mistake with this.”
And here, in a short excerpt of an essential reading New York Times Q&A with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, New York Representative Sean Patrick, is why Republicans think Democrats still haven’t solved their having been taken captive by the woke wing of the party – and still haven’t accepted the limits of what President Biden can do:
The president needs to get himself out there all around the country and do events in local media markets to punch through these key messages. I think the White House should do 25 presidential events in the next couple months just on infrastructure. And we should do 1,000 congressional events alongside those presidential events.
My message is “free Joe Biden.” That campaign needs to start now before the next crisis takes over the news cycle.
James Carville, the longtime political strategist, blamed what he called Democrats’ “stupid wokeness” for the losses last week. In deep-blue Minneapolis, voters defeated a measure to replace the Police Department with a public safety department in a year of rising crime, and in deep-blue Seattle, a Republican won the city attorney race against a Democrat who called herself a police abolitionist. Does Carville have a point?
It sounds like he’s buying into the false choice between fighting for racial justice and public safety. We can do both. Or he’s buying into a false choice between guaranteeing equal rights for all our citizens or success at the polls.
What bothers me about James Carville’s remarks is that he’s glib about the fight for racial equality or full equality for all our citizens. I understand what James is trying to say, but I think it’s just a false equation. But he did win some elections back in the ’90s.
Here, in their Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bobby Jindal and Alex Castellanos speak for all Republicans in the Gang of 500 (and many residents of rural Virginia and blue-collar New Jersey), in explaining why they are overflowing with excited anticipation about 2022:
The Democratic Party will surely be more divided during the 2022 campaign than it has been this year. It will be more radical and more at war with its radicalism. It will be more divided generationally. The left threatens to launch primary campaigns against Democratic moderates who are insufficiently progressive. This will do more damage to the party than any contest with a Republican could do. An intraparty war between the base and the mainstream will have no happy ending. Even though Democrats see it coming, they can’t stop the light at the end of the tunnel from becoming a train….
The Democratic Party has lost its way. It has stopped trying to lead the country into the future and instead reduced itself to investigating adversaries, silencing critics, punishing successful people and blaming Donald Trump for their own failures. Democrats seem more interested in battling parents at school board meetings than in fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.
Two more pieces of stuff for you today.
First, the essential reading Washington Post story about Mitch McConnell (focusing on his relationship, such as it is now, with Donald Trump) includes time-capsule interviews with both men, and this photo:
Finally, if you think you completely understand Mike Pence, you need to watch his response at a town hall to a question about 1/6. I believe at least some WWoN readers might just think anew after viewing:
For all the latest news all the time, check out the 24/7 website the Walking Duck.