A Controversial Take On Biden

President Biden speaking on abortion rights last Friday.

Before I begin with the “meat” of this post, I am going to do something that I do sometimes. I often anticipate the pushback a person is going to give me on something I say. I have found it is a great thing to do at work, especially, and when discussing/debating a subject online. So, here goes, for the people who will knee-jerk respond to this post with accusations I am not going to vote…

I am going to vote Democrat, like I have done in every election since 1985 when I turned 18, and also I am going to volunteer for my state Dem candidates this year, so yelling “YOU BETTER VOTE HURR HURR HURR!!!!!1!!!” is a waste of time with me as a comeback. So save it for your sick burn on Elie Mystal on Twitter, who is also going to vote Democrat, by the way.

Now that I got that out of the way, President Joe Biden is not having a good time of it right now. It is hard to ignore his falling approval ratings, which are solidly in the upper 30s now as per polling averages and dropping.

There are two ways Democrats are viewing this. One is the aforementioned SHUT UP AND VOTE HURR HURR HURR, which is as about a sane and reasoned approach as any technique to win people over that includes screaming at people that they are stupid. Some of this is 2016 PTSD, that Bernie Sanders cost Hillary Clinton the election, a specious claim driven mainly by dislike for Sanders and his supporters and falls apart in any sort of deep analysis.

The other is Biden is a total incompetent who is botching his response to a key moment in our history either out of clinging to an old way of thinking or being under the sway of nefarious money people. Based on his constant references to his “Republican friends” there might be more to this.

But my take here is going to be controversial in that I think it is more complicated than that. For starters, the YOU BETTER VOTE HURR HURR HURR people seem to be laboring under the delusion that the Democratic Biden critics are nothing more than the same-old same-old leftie hippies who want crazy things, like healthcare on par with the rest of America’s peer nations. So, yelling at them will shut them down.

That smacks of consultant hand-wringing about offending the middle or whatever, but I’d argue that this is a larger slice of the electorate here, so the Golden Rule of American Political Thinking – if it doesn’t affect me, I not only don’t care but actively hold contempt for the people being hurt – is going to be less effective.

Also, if those folks are thinking “yeah, well, those are mostly young people and young people never vote anyway so who cares,” Democrats always do well when the youth vote is higher. And as I’ve stressed before, 18-29 aged voters broke records in 2018 for midterms and in 2020 for presidential elections. So while that take has always been not great, it is especially not true right now, and ignoring youth voters risks throwing away this momentum.

(I’ll use my anticipating comebacks skill here by pointing out to those getting mad at the previous paragraph that the numbers don’t support you and your anger doesn’t have magical powers to shift reality.)

However, even when Biden makes some good moves (which he really has during his presidency!), he is struggling against a hostile overall media environment that will focus on the negative. As someone who strongly believes Biden should not be immune from criticism, I will also say that this needs to be considered as well.

Just see the last several days. I think a big lesson to be learned here for the Biden White House since Friday is in the fact that he had a pretty good speech Friday on Roe that included some initial actions, Mayo Pete owned the cons on Fox regarding the right to protest Creeper Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and his communications director borked all that with her “to hell with the activists” quote in a recent Washington Post piece.

Then, Biden tells people yesterday to keep on protesting during his bike ride Sunday and the right pitches a fit. Good stuff that should encourage worried members of the base, right? Yet you hear very little of that on many mainstream media outlets, so many people aren’t aware he said it.

Biden is president during what is clearly a difficult time. Democracy is under attack from within, we have a major war in Europe, economic issues such as inflation (which seems to be improving), gun violence, a pandemic that is not over, and the list goes on and on. He has to juggle a lot of chain saws. It would help if everyone was on the same page, so you don’t have outgoing communications directors attacking activists, who are the people most involved in our democracy and are key to your party.

Biden is not finished and destroyed as a president. While Jimmy Carter was a one-term president, Clinton and Obama’s first terms were not great (look it up) and they still got re-elected. Personally, I haven’t given up on the man. If we can manage to pull off taking back the Senate and holding the House, which I don’t think is impossible (especially taking back the Senate) I hold out hope that Biden can right the ship prior to 2024. At the same time, it would go a long way to cut back on the “old-time politics my opponents are my friends” type rhetoric, especially when at the same time members of your own administration are attacking some of your own base. It would help to make a big announcement outlining a plan, and tie it into the midterms: “If we keep the House and take back the Senate, this is what we will do for America…”

So, I disagree with the SHUT UP AND VOTE HURR HURR crowd, and the “Biden’s finished, he’s a total disaster” crowd. I believe it’s more complicated than that and it gives me a bit of hope we wriggle out of this mess. That’s probably controversial, and I anticipate some blowback.

The last word goes to this British band of some repute who you may have heard of.

2 thoughts on “A Controversial Take On Biden

  1. 2 other positive things: the polling of young people right now show another 2018 midterm surge (some Harvard polling i read last week that did the same study in 2018) and Build Back Better is not yet dead.

  2. Excellent on all points. In exchange for my Of Course I’ll vote Dem (as always) I’m looking at Mixon in LA and the state party and thinking, if Chambers tops Mixon in the primary because Roe y’all suckers better be all in for Chambers in the runoff

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