First things first, the “HOLY SHIT BIDEN FELL” hysteria from yesterday was over-the-top dumb.
It was a reminder of the ridiculous flap about Hillary Clinton in 2016, when she stumbled and was woozy during a humid day at the end of 9/11 ceremonies. The right-wing spread lots of misinformation that summer that Hillary was dying, and sadly, some in the media fell for it and believed getting light-headed was proof she was on death’s door. Turns out she was not, in fact, on death’s door.
Biden got up from his fall rather quickly and later seemed fine. This is a perfect metaphor for Biden. Just when you think he might falter, he proves that it is not smart to underestimate him.
This is nothing new, Adrastos wrote about this right before Turkey Day last year. That was written right after the Red Wave That Wasn’t. Earlier that year, he signed five major bills. That would be enough for most presidents for an entire term. This included the oddly named Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden revived from the dead, and the CHIPS Act, designed to bring America back to being a global leader in semiconductors.
This year, Biden seemed kind of tired at the National Prayer Breakfast and there were some Sleepy Joe rips on Twitter. Expectations for the State of the Union Address were muted. What did he do? Make one of the best State of the Union addresses of all time, including setting a trap for the GOP on cutting Social Security and Medicare.
So, going into these debt ceiling negotiations, there were plenty of worries about default (as James Carville said on Molly Jong-Fast’s podcast, don’t call it debt ceiling negotiations, call it default negotiations). There were also worries that Biden couldn’t work out a deal with Speaker of the House and Professional Dillweed Kevin McCarthy.
Well, Biden did manage to make a deal, and once again, defy expectations. The deal itself is not nearly as awful as it could have been. The alternate was unthinkable, a default that would likely collapse the global economy. So, overall, this is a definite win.
However, there were some clear losers. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Will Bunch outlines just who they were:
But what’s even more revealing about the compromise is who doesn’t have clout in America.
The “who doesn’t” category includes middle-aged, low-income Americans, a few of whom will surely — and needlessly — go hungry in the world’s richest nation because of an arbitrary work-requirement rule for people in the 50-54 age category now receiving food stamps. It includes citizens of Appalachia who are seeing the $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline and its fossil fuels rammed down their throats to win one vote: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a coal millionaire. And it includes millions of American student debtors who were sold false promises about the value of their overpriced college education, and are owed an apology, not a monthly bill.
That Mountain Valley Pipeline inclusion was a real weasel move by Fossil Fuel Lobbyist Joe Manchin, given Nice Guy Suburban Dad Tim Kaine’s surprise that it was included. But this is all the doing of the Republicans.
None of this is about the deficit, because with Republicans, it is never about the deficit.
New: CBO says Republicans’ $21 billion IRS cut will result in $40 billion in lost revenue, increasing the deficit by $19 billion, per Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
— Arthur Delaney 🇺🇸 (@ArthurDelaneyHP) June 1, 2023
And of course, the wealthy and the military were not asked to make any sacrifices whatsoever. Funny how that works. No impatient sighs and eye rolls and “hOw ARe yOU GoInG tO PaY fOR ThAT” lectures for them. The people who can least afford to sacrifice receive neverending demands to sacrifice. Of course, this has been the case for quite a long time and is a deep sickness in the American psyche that will take some time to cure.
In addition, we also need to move fast on climate change. We are at the point where incrementalism is insufficient and a real problem, perhaps as much as the deniers. Both the science and events on the ground are not on the denier’s, nor the incrementalist’s, side.
We should figure out a way to eliminate the hostage-taking by nefarious actors who will purposely run the world economy into the ground if they do not get what they want, which are draconian cuts that cause a great deal of suffering. “But that’s not how it has been done” is not sufficient for these times. That is like lecturing people that they should not run in an office building’s hallway during an active shooter situation because running in the hallways is not something we do.
Biden has had a very good first term, one that deserves much more than low-40s approval, one that many did not think he would have. He has also kept Democrats together. If you note progressive elected officials, they express disappointment in some parts of the deal but stress that the alternative of default was much worse and blame Republicans. Dems in Disarray will have to wait for another time, I guess.
But another feather in his legacy cap would be removing the debt ceiling silliness.
The last word goes to Pulp.