Why isn’t Biden politicizing vaccine mandates and abortion policy?
This is genuinely puzzling to me.
This is from Biden’s statement about the Supreme Court’s decision on Texas Law SB8:
One reason I became the first president in history to create a Gender Policy Council was to be prepared to react to such assaults on women’s rights. Hence, I am directing that Council and the Office of the White House Counsel to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision, looking specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.
Yesterday the Justice Department filed suit challenging the Texas law.
In his statement Biden skirts by the obvious point: if the public continues to elect Republicans, abortion will soon be illegal even in cases of rape or incest in much of the country. It doesn’t matter how many lawsuits Democrats file. Furthermore, although promising bold legal action to protect abortion rights may calm panicked activists and base voters, it is unlikely to work and threatens to make the Democrats look incompetent if it fails. Why not keep the focus on elections?
The same question arises with vaccination policy. Biden tiptoed pretty gently around the role of Republicans and Fox News in fomenting vaccine hesitancy. It was there, but oblique – I don’t think he used the word “Republican” once. Republicans, for their part, have been hammering away at his vaccine mandate proposal in uncompromising terms: see here, here, here, here.
So, what gives? Perhaps Biden is reluctant to offend Congressional Republicans while the legislative sausage making machine is working on his infrastructure and budget packages. Maybe he believes that keeping up a pretense of bipartisanship is important to voters. Or maybe Republicans are making an error by politicizing abortion and vaccine mandates. (It is certainly possible that they will miss Roe when it’s gone, since it protected them from having to actually implement the unpopular ideas supported by many of their base voters.) Perhaps Biden is playing it smart by refusing to politicize issues that he is on the right side of. But winning public opinion polls is not the same as winning elections. At some point people need to tie these issues to parties, no? Democratic voters need a reason to come to the polls next year. Republicans are making sure their voters get the message.
Joe Biden is exactly what I had expected him to be. He is not Bernie Sanders nor is he Liz Warren, but Biden is Ordinary Joe. My wife voted for Biden as did I and she voted for Obama in 2008 as did I, but she also voted for Romney in 2012, which I did not. We both agreed to skip voting in 2016 as it was a given that Hillary would carry VA and we did not have to take a shower after voting for her. There is not enough water to shower off voting for Trump.
Confrontational politics is great fun from the safety of the blogosphere, but not everyone votes absentee by mail yet. Here in Sandston, VA, split between Tea Party Trumpsters and working class black BLM supporters with only a sprinkling of middle class white liberals and absolutely no pseudo-intellectual elites, then our most sincere wish when we go to the voting places is that there will not be a mass shooting event or a civil war redux. Any ordinary Joe from Delaware would get that just as much as any middle class white liberal from central VA.
Being “President for all Americans” is a thing. Republican politicians are fair game. Republicans in general are not.
Sorry he isn’t doing what you would do in his place, but it’s not hard to think of good political reasons for standing above a part of the fray while engaging in another part.
Those mushy swing voters seem to dislike partisanship. That’s why presidents have minions.
Some of the more ardent liberals here at AB do not believe in the existence of swing voters, just variations in turnout as accorded by enthusiasm regarding candidates and key issues. I must believe in swing voters since I married one.
Were your ears burning? I know three more, my three closest surviving friends. It must be me and the circles that I associate with, since it could not possibly be you and the circles that you associate with.
my sense has always been that politicizing vaccines is what got us into the fix were in; Democrats who hate Trump didn’t run out and get hydroxychloroquine when Trump pushed it as a cure; why would anyone expect Trump voters who hate Biden to run out and get vaccinated on Biden’s advice?
Whether you think he’s politicizing it or not, the public (or at least some significant part of it) sees it that way. The comments from high school acquaintances on Facebook are yammering full-throated condemnations of communism, socialism, fascism, and every other kind of -ism.
That is why I never attended any of my (class of ’67) high school reunions. BTW, what is Facebook? Just kidding – they cancelled my account due to lack of use because I only ever set it up to communicate with another online entity (Owen Paine) and then found that his daughter had set it up for him and he never used it either.