Ezra Klein on Biden leading from behind
I’m ambivalent about this Ezra Klein piece:
Trump’s efforts to stay in the news, however, are matched by Biden’s efforts to stay out of it. Biden gives startlingly few interviews and news conferences. He doesn’t go for attention-grabbing stunts or high-engagement tweets. I am not always certain if this is strategy or necessity: It’s not obvious to me that the Biden team trusts him to turn one-on-one conversations and news conferences to his advantage. But perhaps the difference is academic: A good strategy is sometimes born of an unwanted reality.
Biden simply doesn’t take up much room in the political discourse. He is a far less central, compelling, and controversial figure than Trump or Obama or Bush were before him. He’s gotten a surprising amount done in recent months, but then he fades back into the background. Again, that’s a choice: Biden could easily command more attention by simply trying to command more attention. When he picks a fight, as he did in his speech on Trump, the MAGA movement and democracy in Philadelphia last month, the battle joins. He just doesn’t do it very often.
. . .
What was never clear to me was what Biden and the Democrats would do when Trump wasn’t on the ballot — when Biden had to drive Democratic enthusiasm on his own. But Biden is running a surprisingly similar strategy in 2022 to the one he ran in 2020, with some evidence of success. He doesn’t try to command the country’s attention day after day. And that’s left space for Trump and the Supreme Court and a slew of sketchy Republican candidates to make themselves the story and remind Democrats of what’s at stake in 2022.
On the one hand, I think this is a pretty accurate depiction of how the race is shaking out (or at least was until recently). The economic environment improved, the Dobbs decision has been highly motivating for Democrats and some cross-pressured voters, Trump has continued to engage in his often less-than-perfectly-strategic political gambits. And there is sometimes a case for keeping a low profile in our polarized politics. Attacking Trump for his support of Putin might reduce support for Ukraine among Republicans rather than discredit Trump.
But I still think the Democrats would benefit from a President who could calmly but relentlessly draw attention to the outrageous positions of the Republican party. Why can’t Biden tweet regularly about the horrors being done to women under Dobbs? He could do this in a very bipartisan, centrist way – the Republican position is very unpopular. Why can’t he talk about the threat Republicans pose to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare? The importance of political rhetoric is hard to gauge and easy to exaggerate. But on the other hand, it’s one of the things we have under our control, at least for now. No president is perfect, but the fact that Biden can’t be trusted to stay on script in front of a microphone is a genuine liability.
Jon Meacham on ‘Morning Joe’ today was talking about Abe Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.
Paraphrasing, Abe Lincoln was a president whose credo seemed to be ‘As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a slave master.’ Thomas Jefferson, OTOH, was all about ‘I would not be a slave, but I would indeed be a slave master.’ That’s something to think about as far as US attitudes go, even today.
The US is at a ‘greater risk’ of civil conflict now than during the Great Depression
NPR interview – Jon Meacham – Oct 18
Anyway, could it be that Joe Biden is preparing to not run for re-election?
The GOP is going all out to see that they have unsurmountable advantages in the 2024 presidential election. At a last ditch, to put the electoral decision in the House of Representatives where a GOP presidential choice will be a certainty. Be ready?
Dem popular vote victories are highly over-rated.
Thomas Jefferson operated a nail manufacturing operation out of his VA estate that operated from 1794 until the early 1820s. All nail making was done by slaves; he made quite a bit of money supplying millions of nails to the region.
Sometimes actions do not speak louder than words. Biden should be drawing parallels between what occurred in 2008 when Wall Street blew up the economy by CDS, Naked CDS, alias derivative(s) market gambling with pennies on the dollar and Main Street picked up the tab. It is a world of difference between then and now.
Very little financial help was offered up for America and people struggled well beyond the two years for the economy and employment to recover today. The numbers of people employed are back even though we are shy tenths of a percent in Participation Rate (which will rebound also).
Yea, we have inflation. Yea income has not kept up with it. Yea business is gaming the economy in energy, housing, and food. Still those gains in 2008 did occur to much later. Two years in 2020-2022. And gasoline was far more expensive in 2008 when inflation is considered.
It would help if Biden would talk this up. When he says nothing or little, he is leaving it to citizens to decide when such gains and differences can not be easily discerned. And Republicans fill the gap with their lies to confuse them. We desperately need a spokes-person who can boast about this reality and draw the comparisons such as what Mayor Mario Cuomo did with Reagan’s Shining City speech.
Republican policy versus Democrats. We should be doing the comps and jawboning the supply chain caused inflation. And where would we be without Democrats actions.
Joe Biden had presidential ambitions long before Barack Obama came on the scene. He was persuaded to join up with Obama to give him some gravitas, putting aside his own wishes. But he was also able to demonstrate his ability to serve in the top job. Then Hillary Clinton got in his way. At last, he got his chance, although he was dealt a horrible hand in having to deal with the aftermath of Donald Trump, who refuses to go away, presided over a pharmaceutical victory over covid, which refuses to go away, and turmoil set on the world by Trump pal Vlad Putin. I for one would not hold it against him if he were to retire after one term. Let the next generation have a turn. He’s earned a rest. Just let it not be Trump again.
A comeback by BoJo is viewed as a very real possibility in the UK
NY Times – Oct 21
… “Only a nation which was gripped by pessimistic despair and no longer believed that there could be a serious response to its unfolding tragedies would want to take refuge in the leadership of a clown,” Rory Stewart … wrote on Friday on Twitter. …
Inside the GOP Clown Car
Rolling Stone – August 2015
The thing is, when you actually think about it, it’s not funny. Given what’s at stake, it’s more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we’re all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we’ll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end. …