President Biden as Dynamo (!)

Image courtesy of hsb wikimedia.org.

He’s the guy with falling poll numbers. Pundits have laid Virginia’s gubernatorial loss at his feet and have depicted his Presidency as a growing disaster. The right wing claims he’s senile and bumbling (unlike their purported hero, who sounds increasingly unhinged with every public appearance).

But the person I saw on the news this morning was an ebullient leader who faced the press in a winning lap after the bipartisan passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. He was cogent, calm, and humorous as he described the contents of this bill that will become law as soon as he signs it.

If you have a half-hour and the patience, you can see for yourselves. I hope you’ll watch through to the questions because his final few answers show the empathy for what Americans have been going through and an understanding of our nation that I find heartening.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?515926-1/president-biden-remarks-passage-bipartisan-infrastructure/bill#

It’s worth examining President Biden’s accomplishments at this juncture—achieved largely only with the help of the Democrats and, just now, with a handful of Republicans.

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a former conservative Republican, wrote this on November 4, before the passage of the infrastructure bill. (Sorry, my hyperlinks aren’t working.)

“President Biden is on the verge of accomplishing more in his first year than any president in recent memory despite unremitting obstruction from an unhinged opposition.”

“To review, the economy on Biden’s watch has created nearly 5 million new jobs, reducing unemployment to 4.8 percent. Despite the right wing’s effort to spread deadly disinformation about vaccinations, 80 percent of American adults — including 98 percent of those older than 65 — have had a least one coronavirus vaccination. Among those age 12 and older, 78 percent have had at least one shot.

“On the legislative front, few would have predicted that Biden, despite having only 50 Democratic votes in the Senate, would have passed in his first year a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (including a major increase in the child tax credit that reduced child poverty in half).

“Even more impressive, he is poised to pass both a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan [done!] and a $1.75 trillion package including investments in green energy, universal prekindergarten, a generous child-care subsidy, improved senior care, expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies, an extension of refundable child tax credits, a significant housing investment, hearing benefits for Medicare and possibly even a prescription drug cost reduction for patients on Medicare.

“Transformational” is an overused descriptor. But no president since FDR can claim as dramatic a reorientation of government from his immediate predecessor.

“Meanwhile, the media, having pronounced Biden no better than his predecessor on foreign policy and responsible for a loss of faith in American leadership (after ending a 20-year war), are now at pains to explain allies’ enthusiastic embrace of Biden at the Group of 20 and COP26 summits. He leaves with historic commitments to curtail deforestation and methane emissions.”

Rubin gives several reasons for Biden’s falling poll numbers (which I expect will rise due to this important legislative achievement)—most of them beyond his control. But one of them, a failure in messaging to clearly define his vision, I think is valid—not only for the President, but for Democrats generally.

The President was strong on that front today. He described the infrastructure bill and all the blue collar jobs it will create rebuilding bridges, railroads, and roads, the broadband that will reach many Americans for the first time, the charging stations for electric cars throughout the country, the replaced water pipes that will finally give clean drinking water to so many whose health has been jeopardized, and more.

And he talked about the Build Back Better bill, which he believes will pass, providing much-needed support to America’s “human infrastructure.” Investments in our people have fallen so dramatically that we are now ranked 35th among developed economies in early childhood education.

Biden sees these legislative moves as essential not only to help Americans individually, but also to make us more competitive in an increasingly competitive world where we’ve been losing ground for years as the wealthiest among us have accrued greater wealth and the majority of Americans have lost ground.

Saying he’s sick of “trickle down,” the Republicans’ long-espoused view that giving tax breaks to the wealthiest will help everyone else, he declared, “I’m trickled out.” His way is to help the middle class that built this country by rebuilding “from the bottom up and the middle out.”

When he was asked when he thought the Build Back Better Bill would pass, he joked that he knows exactly but doesn’t want to make the media’s job easier. Then he said he was told when he came to office that they couldn’t get the economy moving again, there was no way to get all those shots in arms, “no way, no way. We got to work.”

“I’m a congenital optimist. I have enormous faith in the ingenuity and integrity of the people of the US because we’re the only country based around an idea: all men and women are created equal. Give everyone a fair shot.

“I know we’re divided, I know how mean it can get. I know there are extremes on both sides that will make it harder than it’s been in a long, long time. But I’m convinced if we let the American people know that we’re committed to enhancing their ability to make their way, we’ll all do better.”

If you have the time, I do hope you’ll watch him right through the Q and A.

And let me know what you think.

Annie

42 thoughts on “President Biden as Dynamo (!)

  1. Thanks, as always, Annie! I think passage of the Infrastructure Bill is a really big deal, and is owed, in a big way, to the work that President Biden put into supporting it. It gives me much more hope that the Build Back Better Bill will also become law, and that will all help get the USA headed in the right direction again. Also, that Joe Biden’s poll numbers will increase, hopefully heading off a return of Trump.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s for sure, Neil.

      It wouldn’t be so scary if they were just rigid old time conservatives. These people are knowingly undermining our democracy. We can’t let them retake the House and Senate in 2022.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good for you, Annie, putting it all in perspective (as usual, I might add). He might be a congenital optimist, as he says, but that’s what it takes and more of us could use that attitude! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise. I agree: temperament is critical, and optimism is essential.

      It was great to see him so happy and confident after the pounding he’s been taking from all sides. And the process of pulling this together, with the intense personal diplomacy, had to have been exhausting. But he didn’t look tired.

      Joe Biden has strengths that should not be underestimated.

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  3. Annie, I thought his words yesterday were well done. And, he was ebullient. I did call the thirteen Republican representatives who voted for the infrastructure, thanking them for putting our country ahead of party. As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter, this bill is more than three months over due, it is ten years over due. And, contrary to what is being portrayed by some Republicans, this was a bipartisan bill that also passed 69 to 30 in the Senate, including a vote in favor by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

    Not to belabor the point, but the US Chamber of Commerce and union leadership for ten years have been pleading for Congress to act. The only substantive change made was to reload funding for the Highway Trust Fund. How many bills get support of the unions and business leaders?

    So, this is good news for America and Americans. We can now fix and improve things that are outdated and in disrepair and build better infrastructure to serve our needs going forward. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Keith. I enjoyed Biden’s opening remarks: “It’s Infrastructure Week! How I love to say that!”
      It was an obvious swipe at his predecessor’s continuing promise to deliver on infrastructure—and his woeful failure to do so. Republicans, for all their talk, never got it done while they were in control. But the President’s comment also reflected justifiable pride in an accomplishment that, as you point out, everyone has long agreed is overdue.
      One may ask, then, why so few Republicans voted for it—first in the Senate, and now in the House? I think the answer is that they’re not serious about governing (and too many fear the wrath of their angry base if they’re seen to compromise).
      It’s great that you contacted all 13 Republicans with your encouragement. And thank you for linking to this post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Annie, what I find interesting, if the former president had moved on infrastructure first, he would have had bipartisan support. Instead, his first task was to take health care away from Americans, which fortunately was done so haphazardly and without much planning or protocol, it was defeated. When I see Republicans say they supported his policies, as an independent, I really do not see much to support as his only legislative accomplishment was to give more money to rich people and corporations. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this accent-the-positive post about Biden (great photo). I was pleasantly surprised that some Republicans voted in favor of the infrastructure bill, and disappointed that some Democrats voted no because the bill was not sufficiently progressive. AOC and others need to understand that if Biden accomplishes little, we may be cursed with four more years of DJT or the election of one of his sycophants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Gail. Thanks for your comment.
      Yes, infrastructure had been touted as the one area that could garner Republican support. And so it did, with small numbers in the Senate and House.
      But apparently, voting rights—the cornerstone of our democracy—doesn’t warrant any Republican support. I sure hope the next Democratic effort is a filibuster carveout and passage of voter protection legislation—pronto!
      As for the six Democrats who didn’t vote for the infrastructure bill, I
      think that’s ok. On Twitter, Peter Baker of The New York Times (whose unfailingly critical coverage of all things Democrat has been bugging me—and many others) wrote that if it hadn’t been for the Republicans, the infrastructure bill would have been defeated. I responded with an alternate interpretation: Nancy Pelosi knew she could count on enough Republican votes to allow a few Democrats to vote as they chose. That’s long been an acceptable trade off in legislating (though harder now that there’s so little bipartisanship).
      There’s no one better than Pelosi at all this. I’m confident she’s won a place in the history books as one of the smartest and best speakers ever.

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  5. Hi Annie, Yep, I have watched Biden for decades and know he is a skilled operator; he picked a strong team and in my book he is doing a fine job. The media are just driven by soundbites and want instant action; which is wholly unrealistic. As you say, let’s see how the media plays this. Of course the usual suspects probably won’t even report the infrastructure bill. But they will find it hard to ignore the new jobs. As I said to someone else the other day, Biden needs to deliver to the forgotten parts of the USA. And that’s a real playbook. His opponents who simply “play the man”, and have no policies or plans other than gerrymandering will get found out. Hopefully in time for the midterms. Best wishes, David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, David. And it seems that’s just what he’s trying to do.
      I think it’s absolutely essential that we get all this straight before 2022; these Republicans are a clear threat to our democracy.
      Interesting fact: Glenn Youngkin, the incoming governor of Virginia, has a 17-year-old son who tried to vote twice, though under age. Virginians didn’t buy his father as a trumper because he’s a smooth character—despite his clever race-baiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Quite so, Keith. The former guy had neither policies nor principles. Apart from tax cuts for the wealthy, he simply undid protections for health care, the environment, worker safety, and on and on—and secured a Supreme Court majority that continues in that direction.

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    1. Annie, so true. Plus, he ran off people who knew their subject matter, like climate change, as reported in Michael Lewis’ excellent book “The Fifth Risk.” We may never learn the extent of the damage he did. Although we did see first hand how he mishandled a crisis in the pandemic. Keith

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I came as a visitor at the suggestion of Keith and after reading this post decided to stay as a your uninvited guest. Admittedly, I am not a blogger merely an interested follower. I did watch the video even though I had watched as it aired yesterday…it is well worth another view. I must forewarn you that I am of a quotatious nature having honestly inherited this quality from both my Father’s and maternal Gram’s gene pools. Therefore, I share with you something that President Joe Biden said earlier this year that is the roadmap for maintaining our Democracy. “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it. We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of history; it’s the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future.” Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ellen! I’m delighted to welcome you and your quotatious nature, and please come back as often as you like.
      The Biden quotation about democracy is excellent; his discussion yesterday of the “idea” was one of many times I’ve heard him speak about the unique value of our democratic framework . He often talks of the link between that idea and our status as a world leader, asserting that this framework gives us an advantage over autocratic societies. Obviously, he is also speaking in view of the anti-democratic forces that are gaining ground here.
      I am hoping he will focus very soon on legislation to protect voting rights, which is the most important issue facing us now and critical to maintaining—and expanding—our democracy.
      Cheers,
      Annie

      Like

  8. So glad to finally find someone praising Biden these days. I have a feeling history will be kinder to him than Republicans liars, quarrelsome Dems, and snarky journalists.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Greetings. I followed a link on Keith’s blog post and found another kindred spirit. Now I want to watch President Biden! I’m going to have to do it another time as it’s bed time now. Anyhow, nice to meet you! I just followed your blog too and look forward to reading more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. First off, what a pleasure it is to have a NORMAL press conference!! One with a competent, intelligent, experienced, compassionate president! No more yelling, bullying, insulting and LYING! This guy knows his stuff and it shows with what he’s accomplished already. Loved the answer to “where does your confidence come from?” when asking about when the BBB will pass. And he simply said “me”. With a smile. Every time I hear him speak I feel an utter sense of calm, like everything’s going to be alright. He is a dynamo! And I’m SO thankful he’s our president! I’ve always like Joe 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Joe Biden called anxious parents and critics of CRT domestic terrorists. I’ve watched him snoozing at the recent COP conference, leave the room when an unscripted question was asked of him and heard him refer to the Australian Prime Minister as ‘the feller down under’ because he couldn’t remember his name. There’s no hiding him away in the basement. People are noticing.

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  11. Alas the thuglican partisan hacks judges are starting to dismember the recently America Rescue Plan act and showed their hand on what they plan to do with the recent so called BiPartisan Infrastructure plan
    To avoid accusations of “micro manageing” the funds from this bill they became analguos to Block Grants to states.
    The Biden administration added a clause that specifically disallowed states to use these funds to lower state taxes.
    Today a a federal court permantley enjoined that restriction so instead of the funds going to targeted populations who suffered from the economic fall out of Covid they can, and will, use the funds to lower corporate tax rates, fund police, pay for state government and generally anyway they want that avoids any responsibility for useing funds as intended. (Iowa Gov used funds to give pay raises to her personal staff)
    Who thinks this will be any different then what will happen with the funds from the BIF start rolling out?
    ( https://www.djournal.com/amicus-victory-ncla-applauds-federal-court-ruling-invalidating-tax-cut-ban-in-thirteen-states/article_04434b25-7ddf-528d-9656-ac907ba80b2b.html)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is an ongoing problem that makes efforts to enhance equity so much more difficult. The tension between “states rights” and the promises of our democracy have always been there, but seem to have accelerated of late.
      Thanks for this link. I hope we’ll hear more discussions about this issue. And I think you’re right to be concerned about the infrastructure funds as well. It will be interesting to see how Mitch Landrieu, whom Biden has charged with making sure the BIF funds are used as intended, handles his efforts.

      Like

    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree—as long as those numbers—which in part reflect the right’s demonizing Biden and his agenda—don’t interfere with his passing the human infrastructure bill. Then they MUST turn to voting rights.

      Liked by 1 person

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