Sunday, October 15, 2023


I think this is a huge misreading of the national mood:
Joe Biden’s reelection strategy relies on painting Republicans as chaotic, disorganized, and unserious.

And the recent bedlam in the Republican-controlled House is making that job a lot easier....

Biden’s advisers, according to people close to the campaign, see significant political potential in the infighting currently gripping Capitol Hill, even if it has ground the legislative body to a halt....

“Right now, the President is unifying the country and addressing a deadly terrorist attack head on with experience and empathy, while House Republicans show more interest in fighting each other...,” said a Democratic source close to the Biden campaign. “It's an unfortunate reality of the modern day Republican Party, and it absolutely highlights the choice Americans will face next November."
The country does see Republican chaos in the House, and that chaos doesn't reflect well on the GOP, but the country doesn't believe that the Biden administration is exuding competence. Biden's job approval/disapproval numbers are 40.5%/54.8%, according to Real Clear Politics. The direction-of-the-country numbers are 22.6% right track/67.1% wrong track.

Because there hasn't been a default or government shutdown, the GOP infighting in the House has no discernible impact on Americans' lives, at least so far. By contrast, Republicans have been effective in blaming Biden for inflation, crime, homelessness, and even global unrest. This is a right-wing cartoon that reflects an argument regularly made by Donald Trump and his apologists, but Biden needs to consider the possibility that people outside the Trump cult might find it persuasive:

Mainstream coverage of Biden conveys the sense that he thinks his accomplishments and overall competence as a president are self-evident. The public doesn't agree.

This doesn't mean that Biden can't win in 2024. But in order to win, he needs to tell voters that he understands their ongoing anxieties and knows that they don't think it's morning in America. He needs to run the kind of campaign that says, I've told you what my administration has accomplished, but I know we need to do more. We're still working hard to right the ship. Inflation has leveled off, but I know the price increases we've had still sting. I know you're still worried about crime and immigration and fentanyl. I know the world looks like a scary place right now. But I'm on it. I have a plan. The other guy doesn't have a plan except to tell you how great he is.

Infrastructure jobs are good, but they're not a panacea. Ten Medicare drugs that are now subject to price negotations aren't the be-all and end-all, they're just a good start. Biden needs to take the country's concerns seriously -- yes, even if they're being exaggerated by the right-wing media (and, often, the mainstream media). He shouldn't spike the football. The voters he needs to win don't think he's anywhere near the end zone.

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