President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House during the first official press conference of his presidency on March 25.
Oliver Contreras / Pool / Shutterstock
President Biden finally held a formal press conference on Thursday, and responses pulled the curtain back on how he and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain plan to govern. The biggest, if not surprising, news is that they are in sync with the Democrats on Capitol Hill in advancing an agenda that loved Bernie Sanders.
A snack is that Mr. Biden has nothing on
entitled to credit for the rising sun in the east. The president boasted of getting 100 million Covid vaccinations after 58 days instead of his announced goal of 100 days. Anyone who paid attention knew that manufacturing and sales were on track to achieve this goal, even when Mr. Trump was President. On Thursday, Mr. Biden set a new goal of 200 million cans per 100 days in what was supposed to be a layup.
Mr. Biden loaned himself and his $ 1.9 trillion for growing economic optimism. However, the estimate of 6% GDP growth for 2021 he advertised was already the consensus weeks ago when vaccinations spread and government lockdowns eased. A booming recovery and rapid employment growth accelerated if Democrats did nothing. The Spending Act’s welfare incentives to stay home and not work may tend to slow down job recovery.
The president was most dishonest when addressing the Senate legislative filibuster. When asked if the 60-vote threshold is a legacy of racist Jim Crow, Mr Biden said yes. But then what did Senator Biden do in 2006 when he joined a filibuster trial (which failed) against Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito?
On Wednesday, Public Service Senator Ben Sasse, the Republican from Nebraska, read Mr. Biden’s entire 2005 speech defending the Senate filibuster.
“If there is one thing that this country stands for fair play – not to tilt the playing field in favor of one side or the other, not to change the rules unilaterally. We stick to the rules and win or lose by the rules ”, Sasse quoted Vintage Joe from 2005.“ This typical American characteristic is abandoned in the “nuclear option”. Both Republican and Democratic senators have benefited from minority protection. More importantly, American citizens have benefited from the Senate’s control over the excesses of the majority. ”
But on Thursday, Mr Biden told the Democratic Party’s new line that the filibuster is being “gigantically abused,” referring to statistics from last year. Readers may recall that in 2020 Democrats were in the minority and used the filibuster to block GOP proposals, including Senator Tim Scott’s bipartisan police reform. Were Democrats racists back then and was Mr Biden in 2005?
Mr. Flipen’s flip-flop tells us that the Democrats in Congress are preparing to break the filibuster rule by 60 votes, and he will ride, as he has done on everything since Jan 20th. He was less of a President than Prime Minister of the Pelosi-Schumer government.
The Democrats are waiting to politically lay the foundations for the anti-filibuster, and Mr Biden has done his part in denouncing modest reforms of the GOP state elections as “sick”. Make sure the Democrats use the highly partisan HR1 to break the filibuster in the name of “democracy”. This 800-page piece of legislation would repeal 50 state election laws and reduce the verification and integrity of postal votes.
Mr. Biden was slightly encouraging when competing with China. His declaration of the global conflict between democracies and autocracy is one way to shape this competition, although the US must work with some anti-democratic governments (Saudis, Vietnam) to counter Iran and China.
The president’s mistake, and it could be a big one, was that he couldn’t imagine US troops staying in Afghanistan until 2022. That was a Trump-like game for his political base, but he had done it a minute earlier, and rightly it was said that Mr Trump’s May 1 resignation deadline was not realistic.
The Taliban will take this as confirmation that they can wait and see the Americans and NATO and begin the siege of the government of Kabul next year. The White House may have to go back on that unless Mr Biden wants to bet on a bloodbath on his watch.
The withdrawal message shows that Mr. Biden wants to keep the focus on his domestic agenda. The White House is leaking that he now believes he can “transform” America, but he has to break the filibuster to do so. On Thursday he almost told us what was coming.
Potomac Watch: Democrats want to “fix” the Chamber by ending the filibuster. But that would eventually break it. Images: AFP / Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly
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Published in the print edition of March 26, 2021.