The breathless wait for the 46th President’s first press conference is over. How did he do it? USA TODAY editorial board members David Mastio, a libertarian conservative, and Jill Lawrence, a left-wing liberal, have some opinions on this.
Jill: It wasn’t that difficult there.
When is the best time to have yours first press conference? Probably never, but in a forest full of burning trees, from immigration and guns to elections, China, Afghanistan, North Korea, the filibuster and his 2024 plans, President Joe Biden managed not to go up in flames himself.
His triumph over COVID-19, while possibly justified to me, was less effective than statements like “I was hired to solve problems” and “I’m a pretty practical guy” and “I want to get things done”. In other words, I try to look boring and boring and at some point you will find that I knocked your socks off.
I think we have now heard the overarching philosophy of the Biden Presidency. And it gives him a lot of flexibility in terms of the means by which he will achieve his goals.
That includes filibusters getting painful in the Senate (“talk and talk and talk and talk until you break down,” in his words) or even exempting some subjects like overriding the “sick” and “un-American” and “despicable” Efforts of the state. Republican level to restrict voting. If the talk-and-collapse route doesn’t work, “if there is total lockdown and chaos as a result of the filibuster, we have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”
I know the filibuster is a feast for the eyes for most Americans. But as Biden himself said, our preoccupation with it is perfectly legitimate. It’s kind of an infrastructure in its utter inability to create excitement. However, we will not get any further without infrastructure. We’re not getting anywhere with the filibuster. They are both worth our time and attention.
David: For Republicans looking for a smack of laughter that falls to the floor from a confused and overwhelmed 78-year-old president, this press conference has been a disaster. There was nothing to hold on to. I wonder why the White House has waited so long for Biden to come out alone to speak to the press.
However, the message that Biden delivered was a disaster for the Democrats. Biden drove a winning lap over his efforts to fight the well-deserved coronavirus, but then he touched on a number of topics that Democrats want to hear more about. Immigration reform, gun control, climate change and voting rights will not be Biden’s next big topic, but he will focus on his “next big initiative, “Rebuilding our physical and technological infrastructure.
I have to say this for a man who knows politics and leadership so well as Senator and Vice President for five decades, and now president,He is completely out of touch with what his own party is striving for and what Americans want. Nobody is desperately hoping for the return of Trump’s infamous Infrastructure Week, which was written bigger than he promised soon to be announced at an event.
We’re not done with COVID-19 yet. Passing laws and sending checks is nice, but we are now in the difficult implementation part of the COVID policy. The country is at the tipping point, close to herd immunity but ready to return to normal life out the door. Getting there is still a challenge that can go wrong.
Jill: You’re right about COVID, but I understand the desire to open the press conference by reminding people that “Hey, I’m the guy who sent you this check for $ 1,400”. Especially since, unlike some presidents, he did not insist on putting his name on the checks.
But as a center-left person who is in lockstep with a number of progressive priorities these days, I have to say that I was not disappointed. Biden insisted on his determination to get his party’s ballots off and on whether he really intended to fund the infrastructure through Tax hike for rich people and businessesWell, I call it a small step towards less income inequality and more financial responsibility.
It struck me as brilliant, intentional or not, for Biden to stop in the middle of answering an immigration question and say, “I don’t know how much detail you want about immigration.” Message: He’s paying attention and knows the intricacies. The same when he started an answer by labeling something an “important point to understand” and then immediately adding, “I know you understand, I don’t mean to put it that way, an important point to focus on . ” He spoke to Yamiche Alcindor, the black PBS reporter who got it so much grief from Donald Trump. I took his reformulation as a spontaneous realization that he sounded patronizing and didn’t want to.
I’m happy to say I was wrong when I was warned in 2019 that the talkative, unpredictable Biden wouldn’t be the boring, comforting candidate or president of the Democrats’ dreams. He seems to be on a honeymoon period. This press conference, a powerful display of the lessons learned in politics and government, is not going to end it.
David: It was an impressive display of something. Biden’s decades in office have given him time to practice an act of flip-flop disappearance. Step 1, do what sounds like one bold promise – On December 8th, Biden announced that “my team will work to ensure that most of our schools can open by the end of my first 100 days.” Step 2: If it looks like you can’t keep that promise, pretend you didn’t make it. On February 9th, says his spokesman, schools should “be open at least one day a week. ”
Step 3: If it turns out that schools are managing to open up on their own before the Biden administration can take any serious action, pretend you didn’t flip-flop and say like you did at Thursday’s press conference : “I also set myself a goal before I took office Majority of schools in K are fully open until eight in the first 100 days. (A) A survey shows that almost half of K-to-8 schools are now open all day five days a week. “
The guy still has the political skills of a much younger man. But that account doesn’t change the fact that he has given the Democratic Party a precious little leadership in the House and Senate.
Nancy Pelosi’s forces are swiftly providing the Senate with legislation on issues such as voting rights and immigration. But the Senate is sustained by the fact that a threat from Republican filibusters could frustrate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s efforts to get these bills into effect. Democrats are furious, and more and more of them are ready to get rid of the filibuster that only allows 40 senators to block laws.
What does Joe Biden offer them when he gives them the opportunity to put pressure on Republicans to pull out? Milquetoast supports reforms of the filibuster and holds on to its position as senator in favor of the filibuster. His progressive followers will be furious.
It’s another reason this press conference is seen as a success in showcasing Biden, who has all his skills but failed to advance the Democrats’ agenda.