Biden should do what he can to help Senate Democrats dilute the filibuster. And he should insist on the passage of the voting rights bill the Senate designed to target the voter suppression efforts enacted in Georgia, just a preview of what’s to come in other states. Nine years after first graders were mowed down at Sandy Hook, couldn’t he finally make progress on the nation’s most shameful issue — blind worship of the AR-15?
Bipartisanship — or Bidenpartisanship — ain’t happening now. Washington is not built for unity at the moment. We live in a world where everyone is unappeasable.
As Fintan O’Toole wrote in The New York Review of Books in a piece titled “To Hell With Unity,” it must be dawning on Biden that “the willingness of most congressional Republicans to endorse Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the November election and their unwillingness to convict Trump for his role in the violent putsch of January 6” proves “there can be no illusions of accord, or even of civilized dispute.”
With the Senate and House majorities threatened in next year’s elections, there is a very narrow window to do great things. And with his first two initiatives, the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill and the $3 trillion spending package, beginning with infrastructure, that is laced with climate change and income inequality measures, he seems to be savoring his new image as someone who goes for the big and bold.
One recent evening, Biden met with historians in the East Room for two hours. It was eerily silent in a Covid-era West Wing, those present recalled, with a do-it-yourself table with urns of coffee, and everyone fully masked. The president seemed interested in activist presidencies, ones that took on big problems, like Lincoln, F.D.R. and L.B.J.
Republicans are grasping to find something to throw at Biden. Their only ammo is weak: tabloid trash about his son and the absurd idea that Joe is out of it, a smear that only became more risible after watching Thursday’s news conference. He was calm, despite the monumental nature of his plans. He seemed to know his own mind — a nice contrast with his predecessor, who was out of his mind.
Republicans are out of touch with their own voters, many of whom seem to like free money and the possibility that Biden, unlike Trump, actually wants to go big on infrastructure, rather than frittering away his days hitting the links and tweet-trashing Bette Midler.