Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Better If Only Campaign Rhetoric

On a positive note, Joe Biden may be invoking this only as a campaign theme to assure voters that he cares about Americans, unlike his opponent. Conceivably, though, he really believes that, as he said in Ohio on October 12

We need to revive the spirit of bipartisanship in this country. I know that sounds bizarre in light of where we are... There will be no blue states or red states with me- it's one America... I'll work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me.

In a recent Yahoo/YouGov poll approximately half of Republicans- before being asked about QAnon agreed that "top Democrats" are involved in sex-trafficking rings and that the President is "working to dismantle sex trafficking rings."

But it's not only rank-and-file Republicans who believe in dangerous, far-right conspiracies. New York magazine reports "There will be 24 QAnon candidates on the federal ballot in November — 22 of them Republicans and two independents." Some of them will win.

In October of 2016 then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy boasted "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought."

Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama in March 2016 election but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, banking on the possibility of a Republican winning the presidential race eight months hence, would not consider the nomination. Amy Coney Barrett was selected by President Trump two months before a presidential election, and McConnell is seeing to it that she breezes through to approval, with few or no GOP defections.

And now Joe Biden himself is being targeted, dragging his son through the muck and mire with an unsubstantiated charge because, well, that's how Republicans win elections. A secret bank account held by the President in the third most powerful nation on earth? Not a problem, if the President is a Republican.

Biden should know better.  As Michael Grunwald explained in a 2012 book about the period following the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, Joe

Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said, `Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was: `For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says.

The vice president says he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.

As of December of 2017, 51% of Republicans believed Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Rumor has it that the nomination (and election) of one GOP presidential candidate was fueled by charges that Obama was born abroad and might be a Muslim.

With all that, we've learned in recent days that Biden has drawn up a list of Republicans whom he's considering appointing to cabinet positions.

It's possible that Joe Biden realizes that with or without Republicans in top positions in his Administration, and with or without appeals to bipartisanship before or after the election, his presidency will be marred- nay, characterized- by attacks from Republicans and a commitment from the GOP  to bring his presidency down. (That is the real "on Day One," we often hear of.) 

Hopefully, he does and the appeals to a bipartisanship without principle is merely a campaign strategy. But if he does not realize that, he is astonishingly naive and prospects for a successful presidency are minimal at best.

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