Friday, March 04, 2022

Lest Anyone Be Blamed

The annual State of the Union address is a spectacle, and an overrated one at that. Lauren Boebert took care of the first; Joe Biden, the second.

The President asked for passage of several initiatives, including the Bipartisan Innovation Act; PRO Act; Freedom to Vote Act; John Lewis Voting Rights Act; Disclose Act; Equality Act. Additionally, he called for authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and lowering the cost of insulin for diabetics; cutting the cost of child care; greater funding for police;  pre-kindergarten for 3- and 4- year old children; 15% minimum tax rate on corporations; a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; protecting access to child care; increased mental health care; comprehensive health care for veterans; cutting cancer death rates.

It was a fairly impressive laundry list with little reason for a viewer to sign on to any particular program. Certainly, there was no effort to attribute responsibility to any particular legislator or political party for the failure to achieve these aims. 

The President mentioned "Republican" all of three times. Two of them:

Tonight, we meet as Democrats Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans. (We're all the same, all on the same team- insurrectionists included).

Since she’s been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support—from the Fraternal Order of Police to former judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans. (Even the cops like her!)

 The President's agenda has been flagging due to opposition from the GOP and, in a few instances, one or two Democratic senators. So the most telling note of bipartisanship was "I ask Democrats and Republicans alike: Pass my budget and keep our neighborhoods safe." The message from this Democratic president was clear. No party is to be held responsible for the lack of progress on his aims and goals. And if his budget is passed, neighborhoods made safe, and peace and harmony with justice and equality is achieved, no one political party will be responsible. 

Many voters who aren't usually captivated by politics tune in to the State of the Union address. And the message that was sent to them was that no one can be held accountable for what has not yet been accomplished, nor should one individual or party can be applauded if legislation is passed and progress made.

President Biden's approval rating shot up following the Address. Though more likely a bounce than a bump, the Administration probably is delighted.  Nonetheless, if effective legislation is not enacted, the GOP will surely convince the public that responsibility lies solely with the guys and gals- Democrats- in charge. However, if Congress does enact legislation favored by the President, voters will credit Republicans and Democrats evenly.  Heads, Republicans and Democrats win. Tails, Democrats lose.

It might end up helping Joe Biden in November of 2024. But his rhetorical approach undermines prospects for his Party this November, a chance he seems very willing to take.


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