Thursday, January 20, 2022

A Tough Row To Hoe

Yesterday, Joe Biden held a very long press conference. For the most part, Jennifer Rubin was impressed. She writes:

President Biden, while marking the end of his first year in office on Wednesday, met a press corps anxious to paint him as a failure. While conceding that his voting rights bill and Build Back Better package have both stalled, Biden stuck to one core theme: The economy and the effort to crush the pandemic are improving because of his administration.

Many of the questions from reporters verged on self-parody. Fox News’s Peter Doocy comically asked why Biden is pulling the country so far to the left. (Disclosure: I’m an MSNBC contributor.) The right-wing outfit Newsmax asked about his mental fitness for the job. It seemed everything was his fault, from Republicans’ refusal to support virtually any proposal to the fight between airlines and telecom companies over 5G.

Faced with his stalled infrastructure bill and his failure to end the filibuster on his voting rights legislation, Biden said he was going to shift strategy:

While he argued that his BBB plan would have helped to address rising prices, such as for child care and prescription drugs, he recognized for the first time that the bill may need to broken into “big chunks.” While he initially denied that he was going to “scale back” his ambitions, this suggested he was doing just that. He speculated that investments in clean energy and universal pre-K might get through, but that an expanded child tax credit and free community college would not.

And he asked the key question: What are Republicans for? The simple answer is that they are for nothing, Instead, he bluntly assessed his opposition:

He also humorously needled the Senate minority leader. “I actually like Mitch McConnell … but he has one straightforward objective: Make sure there’s nothing that makes me look good … with the public at large.” Again, he asked: “What’s Mitch for?”

He did have some trouble answering questions on Russia. Vladimir Putin understands weakness, and he chooses targets that are weak. This would be the time for him to move in on Ukraine. We'll see how that turns out.

But, for the most part, Rubin believes Biden put in a strong performance. No doubt about it, though. He has a tough row to hoe.

Image: English Idioms And Slang Dictionary


zoombats said...

I think that Biden will finally start to break up his plan into smaller points that will be directly aimed at supporting Americans in need. By forcing the republicans to show where they stand in that support he will move forward on the more obvious points that must be addressed. Child welfare/daycare, prescription drug cost, child tax credits and the working wage demands. i recall Bernie Sanders making this point awhile back and stating that the idea was already being touted to the president in a way of showing the republican voters how far these infidels are prepared to drag them down.

Anonymous said...

What's Mitch for? That's easy. He's for more for the rich and less for everyone else. He's for forced birth and spreading Covid. He's for breaking all the rules and norms that constrain minority white nationalist rule. In other words, he's for everything the GOP stands for.


Owen Gray said...

If Biden wants to succeed, he's got to show Americans that the Republicans are devoted to serving the interests of the wealthy and the selfish, zoombats. One can only hope that a large majority of Americans will see that.

Owen Gray said...

What Mitch is for is simple, Cap. He's for Me, not Us.

zoombats said...

Here's the Bernie Sanders suggestion Owen. It does offer a bit of hope.

Owen Gray said...

It sounds like that's exactly what will happen, zoombats. Thanks for the link.

Bill Malcolm said...

Seeing as how NATO reneged on its promise to not expand to the East after the USSR dissolved, because if you were/are the US and write your own International Rules Based Order instead of hewing to established international law, you do as you damn well please and that varies by administration, I must say I feel the US is just baiting Russia.over Ukraine. Well, attempting to. The US policy changes with each administration -- there's no long term strategy, and dumb rurals like Repub senators are about as sophisticated as a pickup truck, so screw around with international treaties at will. The US is not a trustworthy partner, and the "Allies" know that but can't do a damn thing by way of applying meaningful pressure. The US has the West by the gonads.

So instead of believing every one-sided line of BS fairy tales the US publishes on Russia-bashing, I prefer to read independent observers like Patrick Armstrong. Before I discovered him, I merely read the multiple Wikipedia entries on Ukraine. Besides being right wing nutters (leaving out the ethnic Russian population) the place split into two tribes twenty years ago. They stole Russian gas passing by pipeline through their territory on the way to Europe and never paid. They poisoned one President so they turned orange and had rash marks all over the body. The place is corrupt, and why we support them is beyond me. They are unworthy.

Armstrong, who was a former Canadian diplomat in Moscow, says Putin has no desire whatsoever to invade and take over Ukraine. He'd have to police the nutballs and keep civil order, and who in hell needs that expense? Ukraine has no resources to plunder by way of recompense.

A few years ago when Trump tromped, I was unpopular here for suggesting the Dems were the War Party, and sure enough, they're at it again just like before under Obama and "Screw the EU" Nuland. Putin is smart enough to station troops on his own territory just outside Ukraine just to piss the Yankees off, and make 'em run around like headless chickens, squawking. Serves 'em right for ringing Russia with US military bases, a military that couldn't subdue Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. No doubt he goes to bed laughing his head off every night.

Sanctions mean nothing any more. The past sanctions have caused a reaction by way of spurring self-sufficiency to new highs. Putin can turn off the natural gas pipeline through Ukraine to Europe at any time; the US procures between 8 and 11% of its diesel fuel direct from Russia; Russia has amassed $700 billion in actual gold bullion as reserves; it is the world's largest grain exporter; Russia and China are coming up with their own electronic payments system to combat SWIFT. So who gives a damn what the US wants, or perhaps more correctly, what the US plutocracy wants? Ukraine has no natural resources to plunder, a population of wackdoodles mostly off their rockers. Yup, it's payback time for the US breaking past promises. We know all about how the US operates with us here in Canada even when there's a NAFTA, softwood lumber anyone? Russia's saying, if you don't live up to your promises, we'll make your life hell like you've made ours. China's on board with them too.

So all the US has left is to claim the Russkies are going to invade Ukraine and so they rattle their none-too amazing sabres in support of their own put-up job. Last thing on Russia's mind is invasion, unless the Ukers threaten ethnic Russians in the Donbass, then stand back. Nah, let the West try to keep the Ukrainians from acting like nitwits and wasting money on the place, that's Putin's strategy.

If you want to blindly believe the complete guff we get fed by the US and its Allies, be my guest. Or try this:

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Bill. There was a lot of American triumphalism after the U.S.S.R. disappeared. That is certainly part of the problem.