•   
  •   
  •   

Opinion Biden’s Unity Plea Is About Strategy, Not Surrender

01:40  22 january  2021
01:40  22 january  2021 Source:   nymag.com

In wake of Capitol riot, active-duty Army officer under investigation

  In wake of Capitol riot, active-duty Army officer under investigation The Army is investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s presence at the Capitol and what she did there, said Maj. Dan Lessard. Sen. Duckworth has called for broader investigations.The Army is investigating Capt. Emily Rainey’s presence at the Capitol and what she did there, said Maj. Dan Lessard, spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It is unclear if she violated any laws, he said.

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden is seeking to wipe away Donald Trump’s fingerprints from U.S. policy, but his predecessor left lasting partisan divisions in Representative Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who voted for Trump’s impeachment last week, faulted Biden ’ s first-day flurry of executive actions.

President Joe Biden said that solving the challenges facing the United States "requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity ." From the same stage that rioters overtook two weeks ago, Biden made a plea for unity and called to "end this uncivil war."

Just about everybody has something to say about the “unity” thematics that dominated Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address. Some hopeful, if naïve, observers credulously think Biden could be on the brink of introducing some sort of new Era of Good Feelings. Progressives fear Biden is betraying a premature willingness to compromise an agenda that united Democrats before it has even been announced. Republicans are using the unity talk as a cudgel in making demands that Biden do exactly what progressives fear on subjects ranging from COVID-19 stimulus to the Trump impeachment trial. One conservative writer professes to be offended by calls for unity, which smell to him of totalitarianism!

A Biden presidency could bring a wave of policy shifts. Here are the ones you likely care about.

  A Biden presidency could bring a wave of policy shifts. Here are the ones you likely care about. What changes will a Biden presidency bring to American politics and policy? Here's a quick look at his priorities once he takes office.President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn in to office on Wednesday, has made clear his top priorities will be to not only reverse some of those implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration, but also to implement aggressive relief toward COVID-19, and several areas of progressive legislation.

The Biden -Sanders Unity Task Force was created in the spring after Sanders suspended his campaign, effectively making Biden the nominee. The unity task force was meant to give the left wing of the party a voice in the document typically written by the winning primary team.

The Biden -Sanders Unity Task Forces are policy development task forces that were created in the wake of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries

a group of people standing in front of a store: Biden didn’t surrender to Republicans in his Inaugural Address. Getty Images © Getty Images Biden didn’t surrender to Republicans in his Inaugural Address. Getty Images

Perhaps Biden’s unity plea seems odd because of the bitterness of the election that lifted him to the White House, a victory he was able to claim for sure only after an attempted coup failed less than two weeks before the inauguration. But let’s remember that most presidents offer similar rhetoric, whether sincere or simply ritualistic. Even Donald Trump made the occasional unity plea early in his presidency, though he kept interrupting himself with attacks on all his enemies.

The previous Republican president, George W. Bush, distinguished himself when running for the office with a “base plus” strategy that didn’t involve much outreach beyond his own ranks. But he also called himself a “uniter, not a divider” and said this in his own first Inaugural Address:

Power Up: Biden’s Inauguration Day is a return to tradition even as Trump breaks it

  Power Up: Biden’s Inauguration Day is a return to tradition even as Trump breaks it The theme is "America United" – a far cry from Trump's "American carnage" speech four years ago. It's Inauguration Day in America and you're reading the Power Up newsletter. Thanks for waking up with us as the Trump era comes to a close.

President Joe Biden heralded the restoration of respectful republican governance, paying tribute to the power of American democracy and warning that its survival Analysis: A weakened Republican Party might find something to grasp in Biden ' s plea to end the partisanship that stalled so much progress.

Biden -sanders unity task force recommendations. Combating the climate crisis and pursuing environmental justice. Like so many crises facing the United States, the impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed in our society or our economy.

[S]ometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent but not a country.

We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.

This wasn’t strictly rhetoric, either. His political wizard, Karl Rove, developed a domestic agenda aimed at expanding the Republican base with targeted appeals to seniors (a Medicare prescription-drug benefit), women with kids (No Child Left Behind), and Latinos (comprehensive immigration reform) before the Bush presidency became defined by its foreign-policy excesses and a poorly managed economy.

Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, of course, became a breakout national celebrity with a unity speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And he carried these themes into his presidency, as I noted in 2009:

What America Needs More Than ‘Unity’

  What America Needs More Than ‘Unity’ President Biden’s pursuit of solidarity is well intentioned. But without concrete plans to hold bad actors accountable, his efforts will be useless.The threats to the future prosperity of the United States are multiple: the pandemic, near economic collapse, insurgent white-supremacist extremism and antidemocratic forces, and myriad systemic racial inequalities. But watching the inauguration, where President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris recited an oath of service to the nation and fidelity to the Constitution, felt reparative. Rituals and traditions have an anchoring effect that counters moments of upheaval.

Biden comes to power after Democrats and the intelligence community sought to derail Trump’ s presidency from Day One, with the full force of the mass and social media behind this effort. Trump’ s presidency was never seen as legitimate by the Democrats and their “deep-state” accomplices, so the

Two aspects of Biden ' s appeal made it uniquely authentic to him: context and consistency. Biden ' s message Wednesday, delivered in his plain-spoken style, tracked with his repeated election-year pledge to view political opponents as friends who disagree.

From his emergence onto the national political scene in 2004 throughout the long 2008 campaign, Obama has consistently linked a quite progressive agenda and voting record to a rhetoric thoroughly marbled with calls for national unity, “common purpose,” and a “different kind of politics,” and scorn for the partisanship, gridlock, and polarization of recent decades. Call it “bipartisanship,” “nonpartisanship,” or “post-partisanship,” this strain of Obama’s thinking is impossible to ignore and has pleased and inspired some listeners while annoying and alarming others.

Neither Bush nor Obama was under any illusion about leaders of the two major parties sitting down to work out the nation’s destiny in comity. Both were hardheaded politicians who wanted to undermine the opposing party’s politicians by appealing over their heads to their own and unaffiliated voters. The idea was to expand their own coalition at the opposition’s expense while placing pressure on the opposition to cooperate in order to maintain their own following. In Obama’s case, I labeled his strategy “grassroots bipartisanship.” It’s obviously something Biden is intimately familiar with.

What Matters: Biden's call for unity is a foreign concept in hyperpartisan DC

  What Matters: Biden's call for unity is a foreign concept in hyperpartisan DC Joe Biden's presidency is still brand-new and already Washington is struggling to deal with his core inaugural demand like it's a foreign concept: unity.Joe Biden's presidency is still brand-new and already Washington is struggling to deal with his core inaugural demand like it's a foreign concept: unity.

But Biden also presumably knows that Obama’s “grassroots bipartisanship” didn’t work. Instead of a segment of the Republican rank and file moving some of its elected officials in Obama’s direction, something like the opposite occurred: GOP pols in Congress decided on a strategy of obstruction, and the Republican grassroots followed them into polarization. Obama’s Gallup job-approval rating among self-identified Republicans declined from 41 percent just after his inauguration to 25 percent in mid-May 2009 and continued slumping to 16 percent by year’s end (eventually hitting single digits in 2010).

So why would what didn’t work for Obama now work for Biden? The ever-insightful Ron Brownstein thinks the new president has a small but potentially important sliver of Republican support he can use to create a more significant “wedge” into the opposition. He writes in The Atlantic:

Recent polls have repeatedly found that about three-fourths or more of GOP voters accept Trump’s disproven charges that Biden stole the 2020 election, a number that has understandably alarmed domestic-terrorism experts. But in the same surveys, between one-fifth and one-fourth of Republican partisans have rejected that perspective. Instead, they’ve expressed unease about their party’s efforts to overturn the results — a campaign that culminated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters.

Amid calls for unity, President Biden and Republicans don't agree what that looks like

  Amid calls for unity, President Biden and Republicans don't agree what that looks like Republicans say Biden's aggressive agenda doesn't reflect his unity talk. Biden says unity is more than just bipartisanship in Congress.It was a repudiation of the flame-throwing politics of President Donald Trump just two weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the counting of Biden's election victory.

Those anxieties about the GOP’s actions, and about Trump’s future role in the party, may create an opening for Biden to dislodge even more Republican-leaning voters, many of whom have drifted away from the party since Trump’s emergence as its leader. If Biden could lastingly attract even a significant fraction of the Republican voters dismayed over the riot, it would constitute a seismic change in the political balance of power.

By linking his unity appeal to a firm rejection of the Capitol riot and the lawless president who incited it, says Brownstein, Biden is seeking to establish “a new dividing line in American politics, between those who uphold the country’s democratic system and those who would subvert it.” Maybe the moment has arrived when just enough Republican pols are sufficiently motivated to break with Trumpism to make bipartisan legislation possible — or maybe if they don’t, they’ll lose enough voters to give Democrats an advantage now and in 2022 (when the normal midterm swing might otherwise be expected to undo the narrow Democratic margins in Congress).

If this gambit fails, of course, Biden and congressional Democrats can always return to partisan hardball tactics with Republicans bearing much of the blame for polarization. The question is how far Biden will take his unity campaign and how much time and opportunity he is willing to sacrifice to pursue it.

But there’s really no reason for progressives to fear, or for conservatives to hope, that Biden is so gripped by nostalgia for the back-slapping Senate bipartisanship of yore that he will sacrifice his and his party’s agenda via sellout compromises or simple inaction. What he’s doing so far is entirely traditional, even if it feels exotic thanks to the receding shadow of Donald Trump. His unity plea can best be understood as the opening bid in an effort to secure broader support in Congress and/or in the broader public. If it goes nowhere, and it certainly may, other plays are at his disposal.

"One more check is not enough": Progressives push Joe Biden to do more to help working families .
"We have to make the most of the opportunity," Rep. Ro Khanna, former co-chair of Bernie's campaign, tells Salon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna and Joe Biden Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

usr: 0
This is interesting!