April 14, 2021

SO MUCH FAILING! (profanity alert):

'A gaslighting chamber of insanity': Moderate Republicans seethe at Biden (RYAN LIZZA, RACHAEL BADE, EUGENE DANIELS and TARA PALMERI,  04/14/2021, Politico)

While these senators mostly despised Trump, they were the engine of policymaking for his final Covid relief bill. While they mostly respect Biden, they have so far been irrelevant to his legislative push despite his inaugural promise of "unity."

It's been a bewildering change for them. And if you want to understand both why Biden is winning and why his so-far successful formula could be in jeopardy, it's worth listening closely to the voices within this frustrated and marginalized group of self-proclaimed dealmakers.

Back to the nightmare. It starts with what they see as some hardwired media narratives they can't shake: that Biden is a reasonable, deal-making moderate and that Republicans talk about compromise but really just want to obstruct. It's a perception that has given the White House all the leverage.

"Biden is a horrible villain for us," said the G-10 staffer, meaning not that he was an actual villain but that he was difficult to villainize. "There are deeply entrenched narratives that have some truth but are no longer totally true. Reporters believe them despite all evidence to the contrary."

They see a White House "constantly rubbing dirt in the face of Republicans" over the party's lack of interest in bipartisanship while "passing as many partisan bills as they possibly can through reconciliation before they lose the House in 2022."

Two episodes stand out to them. The first was when they were invited to the White House to discuss the Covid relief bill in February. It was intoxicating. They finally had both a normal president, one who understood the Senate better than any president since LBJ, and one who recognized the G-10 as the center of power in Congress. The staffer joked that they were so giddy about the meeting that they had to be told to "calm down" and "play it cool."

But the next day, Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER announced the outlines of a plan to pass the bill with just 50 votes. "You do one meeting and 24 hours later they prepare the reconciliation process," another G-10 staffer complained.

The second episode came last week, when Biden said the 10 senators "didn't move an inch" off of their initial proposal during the Covid talks. On the eve of fresh negotiations over infrastructure, the president, in their view, was attacking them disingenuously. In a flurry of phone calls among the senators, they vented their outrage and plotted a response.

It can take days for a group of senators to agree on anything, but the 10 of them put out a statement a few hours later respectfully but firmly correcting Biden. "The Administration roundly dismissed our effort as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy," it said in part. It didn't receive much coverage.

Imagine if Joe weren't drooling his oatmeal?

Posted by at April 14, 2021 8:39 AM