Sunday's article "Biden confronts disappointment on all sides" misses the real problem: The Democratic Party is strategically impotent. In particular, it is badly losing the messaging battle.
Here is my advice: Immediately fire the White House communications team, if, in fact, there is one. Replace it with Karl Rove and Republican and Clinton operatives from the past. Bring in the team that crafted messages like "Obama wants to kill your grandma." Meanwhile Republican policy is actually killing our grandmothers, and somehow this message is lost in the din of complaints about Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and Jan. 6. Don't get me wrong, that was a black day in our history. Unfortunately, the ongoing Jan. 6 congressional investigation validates and amplifies the Trump persecution message that has been such a successful right-wing fundraiser.
Another successful message from the past was, "It's the economy, stupid." Biden has overseen a historic economic recovery that has driven down unemployment to near-historic lows. His administration has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy that has helped cushion the impact of the pandemic and lifted millions of children out of poverty. Yet all we read about is inflation, inflation, inflation. Excuse me, but we have had near zero inflation since the Fed saved the country from an impending depression following the housing crisis. Then we had to invest trillions of dollars into the economy due to the pandemic and aging infrastructure. Yes, that combination will create a rise in inflation. That's economics 101.
There isn't much time left, but for the sake of our democracy, let's hope that Karl Rove (and James Carville) are available.
Steven Pine, Hopkins
The article "Biden confronts disappointment on all sides" asks who is to blame but only casts that blame on the Democratic Party itself, neglecting the larger question of Republican opposition to Biden's agenda. More balanced journalism would acknowledge not only the lack of unity in the Democratic Party but also the continual efforts of the Republicans to effectively block any legislation proposed by Biden. The article joins the chorus of Trump supporters blaming Biden and the Democrats themselves for a lack of progress in government. It fails to address "disappointment on all sides."
Paul Newpower, Maplewood
With Biden's approval rating hovering just about 30% in a recent Quinnipiac poll, and with nearly 30 House Democrats now announcing that they will abandon ship and not run for re-election in Congress, it appears that the verdict is in that the American voter made a big mistake electing Democrats to the White House, Senate and House.
Biden's reckless withdrawal in Afghanistan that killed over a dozen of our soldiers, stranded American citizens in occupied territory and left over a billion dollars in military hardware in the hands of the enemy will go down in history as the worst foreign policy blunder of all time. Furthermore, this kind of poor decisionmaking and weak leadership spilled over into other relationships and emboldened our four biggest enemies: China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.
In just a year's time, Biden's poor business and economic decisions drove up gas prices at the pump and inflation in everyone's pocketbook. This kind of cause-and-effect debacle is something that Republicans could have only dreamed about one year ago. Voters now have a stark comparison between Trump's strong economic freight train roaring down the tracks and Biden's puttering jalopy running on fumes.
After Trump finally calmed the border crisis that entangled his two predecessors, Biden made the incredible decision to tear off the bandages and open up a gaping wound on this problem too. And for whose benefit? Certainly not the American public.
With respect to the pandemic, Biden promised to manage the COVID-19 outbreak better than Trump, but this was a failure too, with far more people dying under his watch. To make matters worse, he made the decision to divide Americans and attack businesses and individuals with needless vaccine mandates that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected.
To add insult to injury, Biden's own party is now turning on him. In a recent interview, Vice President Kamala Harris would not confirm whether she and Biden will be on the same re-election ticket that is only two years away. Sens. Manchin and Sinema are aligned with Republicans in keeping the filibuster and resisting Biden's radical spending and voting bills, and even the protective mainstream media is starting to criticize Biden's many failures.
For those old enough to remember, the last time we Americans saw a president floundering this badly was during the final year of Jimmy Carter's presidency, and Ronald Reagan made us quickly forget him. For the average American, 2024 cannot come fast enough.
Corby Pelto, Minneapolis
I find it interesting that Biden can't do anything right. If he attempts to be bipartisan he is rebuffed by the GOP and then criticized for not being aggressive enough, and if he becomes assertive he is not "reaching across the aisle." Why was it bipartisan in 2006 when Sens. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn and others who are still in the Senate supported voting rights legislation, and now it is not? There are no longer literacy tests or poll taxes to pay, but why is it all right for the fourth-largest city in the U.S. to have one dropbox for ballots? Why did my son stand in line for half a day to vote in Florida because there were so few voting booths in that precinct? Why should low-wage workers, who are barely getting by, lose half or even a whole day's wages to vote in person rather than by mail?
These may not be as onerous as obstacles in the past, but they should not exist at all. They are the result of a party attempting to hang on to power by gerrymandering, impeding access to the ballot and, in the latest iteration, installing persons who control the counting and certifying the vote totals. It is important to remember that the Republicans have not carried the popular vote for president since George W. Bush in 2004.
The only bipartisan bill of consequence passing Republican stonewalling in the past year was the infrastructure bill. Please don't forget that Trump promised to do this and in four years of control of both the house and the Senate, it never occurred. Why wasn't this viewed as "crossing the aisle"? If there were a few more on the right who did not fear the wrath of the ex-president perhaps they could actually support legislation that benefits their constituents and the country.
It is time to put country before party and re-election. We will miss the likes of Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger when they leave Congress in the future, legislators with whom I may disagree, but whom I admire for their courage and patriotism.
Theodore Nagel, Minneapolis
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