“Is it acceptable to me? Come on,” Biden said, projecting disbelief that such a question would even be posed. Biden went on to describe the urgent steps he is taking to ease the overcrowding, such as opening up Fort Bliss to house as many as 5,000 children. He also humanized the sheer desperation that must lead parents to send their kids north with hopes for a better life. However, the situation as it stands “is totally unacceptable,” he concluded unequivocally.
But beyond Biden’s plain-spoken linguistics, he just connects the dots for people in very accessible ways. After outlining the nation’s crumbling infrastructure—with some 231,000 bridges needing repairs, six to 10 million homes still getting water through lead pipes, and over 100,000 uncapped wellheads leaking methane gas—Biden paused to ask, “What are we doing?”
“I just find it frustrating,” he added. “There’s so much we can do that’s good stuff, makes people healthier, and creates good jobs.“
C’mon, folks, this is such a no-brainer. How about that pitch to kick off what could well become Biden’s legacy bill—a multi-trillion measure that revolutionizes America’s infrastructure and economy for the 21st century?
When it came to GOP efforts to take a wrecking ball to voting rights across the country, Biden lambasted Republicans. Asked whether he was worried Democrats might lose control of Congress, Biden responded, “What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick.” Then he ticked through the most outrageous provisions, like outlawing the distribution of water to people waiting in line, ending voting at five o’clock, “when working people are just getting off work,” and the cancellation of absentee ballots in many cases.
“The Republican voters I know find this despicable,” Biden said. “I’m not talking about the elected officials; I’m talking about voters. Voters,” he said, emphasizing the split between GOP voters and party elites.
In fact, plenty of those GOP voters were drinking in Biden’s message, word for word. Fox News drew the largest audience of any cable network for Biden’s first press conference, with 3.24 million viewers.
The next day, Biden again skewered Georgia Republicans’ voter suppression bill as an “atrocity.”
“It has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency,” Biden told reporters gathered on the South Lawn Friday. “They passed a law saying you can’t provide water for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote. You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive—designed to keep people from voting. You can’t provide water for people about to vote? Give me a break.”
C’mon, man, Americans can hear Biden saying in their heads.
Republicans have no one who can compete with Biden’s everyman sensibilities. The GOP base—as it has been at least temporarily reshaped by Trump—doesn’t like the lawmaker elites who run the party. In Civiqs tracking polls, just 62% of Republicans say they have a favorable view of the Republican Party—that is astoundingly low. By contrast, 89% of Democrats have a favorable view of their own party.
But if you think the Republican Party is sucking wind (and it is), check out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s favorables among Republicans—he’s 35 points underwater with fully 55% of Republicans holding an unfavorable view of him.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has just a 62% favorable rating among Republicans.
Trump still has an 87% favorable rating with Republicans, though it’s fallen nearly a handful of points since the election. But no one with any allegiance to the actual Republican Party has the juice right now to lead an opposition movement to the Democrats, much less Joe Biden. That’s why Republican attempts to combat the American Rescue Plan were such a hot mess. The party doesn’t know what it stands for anymore, and its supposed leaders don’t have a clue how to lead it.
Biden seems keenly aware of this. He repeatedly emphasized in the press conference his concern for working-class Americans.
“I set a goal that’s in front of me to get things done for the people I care most about, which are hardworking, decent American people who are getting—really having it stuck to them,” Biden said on the passage of his $1.9 trillion relief package. “I want to change the paradigm. I want to change the paradigm. We start to reward work, not just wealth.”
Gee, what a concept. Then Biden stuck it to Republicans for uniformly opposing the relief package.
“Did you hear them complain when they passed close to a $2 trillion Trump tax cut—83% going to the top 1%? Did you hear them talk about that all?” Biden asked.
“When the federal budget is saving people’s lives, they don’t think it’s such a good idea,” Biden continued, adding, “When the federal budget is feathering the nest of the wealthiest Americans—90 of the Fortune 500 companies making billions of dollars not paying a cent in taxes … [but] if you’re a husband and wife, a schoolteacher and a cop, you’re paying at a higher rate than the average person making a billion dollars a year is—something is wrong.”
That about covers it: Republicans draw the line at spending money to save American lives while raiding federal funds to feather the nest of the nation’s wealthiest.
Biden is anything but flashy and out front. But when he gets in front of the cameras, his understated ability to connect with the very working-class voters Republicans must now court in order to win the midterms is unmatched on the national level. Every time Biden opens his mouth, he seems poised to plant another seed of doubt in the minds of the voters who adopted Trump as their savior and are now stuck with congressional Republicans like Ted “Cancún” Cruz posturing in a bush on the Rio Grande.