For most Americans, the plans for this summer and beyond seem to be opening up. But for President Biden, six months into his Presidency, the political walls seem to be closing in around him.
Through a complicated dance of promise-and-backtrack, Biden has attempted to convert GOP lawmakers to his tent. But with trillions planned on being spent, and the fickle nature of lawmakers in his own party, Republicans have recognized, as Biden’s infrastructure and budget plans come down to the wire, that the Biden White House needs the GOP much more than the GOP needs him.
“Biden needs to show that he could be absolutely a bipartisan president and that he could get some Republican support to something,” Dick Morris told The Cats Roundtable on Sunday. “He can’t possibly win congress in 2022 unless he’s able to show he’s straddling both parties like Bill Clinton did.”
But Biden’s attempt to reach across the partisan divide was done in bad faith through a series of “blue smoke and mirrors,” and ultimately Biden was reaping the political whirlwind.
“If you’ll pass a one-party bill, allocating over a trillion dollars to a wish list,” Morris told The Cats Roundtable. “A Santa Claus wishlist of green.”
Biden’s attempt to place both sides of the aisle has only drawn more distrust from both the GOP and his own party. While Biden has been promising to bend to the demands of Republicans on his infrastructure bill, he is at the same time telling the radical wings of his own party that the Green New Deal remains the goal.
But GOP lawmakers, after hearing Biden’s case, have a different idea, one that Morris believes places Biden in an irreconcilable position. The few GOP senators who have met with Biden, in an apparent temptation to buck the leadership of McConnell’s united front, have recognized the Democratic kabuki theater. While getting the pay-off of pretending bipartisanship to the public, Biden fully intends to use a party-line vote through reconciliation to pass his spending plans. But, as Morris told The Cats Roundtable, the GOP wasn’t born yesterday.
“That’s the state of play. Biden has got a deal on his hands, but Republicans are going to run out on it,” Morris explained.
If Biden were truly looking for reconciliation, Morris noted, he wouldn’t be proposing an infrastructure bill that the GOP believes is just the justification for Biden’s massive trillion-dollar budget plan.
In the end, though, the two-faces of Biden might be a lesson for future presidents about how not to play the bipartisan card. Morris believes it’s placed Biden in a position where he’s off-put those he needs to convince while garnering skepticism from his own supports.
“Biden is now stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Morris told The Cats Roundtable. “The rock is that he has to show some bipartisan progress, and the hard place is that he can’t get the Republicans or the Democrats to get along with it.”
To some extent, Biden’s first six months in office and his failure to enact any of his major campaign platforms will define his legacy. His voting bill was killed by moderates of his own party, while his massive infrastructure plans seem “dead in the water,” according to Morris.
“He’s going to go down in history as a Dwight D. Eisenhower care-taker president, who couldn’t get anything done,” Morris told The Cats Roundtable, adding Biden was like a baseball catcher “who can’t throw to second base, and everybody on first base is stealing from him.”