How Biden Lost The Plot

An interesting observation from Sullivan:

So he may well become a transitional figure like Jimmy Carter — a response to a criminal president, as Carter was, but too isolated, partisan and controlled by left interest groups to build a coalition for the future. Instead, a growing backlash including many Latinos, black voters, a slice of Asian-Americans, and suburban parents could create a viable and resilient multiracial coalition for the center right. We just have to pray that Trump is not the man who leads it.

On the latter point, I tend to take the opposite position from Sullivan. If the Republicans make a comeback in 2022 and 2024, I tend to hope Trump and Trumpists are the ones leading it, along with MAGAists who think Trump is not extreme enough. Trump is a chaos agent within the ruling class, and offensive-to-neocons freaks and lunatics like Greene, Boebert, Goser, Gohmert, Gaetz, Cawthorne, etc. are preferable  would-be neocon puppets like De Santis or the fraudulent neocon-front “national conservatives.”

I tend to agree that the present moment is a lot like the Ford/Carter era: post-Nixon, post-Vietnam, post 1960s/early 70s riots and terrorism, post-civil rights marches, and post-sexual revolution, and general cultural liberalization but with rising crime rates, rising inflation, concerns about economic stagnation, a rising anti-abortion movement, perceived “American weakness” on the international level, increased Russophobia and Sinophobia, and some traditional Democratic constituent groups shifting rightward out of a perceived too far shift leftward. Obviously, the Republicans are hoping they can have a Reaganesque “morning in America” moment in 2024, which is really just a synonym for neocon revanchism.

Trump followed the Reaganite/supply-sider/neocon party line most of the time, and mostly out of personal laziness and indifference to ideology.  But his role as a chaos agent had a disruptive effect that would not be present if a Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz had been the President. If there is a “red wave” in 2022, and the Repugs make a comeback in 2024, the Prez needs to be Trump or a Trumpist, and the new Republican freshmen need to be more Greenes and Boeberts, i.e. figures that the establishment media finds so personally repulsive they fail to support them on anything, and who are so batshit crazy they can’t accomplish anything. If Trump does not run again, a Donald Trump Jr/Lauren Boebert ticket would be preferable to a De Santis/Cruz ticket. The Know-Nothings over the neocons.

By Andrew Sullivan

Listening to interest groups and activists is no way to get re-elected.

If I were president (I know, I know) I’d take an hour or two each week and observe a focus group. Presidents never get the full truth talking directly with the public, let alone the nuances of the feelings behind various positions — but if the prez is behind a one-way mirror, people are much less intimidated or showboaty. And because a president is constantly surrounded by like-minded people in politics, he can easily drift into internalizing the priorities of his peers and pleasing his activists and forget what ordinary people actually wanted when they elected him.

That’s my best take on why Biden had such a terrible first year — his marination in Democratic politics and his distance from moderate voters are the problem — and why his long presser this week was so starkly out of touch with political reality.

The NYT just published the transcript of a fascinating focus group — with Americans who voted both for Obama and Trump at least once. And they’re not happy with Biden. They’re sick of Covid restrictions, frightened by inflation, and unsettled by rising crime and social disorder. Here’s one quote from a member of the group:

I think they’ve taken us back to cave man time, where you would walk around with a club. “I want what you have.” You’re not even safe to walk around and go to the train station, because somebody might throw you off the train, OK? It’s a regression.

Another old white man? Nope. That’s a statement from a 60-year-old Latina woman. The group takes a rather complacent view of January 6, 2021, and when asked about their concern for democracy, one respondent said: “You see how the Democrats in power, they seem to be wanting — changing the rules, you know. Voting rights, we can’t win free and fair elections, so let’s change some rules there.”


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