Sometimes when I watch the media dealing with the Biden Administration, I think I’m watching an NFL game on a Sunday afternoon. For God’s sake, can we give it a rest, please?
We know that dissension and disarray are what drives the media in the first place. The negotiation process, which we’re seeing play out concerning the bi-partisan infrastructure bill and its Build Back Better (BBB) reconciliation companion, is the so-called sausage-making process we see all the time in Washington, D.C. But I get a sense the media particularly loves the back and forth between Congressional Democrats.
When is it going to pass? When will the vote be held? Why can’t the moderates and progressives be on the same page? Why is Biden not doing enough? Where’s Krysten Sinema? When did you talk to Joe Manchin last? Will this be the end of the Biden agenda and presidency? Will Speaker Pelosi be able to close the deal in the House?
And on and on it goes.
Here’s the deal, folks in the media. Joe Biden’s been in Washington, D.C, for the better part of about 45 years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s been there for 34, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer 41. That’s at least 120 years of legislating experience, if my math is correct. So while it may look a little messy, how about we wait and see what happens? I know, what a concept.
If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I’d make a pretty large wager that both of these bills are going to pass. We won’t see the entire $3.5 trillion for the BBB bill, which is the figure progressives want. But whatever the number is, the passage of this legislation will be a big “effing” deal, as Biden once famously said.
But of course, we won’t be told that by many in the media. The downward movement in total dollars will be sold as a defeat, or perhaps at the very least, a blow to progressives who at one time wanted $6 trillion, which is what we’ve come to expect from our friends in the press.
Regardless, though, the American people are who will ultimately decide whether the Democrats upheld their end of the bargain when they took over Congress and the presidency in 2020. The 2022 mid-term election serves as a lurking backdrop over the whole process.
They promised big things, and if they can somehow keep things together and get both of these bills done, the narrative that Democrats fell short will surely ring hollow. The bigger question(s) from the media should be this: Why are Republicans against the BBB bill in the first place? Why would they be against enhancing childcare benefits for the working class, hearing aids for seniors, or helping create an electric car infrastructure that would help combat climate change?
Better still, why are they trying to sabotage the economy by failing to get on board with increasing the national debt, which would by all accounts be a devastating blow to real progress in a post-Covid recovery? Or, why did they increase the national debt three times under Trump, with unanimous Democratic support? What’s different now?
They never seem to ask those questions, though. It always seems to be, the Democrats are in chaos, and Republicans are simply the reasoned opposition party with savvy Minority Leader Mitch McConnell watching from the sidelines with glee.
Clearly, with the disgraced 45th president out of office, there’s a massive void for our dear press. They long for the days of absolute non-stop chaos. Thus, watching the legislative process play out in front of the cameras gives them a chance to report it as play-by-play intrigue. It’s not the same as Trump going nuts every five minutes, but it will have to do for now.
A prime example is a tweet I saw yesterday afternoon from MSNBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell:
Senator Sinema is on the phone with the White House right now.
Oh, please, tell me more!
Once again, this is how the legislative process goes. Is it annoying that two Democratic senators are holding things up in such a public way? Of course. In the end, though, it’s all about how they eventually vote.
One of the more common refrains we hear from progressives and others is how we should never count out Speaker Pelosi. And they could not be more correct in that assessment. Nobody knows how the House of Representatives operates more than Nancy Pelosi.
A video from the annual Republican vs. Democrat softball game went viral the other day. As the game was going on, there she was, in the dugout, engaged in an animated phone call with someone. Whoever was on the other line, I felt sorry for them because she was getting her point across emphatically.
That shows that the 81-year-old legislator from San Francisco knows how to play the political game. She knows how to count the votes and how to persuade people to her side. Her male predecessors on the other side, John Boehner and Paul Ryan paled in comparison. She’s, quite simply, much better at her job than they were.
When we have the signing ceremony, I can’t wait to hear the accolades heaped upon Democrats from the media. You know, how deft they were at negotiating when all seemed lost. Or how Biden used his cunning legislative experience to get it done. Or how Schumer managed to keep everyone in the Senate together when he needed to.
Something tells me I’ll be waiting a long time for that to transpire.
In the end, what we see will be a historic investment in physical infrastructure and the human side of it as well. I’m banking on seeing that signing ceremony. If I’m wrong on that, it will most certainly be a big blow to the Democrats. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Once the bill is signed, sealed, and delivered, the press will move on to the next made-up crisis because when things go well, and the news is positive, what’s the point? No chaos, no intrigue, and no finger-pointing mean no ratings.
Then, barely before the ink is dry, they’ll begin interviewing angry Republicans yelling about socialism overtaking the government. There you have it—ratings gold.