Wednesday, President Biden gave a sort of State of the Union address. It was a good speech and it made a lot of important points–saying things out loud to counteract the Republican Puke Funnel does matter. Throwing down the ideological gauntlet is important. His performance also should put the kibosh on the whole ‘doddering Joe’ thing Republicans are trying to use.
That said, I am still somewhat disappointed. Despite the good rhetoric and performance, we’re left with the roadblocks of narcissistic ideologue Sen. Joe Manchin and Manic Pixie Dream Senator Kyrsten Sinema. It’s unclear how we get around them, especially regarding voting rights and D.C. statehood*. Speaking of which, it’s disappointing that D.C. statehood wasn’t mentioned, though that seems part of a larger pattern with Biden.
It’s clear Biden will push for popular policies–and what he’s proposing has massive support among voters across the political spectrum (even Republican voters like much of his economics program). But it’s also clear, other than marijuana legalization–which Biden opposes, even as it’s popular–he’s not going to take unpopular stands, or more accurately, stands that don’t have massive support.
Despite his agenda’s popularity, it still will be very difficult to pass most of it, if not impossible, and that is an indictment of our political system (we don’t need more checks and balances, we need more democratic responsiveness).
So it was a fine speech, but I still feel somewhat empty.
*Manchin would much rather be the fiftieth senator than the 52nd. I don’t know how we get around that.