U.S. Politics – December 4, 2020
By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
Prez-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris gave their first interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. He provided an interesting insight into his approach to government and governing.
BIDEN ON COVID-19
Biden made it abundantly clear that he thinks clear communication and logical and sane management are needed to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Something Donald Trump does not believe. He is the only head of State on Planet Earth who has denied the threat of the virus, and sent mixed messages about what Americans should do to combat it. And it shows. We’ve lost more than a quarter-million of our countrymen to this pandemic.
BIDEN explained how he will handle the virus. He doesn’t want long shutdowns as he said “you don’t have to close down the economy,” he told TAPPER but he is issuing crystal clear guidance for what he will do in the short and long term. For example, BIDEN told TAPPER
he will tell people they need to wear masks for 100 days.
He will back that up with a mandate that masks must be worn in federal buildings, on buses and on planes. He is acknowledging the obvious that the disease sucks, and it’s dangerous and he is providing a digestible set of enforceable rules that he believes will effect change until the vaccine has taken hold.
BIDEN ON THE SENATE
During the interview BIDEN gave some hints about how he’ll pressure Senate Republicans for economic relief and money for the vaccine. The vaccine, he said, is “an incredibly expensive proposition,” and that money needs to come from Congress, which is, at least in part, controlled by the GOP at this point. BIDEN spoke about needing school money, another area of agreement for Republicans and Democrats: “It was estimated that we could open those schools for somewhere around $100 billion nationwide. That would be the cost for a year. We know how to do this.”
BIDEN will try to reach out to Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and other moderate Senators like SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine), LISA MURKOWSKI (R-Alaska) and MITT ROMNEY (R-Utah) to create pressure and media attention for issues he wants to get done. Republican governors and mayors will need federal money, too. That’s part of his path to getting the Senate moving.
ON VACCINE ROLLOUT
Rolling out the Vaccine and injecting money into the economy are the most pressing issues for Biden and the government. He has one shot to get it right, one shot to have the government distribute the vaccine and to convince Americans they should take it. And that is not easy considering all the conspiracy theories flying around about this vaccine being a tracker device.
BIDEN ON HISTORY
BIDEN also gave interesting insight into how he sees himself, and this moment in history: “This is a little bit not unlike what happened in 1932. There was a fundamental change, not only taking place here in the United States, but around the world. … We’re in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, where there’s a real question of whether or not what all the changes in technology. Will there be middle class? What will people be doing? How do they – and there’s genuine, genuine anxiety.
“That’s why you’re going to see me reaching out, continuing to reach out, not just to the communities that supported me. I’m going to reach out to those who didn’t support me, I mean for real, because I think a lot of people are just scared and think they’ve been left behind and forgotten. We’re not going to forget anybody in this effort.” BIDEN was comparing himself to FDR taking over in the middle of the Great Depression. Fascism had started to rise in Italy and in Germany.
BIDEN ON PRESSURE FROM THE PROGRESSIVE WING OF HIS PARTY
BIDEN is also not caving to the pressure from the left to pluck progressive Democrats from the House and Senate for his Cabinet. “What I think people are saying is, a lot of people are saying, am I going to pick some very, very prominent and well-known progressive who sits in the House or the Senate right now?
“As close as everything is in terms of the House and the Senate, they are tough decisions to make, to pull somebody I’m going to badly need out of the Senate, and we not — don’t reelect or have an appointment of somebody who is a Democrat. And so it is — I think people are going to see not only at the Cabinet level, but the sub-Cabinet level, there is already people we’ve appointed, and we will appoint many more. But it is not — again, I understand the push. I truly understand the push.”
It is amazing to witness the the parallels BIDEN has with his former boss, BARACK OBAMA. He has a big economic and financial challenge and a Republican Party that’s going to go through a big transformation without Donald Trump in power.