Douglas M. Bloomfield
Douglas M. Bloomfield

Leading Indicators Favor Biden

No one was more boastful than Donald Trump. He bragged about everything from his wealth to his popularity to his political acumen to his IQ and even to his penis size. His most frequent boast was to take responsibility every time the stock market set a new record (and ignoring the drops, of course), and he ominously warned voters that if Biden defeated him “there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before!”

Not so fast, Don. It hasn’t worked out that way.  Forbes magazine reported that a Biden boom began the day Trump lost and the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ have been soaring ever since, easily exceeding Trump’s first 100 days. CNBC called it “unprecedented growth.”

The Commerce Department reports this week that the GDP growth rate for the first quester of his year was 6.4 percent.  It is on track to be the best performance since 1951

Biden ran on two basic promises: fighting the Corona virus and repairing the economy.  He understood what his predecessor apparently could not, that the two are inextricably linked. It isn’t possible to focus on one, ignore the other and expect a roaring recovery.

Biden has also restored dignity, compassion, sanity and civility to the office.  That seems to trouble Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.  A chronic tweeter in the Trump tradition, Cornyn has suggested there must be something wrong with Biden because he doesn’t tweet as incessantly as his predecessor. “Is he really in charge?” the senator tweeted.  The San Antonio Current said Cornyn “tweets a lot of exceedingly stupid shit.”

Does Cornyn really think Trump’s incessant tweeting of lies, grievances and insults was an admirable quality to be emulated?

Trump deserves credit for launching Warp Speed to develop a vaccine, but tragically he lost interest too early, bungled the development and spread dangerous mistrust of any vaccine (suggesting Lysol injections didn’t help).  He told Bob Woodward that he lied about the seriousness of the threat because he didn’t want to “panic” people.  Public health experts report the resistance to vaccinations is strongest among Trump voters.

Instead of leading the nation’s fight to cure the pandemic, he attacked the integrity of scientists and local leaders calling for a tough response; he feared the truth would harm his reelection chances.  By contrast, Biden took the opposite approach, even wearing a mask in public, which Trump refused because it he feared it would make him look like a sissy.

Trump has been the sorest of sore losers, and he has been obsessed with reversing his election loss and undermining public confidence in American democracy and the electoral system.

With Trump’s blessing, even urging, Republican legislators and governors in red states across the country are changing voting laws to make them less democratic out of fear their states might be more Democratic (note the capitalization). At the same time, their party in the Congress is mounting solid opposition to voter access and campaign finance and ethics reform legislation.

The last thing Republicans want to see is an impartial investigation of the January 6 insurrection.  Republican leaders in the House and Senate prefer to pretend it never happened. Instead, they demand probes of Black Lives Matter and the almost mythological antifa.  Lone among Republican leaders is Rep. Lyn Cheney, who many colleagues consider a pariah for having voted to impeach Trump, who is calling for a narrowly focused commission on the attempted coup.

The Lincoln Project tweeted, “The GOP has introduced 81 bills in 34 states to oppose rioting. Yet they don’t want to investigate an insurrection.”

Bident focused on his ambitious jobs, infrastructure and economic recovery plans during this week’s address to Congress. To pay for it he proposed raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans went berserk, screaming “socialism.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a 2024 presidential wannabe, said raising taxes on the super-rich to pay for infrastructure and social programs is “socialism” because it constitutes redistribution of wealth.

Republicans are still decrying Social Security 85 years after it was enacted and trying to repeal it through privatization.  That’s not the only socialist project they oppose.

President Harry Truman once said socialism is what Republicans call social security, public power, farm price supports, federal bank deposit insurance, free and independent labor organizations and “almost anything that helps all the people.”

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has written that “America is a hotbed of socialism…for the rich.”  That means federal bailouts, tax credits, subsidies and tax cuts for big corporations but “harsh capitalism” for their workers, who often got layoffs while the bosses got bonuses, were left “twisting in the wind.”

Republican leaders are fond of calling Biden a captive of the progressives, but that doesn’t hold much water since the progressives in his party are bitterly complaining he is ignoring them.

Polls show Biden’s approval rating is in the mid-50s, compared to Trump’s, which was under water his entire term.

Biden’s handling of the pandemic and economic recovery enjoys bipartisan support at the grassroots, despite solid opposition by Congressional Republicans whose mantra is “Just say no.” They firmly refuse to cooperate with Biden and then accuse him of breaking his promise of bipartisanship.

Republicans are also saying no to ethics legislation requiring the release of presidential tax returns and banning presidents from channeling government funds to their private businesses.

Republicans may have unanimously opposed Biden’s economic stimulus plan that included $1,400 checks for millions of Americans, but their constituents like it, which may explain why some shameless politicians like Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) who voted no are taking credit anyway.

An outraged Sen. Wicker denounced Biden’s plans, saying that the 2017 massive tax cut for the wealthy was a proud high point of his career.

Letting Biden and Democrats fight the pandemic and lead the economic recovery on their own, Republicans are turning their focus the culture wars issues like immigration, LGBQT rights, abortion, bashing more holes in the church-state separation wall, guns and voter suppression.

Joe Biden is not another FDR, as pundits and critics like to tell us.  He may not be the best president in history (yet), although Republicans and Donald Trump are working overtime to make it seem he is.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
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