Friday Talking Points -- Biden Closes In On A Big Bipartisan Win

[ Posted Friday, July 30th, 2021 – 16:49 UTC ]

President Joe Biden is now getting very close to securing the second leg of his three-legged economic legislative stool. To put it another way: this week we all finally got to experience the almost-mythological "Infrastructure Week" which we had been promised for lo, these many years. Bipartisanship struggled back to life, fulfilling not just a campaign promise from Biden but also his deep-seated desire to return Washington to some sort of pre-Trump normality.

Of course, it's not a done deal yet. It could still be derailed, but at this point the momentum behind it seems almost guaranteed to get the deal across the finish line in the Senate. The vote to open debate on the bill was a lopsided 67-32, with even Mitch McConnell voting to move forward. With a margin like that, when the final details are unveiled, it will probably garner enough Republican votes to pass. It may even get more than that initial vote-count, as all Republican senators realize they can either vote for bridges and roads or be hit with the issue in their next campaign.

Even if it does pass the Senate, there's no guarantee it'll get to Biden's desk, though. Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid down a marker weeks ago and swore she would not bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote in the House until the Senate also passed the companion budget reconciliation deal. When this does happen, Pelosi will move the two bills forward together, and both bills will wind up on Biden's desk at the same time. This (hopefully) will satisfy the demands of both the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party. The moderates may have to hold their noses to vote for the budget reconciliation deal, but they will likely do so knowing it will be the only way the bipartisan deal will make it into law. The progressives will be doing the opposite -- voting for a bill they see as hopelessly inadequate in order to get their "everything else" bill passed as well. Such a balancing act is possible, and it is even looking more and more likely by the day.

The next step is really up to Bernie Sanders. He has to come up with a final outline for what will be included in the budget reconciliation package, so that it can also get a Senate floor vote and move over to the House. His stated target at this point is a $3.5 trillion bill. If this passes in conjunction with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, it will truly be historic. It will be the biggest expansion of the federal government (which will help out tens of millions of American families) since either Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society or Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Who ever would have thought that Joe Biden -- the most centrist, moderate, and incrementalist senator imaginable -- will be credited with such transformative and historic legislation? Not us, that's for sure, but that does seem to be where things are heading.

Or could be, at any rate. There will still be plenty of drama before we get there, that much seems certain. And there is already a race to see who can interject the most drama possible into the process. Obviously feeling envious of Senator Joe Manchin's importance in negotiating many Democratic bills already, Senator Kyrsten Sinema made her opening bid to either derail or at least hold up the reconciliation bill. She released a statement this week that said:

I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this [budget reconciliation] process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion -- and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona's economy and help Arizona's everyday families get ahead.

Our translation: "I will vote to begin debate on the issue, but then I am going to make demands so that everyone knows I am the pivotal player in this drama, and thus I will get to be interviewed on television all the time, just like Joe Manchin." Sinema didn't have any particular ideological problem with the plan, you'll notice, she is just objecting to the price tag. So perhaps she'll force Bernie Sanders to shave a bit off the total, in the end, but will then wind up voting for it (Sinema was one of the critical Democratic negotiators on the bipartisan bill, and she knows full well it'll never pass unless the budget reconciliation bill is also sent over to the House). So that's our prediction: seeing Sinema on Sunday morning political shows quite a bit, until she eventually tinkers around the edges enough to proclaim herself satisfied.

And, of course, there will also be Manchin himself to contend with, as well as a few other "fiscally responsible/conservative" Democratic senators. But we still remain optimistic. It seems, at this point, that both of these trains are leaving the station and will successfully make it down one track or another, in the end.

Sanders has a heavy responsibility, but he's also got a lot to work with. The Republicans rejected any adjustments to taxes in order to pay for their bipartisan bill, instead relying on various accounting tricks to "pay for" their plan. This way they remained pure in their "never raise taxes" orthodoxy. Which is all fine and good, because it means that all the proposed tax changes are now still available for inclusion in the reconciliation bill. This includes (but is not limited to): a corporate minimum tax (to end companies like Amazon paying zero taxes every year), a hike in the corporate tax rate (up to 25 percent, but not any higher -- Manchin has already laid down this particular marker), and an increase in income taxes for those making $400,000 a year or more (but not touching taxes for those making under that amount at all -- this one is Biden's personal marker). Plus things like increasing the I.R.S. budget so they can effectively go after tax cheats (after Republicans have slashed their budget for the past decade). All in all, this could add up to an enormous pot of money -- and because of Republicans' unwillingness to consider any of it, all of these choices are still fully available to Bernie Sanders.

We're betting that Bernie is smart enough to come up with a bill that is fully paid for. This will completely undercut the "fiscal responsibility" argument from people like Sinema. After all, who cares what the total number is when it will all be paid for?

In fact, this is going to be Democrats' biggest political asset, moving forward. Republicans will no doubt dust off an oldie and begin screaming about "tax-and-spend Democrats," but Democrats can easily counter with something like: "Billionaires are buying their way into space and Republicans are fighting hard to make sure they never have to pay any taxes on anything they make!" It's a little-known fact (because the political media largely ignores it), but taxing insanely rich individuals and corporations is actually extremely popular with the American public at large -- even very popular among Republican voters.

This is the case Democrats will have to make. First, that they are being fiscally responsible by not adding any deficit-spending to the bill. This completely undercuts the: "It costs too much!" complaint. If it's fully paid for, then that argument largely evaporates. Second, that average American taxpayers (including a very generous definition of what it means to be "middle-class") will not see their taxes go up one thin dime. Instead, Bernie's just going to do what he's always wanted to -- tax the rich. Which is pretty much fine and dandy with everyone else.

This has a real chance of success. Not only can Democrats win the legislative battle, if they do it right they'll also win the political messaging battle as well. And unlike the bipartisan infrastructure plan, the results (at least some of them) will be very visible by this time next year -- right as we head into campaign season for the midterms. Infrastructure projects are never as "shovel-ready" as politicians want them to be, so seeing (literally) concrete results from the bipartisan measure may take years. But look how fast the stimulus checks went out, and look how quickly the expanded child care credit (which is putting monthly checks in most parents' mailboxes or bank accounts now) was implemented. Many of the good things Bernie is going to include will be able to get up and running before the voters have to make a choice again.

Which is the whole point of all this in the first place. This is the glue that is holding the Democratic factions together. It's really a case of: "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately" (as Ben Franklin put it). If everyone pulls together in the end, then all three legs of Biden's economic legislation stool will wind up being the lion's share of the 2022 Democratic campaign: "Look at all the good stuff we got done!" If it all falls apart, then Democrats will essentially have nothing to run on next year and will thus be in great danger of losing control of both houses of Congress. And all the Democrats in Congress (even recalcitrant ones in the Senate) seem to understand this. So no matter how much drama erupts, at this point it certainly looks like Biden has an excellent chance of being a very transformative president indeed.

In other bipartisan news, the January 6th Select Committee got underway by holding its first hearing. We wrote about this at length earlier in the week, but perhaps the best overview was provided by the committee's chair, Representative Bennie Thompson. In an opinion piece published this week previous to the hearing, he laid out what he considers the duty of the new committee:

On Jan. 6, a violent mob attacked the citadel of our democracy -- the U.S. Capitol -- in an attempt to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

On Tuesday, the bipartisan Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol begins its work investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of this assault on our democracy.

I had hoped that such an investigation would be carried out by an independent commission composed of national security experts, like the panel created by Congress after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. However, once the House Republican leadership rejected -- and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell filibustered -- bipartisan legislation to establish such a commission, we in the House believed we had no choice but to establish a select committee. In a recent poll, 72 percent of Americans agree there is more we must learn about that day.

. . .

This hearing is just the beginning of the select committee's work; when it comes to the security of the Capitol -- and our democracy -- nothing will be off-limits. We will do what is necessary to understand what happened, why and how. And we will make recommendations to help ensure it never happens again. We owe it to the country we love to provide the answers that the American people deserve.

We devoted an entire article this week to praising Liz Cheney's work on the committee, so we wanted to give some time to the other Republican, Adam Kinzinger, who also wrote an opinion piece laying out exactly the questions he wants answered:

On Jan. 6, hundreds of our fellow citizens stormed the U.S. Capitol, armed and ready for battle. For hours, broadcast live on television and streamed on social media, rioters attacked law enforcement and eventually breached the halls of Congress in an effort to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Their goal was to subvert America's democratic process -- and their means to this end was brute force and violent assaults on the men and women of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department.

How did this happen? Why? Who spurred this effort? Was it organized? When did our government leaders know of the impending attacks and what were their responses? What level of preparation or warnings did our law enforcement have? Was there coordination between the rioters and any members of Congress, or with staff?

We'll have some more on the committee in the awards section, but for now suffice it to say we thought the committee got off to a serious (and very bipartisan) start.

One final thought, though -- Republicans are getting more and more radicalized by the day, it seems. Because the four police officers told such a compelling and emotional story of their own firsthand experiences fighting to protect the lives of all those who work in the Capitol, the right-wing media immediately started attacking federal police officers with the rudest and most insulting language imaginable. Now, the entire concept of any Republican politician or conservative pundit attacking any serving police officer in such a fashion used to be completely unimaginable, but as we said, this is just a measure of how radicalized the party has become.

Consider also the fact that retired general Michael Flynn was given a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle in a church (!) this week, and he responded, after being handed the weapon of war: "Maybe I'll find somebody in Washington, D.C." That is how brazenly radicalized the Republican Party has become, folks.

The most radical members of the House Republicans tried to stage a media event at the same time as the hearings, by protesting (in front of the Justice Department, no less) for the jailed accused domestic terrorists. We suppose Ronald Reagan was right -- one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. We just never expected to see it here at home, that's all (Reagan was talking about Central America when he made the remark). Thankfully, their seditionist rally was interrupted by a man who constantly (and loudly) blew a whistle in the speakers' faces, and a bunch of people who showed up to demand of Representative Matt Gaetz: "Are you a pedophile?" They had some signs, too: "Pedophiles For Trump," and "Traitors + Rapists: Sit Down." The snowflake Republicans had to give up and flee, in the end. The next day, they tried to storm the jail that held some of the accused domestic terrorists. You just couldn't make this stuff up if you tried, folks.

But one final bit of bipartisanship is worth mentioning before we move along. Perhaps because they were ashamed at their continuing inaction while Capitol Police officers were testifying in the other chamber, the Senate finally got its act together and overwhelmingly passed a much-needed funding bill for the Capitol Police. It also included money to help Afghan interpreters who have been aiding the United States for years to be brought into America and given the chance to become immigrants. Since no one deserves it more, this was welcome news. And as for bipartisan? The bill passed 98-0 in the Senate. That's not just bipartisan, that is unanimous -- which doesn't happen very often, these days. If this bill hadn't passed, the budget for the Capitol cops would have run out next month, while Congress was off on vacation, so it's a good thing they got it done (even if it was at the last possible minute).


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi deserves at least an Honorable Mention award this week, for her reaction to a reporter's question about how Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was having a tantrum about having to wear a mask again. Pelosi at first pointed out that it was the Capitol Physician who changed the rule, and then when entering her car (it was an impromptu sidewalk interview), said over her shoulder: "He's such a moron."

The hashtag #MoronMcCarthy immediately started trending on Twitter, naturally.

But this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award goes to two members of the January 6th Select Committee: Chair Bennie Thompson and Representative Jamie Raskin.

Thompson did an admirable job chairing the committee -- a job made all the easier by the complete lack of screaming morons trying to gaslight witnesses or advance insane conspiracy theories. Since McCarthy refused to let any of his nominees serve after Pelosi scratched the two worst clowns off the list, it meant that the only two Republicans in the room were both sober-minded individuals who honestly were looking to uncover the truth about that day and what led up to it. With zero histrionics or grandstanding for the television cameras.

But both Democrats really win this week's MIDOTW for one single question. During Raskin's allotted time to query the witnesses, he asked the best question of the entire day. Paraphrased, what he asked was: "Is there anything that any of you would like us to investigate or uncover or discover about what happened that day?" In other words, he asked the police officers who defended them with their lives what they would like to see out of the investigation. One officer responded to his question, but then his time expired.

At the end of the hearing, Thompson used his power as chair to give all four witnesses the chance to answer this question. He was smart to do so, because (as we said) it was the most interesting question asked during the entire day. Officer Harry Dunn was pretty blunt in his metaphorical style. He told the committee it was useful to consider what happens after a professional assassin kills someone and then is caught: "If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired them does [too]."

Officer Daniel Hodges put exactly the same sentiment a different way. He essentially pointed out that the four officers testifying did not have the authority to investigate certain aspects of what happened, since it was beyond their pay grade. So he begged the committee members: "I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this, if anyone in power coordinated or aided and abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack, because we can't do it."

This was the clearest new message to come out of the hearing. The cops knew full well it wasn't just a random mob of people who all happened to show up at the Capitol that day, but they were powerless to pursue that line of investigation. The committee, however, can try to find out these answers.

So both Representative Jamie Raskin (for asking the question in the first place) and Bennie Thompson (for using the power of the chair to give all four time to answer it at the end, after realizing what a great question it was) are our two winners of this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Congratulate Representative Jamie Raskin on his House contact page and Representative Bennie Thompson on his House contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

To balance things out, we also have a (Dis-)Honorable Mention award for Nancy Pelosi. This week, she took a reporter's bait for no discernable reason (other than, perhaps, institutional loyalty).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had been trying to pressure President Biden to use executive action to cancel at least some student debt. There are differences of opinion about whether it is possible for him to do so or not, and Schumer is arguing that Biden does indeed have that power.

When the subject came up, Pelosi really should have just bowed out of the fight and said something along the lines of: "Well, you'll have to talk to Leader Schumer or the White House about that." She does this sort of deflection on a daily basis, after all.

Instead, she decided to give her opinion: "The president can't do it -- so that's not even a discussion." Congress must act because the president doesn't have the power to cancel student debt, she said.

But, again, there really was no reason for her to weigh in on the matter.

However, we're going to award this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

As earlier mentioned earlier, Sinema seems to be jealous of all the attention Joe Manchin has been getting. So she decided to grab the spotlight before him, on the upcoming budget reconciliation bill. She has no idea what is in it or how it will be paid for, but she still had to generically object, just so we'd all have to talk about her for a while.

Here was the key part of her written statement once again, before anyone in the press had even really begun shifting gears from covering the bipartisan deal (that Sinema was instrumental in hammering out):

I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this [budget reconciliation] process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion -- and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona's economy and help Arizona's everyday families get ahead.

And here's our second attempt at a loose translation of what she really meant: "Remember that tempest in a teapot that Joe Manchin caused, right up until the very last minute, on the COVID-19 emergency relief bill at the start of this year? Well, Joe, this time it's my turn. I will be as vague and coy as possible until Chuck Schumer is on his knees begging to know what I want, and I fully expect to do the 'full Ginsburg' on a few Sundays until I relent and allow President Biden's entire economic agenda to become reality."

Perhaps both of those are just our mistranslations of her stance? We'll see, we'll see....

In any case, for attempting to stop the train before the engineer even really climbs aboard, Kyrsten Sinema is easily our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week.

[Contact Senator Kyrsten Sinema on her Senate contact page, to let her know what you think of her actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 628 (7/30/21)

This week, we've got a very narrow target for our talking points. We started thinking about this after reading two articles in the Washington Post this week. The first was welcome news indeed -- it seems that some Democratic groups out there are sinking tens of millions of dollars into political advertising right now, instead of in the final two months of the midterm campaign. They are doing so with an excellent goal: "party-building." They are not advertising for or against any particular candidate for office, they are instead telling the voters: "This is what Democrats have already done for you and here are a bunch of other good things Democrats are trying to get done... and Republicans are fighting all of it tooth and nail because they don't think you deserve any of it!" This is excellent news, mostly because Democrats have been so pathetically bad at this sort of thing for the past few decades (see: a complete absence of this type of effort when Obamacare passed, for instance). This is the type of thing that can pay off for all Democrats, instead of just in one particular race.

The second article dealt in a more detailed way about how Democrats are viewing messaging right now. A memo leaked from Build Back Together, a political group supporting Biden and his agenda, which showed what Democrats think will work and won't in 2022. Here are two excerpts from the article which show how important thinking about this stuff now really is:

"Don't forget: always talk about how the plans are paid for," the document says, reiterating that Biden has pledged not to increase the tax burden on anyone making less than $400,000 and that taxes on corporations and the ultrawealthy will foot this bill. "Messaging that includes language about pay-fors consistently outperforms in testing."

. . .

"When billionaires are blasting themselves into space and paying little or no taxes, and their companies are paying no taxes, then we should make them pay their fair share," [head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Sean] Maloney said, offering a rejoinder for the GOP attacks that his colleagues will probably mimic. "If Republicans think billionaires should pay no taxes, then they should make that argument to the American people."

Democrats can and should win this messaging contest. The individual parts of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill are already wildly popular. These details need to be pointed out repeatedly to the public. And when such messaging includes "and we're going to tax the rich and corporations to pay for it" then voters react even more favorably to the message.

Republicans aren't going to have much to counter this at all. Today was rather instructive, in fact. Republican Representative Elise Stefanik -- who advanced to the third-highest GOP House leadership position after Liz Cheney was unceremoniously booted out -- tweeted out something in the same moronic vein as the infamous anti-Obamacare sign: "Get your government hands off my Medicare!" Here's how Stefanik just put it:

Today's Anniversary of Medicare & Medicaid reminds us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families. To safeguard our future, we must reject Socialist healthcare schemes.

[...Long pause for audience to roll around the floor howling with laughter...]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just couldn't resist this bait, and tweeted back:

Totally agree.

In fact, to further protect Medicare from socialism, let's strengthen it to include dental, vision, hearing, & mental healthcare and then allow all Americans to enjoy its benefits.

Trust me, Medicare for All is the #1 thing you can do to own the socialists.

Please remember, Stefanik is now in a leadership position in the House, meaning she bears responsibility for Republican messaging. And if they're going to make it this easy, it should really be a breeze coming up with talking points to sell the Democratic economic plans. Which is why we've devoted our entire talking points section to the effort this week.


   Build Back Better

Biden chose this one, so let's all start using it all the time.

"President Biden is following through on his promise to Build Back Better. Not only do we have to help the American economy get past the shocks from the pandemic, but we can't merely go back to the way things were before it struck. Too many Americans were being left out and forgotten. Republicans certainly didn't have any ideas on this front, as their only solution to any problem these days seems to be: 'Cut taxes on the wealthy even more, no matter how much it costs in dollars or other costs to American society in general.' Democrats don't believe that. President Biden has called on us to Build Back Better, and that's exactly what we are going to do."


   It will all be paid for

This is the biggest and most critical point Democrats need to be making right now.

"Unlike all those Republican tax giveaways to the millionaires, Democrats actually believe in fiscal responsibility. This is why our plans are all completely paid for. We have not added a single dollar of deficit spending. Our plans raise the money and spend the money on things average Americans want and will appreciate. We are not going to borrow from your kids' future to pay for it, we are going to pay for it in the here-and-now. Unlike Republicans who merely give the idea lip service, Democrats will Build Back Better and it all will be paid for because we do believe in being fiscally responsible. And we don't just talk the talk, we also walk the walk."


   You will not be paying for it

This is also an important point to make.

"Republicans are going to try to scare everyone by saying Democrats are 'raising everyone's taxes,' but as with most things they say these days, this is just not true. Not even in the slightest. How many of you make more than $400,000 a year? If you don't, then you will not be paying for our plan to Build Back Better. You know who will be? Millionaires and billionaires. Giant corporations who have made out like bandits and pay no taxes, year after year. You know who won't be paying for it? You, and everyone you know like you. Because we don't think you should have to pay for it while giving the incredibly wealthy such a free ride. That's the part the Republicans never admit."


   Paying their fair share

Again, all these ideas are already wildly popular -- they won't be a hard sell at all.

"Billionaires can now afford to shoot themselves into space, but Republicans insist that there is just no possible way they should pay their fair share of taxes. People this rich pay a tiny, tiny fraction of their income to the government in taxes each year because they have enough money to hire armies of accountants and tax lawyers who exploit every loophole the Republicans have inserted into the tax code. Such people can wind up paying no income taxes at all, even after making hundreds of millions of dollars. Democrats think that is flat-out wrong. Democrats think they should go back to paying their fair share once again. Democrats think people who can afford a trip to space can also afford to support average Americans so they can have free preschool or free community college. The ultra-wealthy have been getting a free ride for far too long. We think they can afford to pay a little more, and that is how we're going to pay for all these new programs. Not by taxing you or anyone you know, but by taxing Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and all the rest of them. That sounds pretty fair to us -- how does it sound to you?"


   Amazon too

This is a story, every single year, and yet nobody ever does anything to change it. Until now.

"You know how every year we all hear stories in the news about the list of gigantic multibillion-dollar companies who somehow wound up paying nothing at all in taxes? Yeah, well, Democrats think that needs to change. We think Amazon can afford to pay some taxes. So we are going to raise the tax rate on them (not even as much as it was before the last Republican tax giveaway, mind you), and we are going to institute a corporate minimum tax so that no gigantic profitable corporation can ever again dodge taxes so much that they wind up paying pennies -- or even nothing at all. Look at how the owners and stockholders of these giant corporations have made oodles of money over the past few decades, and then tell me they somehow 'can't afford' to do so. I don't believe that for a minute, but apparently the Republicans do. We think all gigantic corporations should be forced to pay at least something each year in taxes, since they benefit so greatly from this country's infrastructure. It's time they started paying their fair share, too."


   Run through the list, over and over

This isn't even a comprehensive list. But it needs repeating, as many times as possible. Political journalists are so often consumed by all the "horserace" stories that they just ignore the real story -- so don't let them get away with it!

"How many news stories have you heard about the problems the bipartisan infrastructure bill had in getting to this point? How many times did the pundits -- on both the left and right, mind you -- declare the entire effort dead? The chattering class loves to endlessly talk about little micro-battles in Congress, but they completely fall down on the job of explaining to the public what is actually in the legislation itself. Want to know what Democrats are fighting to bring to average Americans? Here's just a short list: Expanding Medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing. Providing clean, lead-free water for children to drink everywhere in America -- no matter what ZIP code they live in. Two years of tuition-free community college for everyone. Two years of free preschool for all parents. Helping parents with either childcare or eldercare expenses. Giving parents money to raise millions of children out of the grips of child poverty. Charging stations for electric vehicles. High-speed internet for all. These are all the things Democrats are trying to do. This is why Republicans never want to talk about any of them -- they just bleat 'socialism' over and over again in an effort to scare people silly. Is free community college or making it easy for granny to get a new pair of glasses 'socialism'? I don't care what label you use for it -- that seems like a worthwhile goal to achieve. And you know what? On each and every one of these issues, the vast majority of Americans agree."


   Democrats are for all this -- Republicans are against all of it

Finally, bring it all home in a rousing party-building finish.

"Democrats are fighting hard for all these good ideas. Democrats are the ones who came up with these good ideas. Republicans are against each and every one of them. They are fighting as hard as they can to guarantee that community college is not free, that parents won't get two years of free preschool or their child tax credit checks in the mail each month. This is what Democrats want to do to move America into a better future -- to Build Back Better. Democrats think American citizens deserve helpful programs like this and we are confident they will make life a lot easier for hundreds of millions of citizens. All Republicans have is fearmongering -- they haven't had an idea for how to help average Americans since long before Ronald Reagan was president, and they certainly don't have any new ideas now. Democrats do. And we're going to make them reality. No matter how hard the Republicans fight us. Because we think America deserves better."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


32 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Biden Closes In On A Big Bipartisan Win”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    i'm psyched to read your column, but before i do, i know you're one who appreciates a good talking point, and david litt just popped out a great one:

    the party of personal irresponsibility.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    that's another good one!

    if a guy can afford to shoot 50 million dollars into space, he can afford to help give the 12 million american children living in poverty a few free lunches.


  3. [3] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Can you condense your 'talking points' into actual points? That is, turn 1 through 7 into one sentence summaries, catchy and memorable.

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    It seems Joe Biden learned something about getting things done during his 7 terms in the US Senate. Not to mention his V.P. stint. Compare and contrast to tyro Trump.

  5. [5] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Never in all of creation has so much ink been devoted to what is really such a simple concept.

    The essence of all the discussion in Washington, and all of Chris's voluminous verbiage, can be distilled to one short phrase - 'Redistribution from the more productive to the less productive'.

    And perhaps craziest of all is that it is NOT EVEN A CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT!!! Everybody acknowledges the need for redistribution of income/earnings, the only argument is about the means and the degree!

  6. [6] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    Each of this week's list of Talking Points is concise (and several are pithy) and each one builds on the message of the others. Even the last one, which mentions the Republicans, is a positive message, reinforcing what the Democrats ARE doing.

    Bravo, Chris!

  7. [7] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Just for you Back to Life (Acapella) Soul II Soul (13:34, but 'tis wonnerful.)

    And... Lester's Methodin Clinic (3:50)

  8. [8] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    I Can Dream about You.

    Jungle Love.

  9. [9] 
    andygaus wrote:

    There was a time when Republicans led on infrastructure. It was the Eisenhower administration, when the National Highway System was put in place. Before Eisenhower, you not only couldn't get your kicks on Route 66, you pretty much couldn't get there from here.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    [Effective messaging] is the type of thing that can pay off for all Democrats, instead of just in one particular race.

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally - after all, I learned all about that from you!

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, Don, will you be coming to the party tonight? I need a guitar player ...

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, well ...

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's too bad.

  14. [14] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Can you condense your 'talking points' into actual points? That is, turn 1 through 7 into one sentence summaries, catchy and memorable.

    I believe that Chris can do that. But, wondering the very same thing myself, I've concluded that it's extremely difficult and time consuming to do so. I find that the work of writing is, in the end, about tossing out words, rephrasing and distilling down. If short and catchy were easy just anyone could take five minutes to think up a trending #Hashtag type meme or thingy.

  15. [15] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    When Trump beat Hillary I expected him to be some degree of a disaster. But I didn't shed a tear over Hillary not winning. Although likely a half million Americans might still have their lives I feared Hillary's victory would prove be a setback for Progressivism.

    I figured that all the rah rah over,

    1-First woman President, and,

    2- not clown Republican Trump would allow another four-plus years of Democratic selling out to the ownership class.

    Frankly, Elizabeth, that's what I expected out of Joe. Boy, am I glad that I've been so wrong thus far!

    The ultimate answer to the "Joe -- HERO or ZERO?" question will be, will he pass SR1 For the People Act (Filibuster be damned if thats what it takes. C'mon, Mitch will ditch it the moment he's back in charge.)

    If Joe fails, Democrats are going to find themselves severely handicapped for the foreseeable future.

    And THAT, my Dear Elizabeth, is what I'm a waiting to see. As infamous as Democrats are for not making a strong case for themselves, this failure would be an epic capitulation.

  16. [16] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    AND Saint Ronnie did set aside the Holy Hand Grenade.

    AND thence did He say,

    "Verily, the most fearsome ten words are:

    'I'm with the government and I'm here to help you.'"

    Funny how we don't much hear that every time there's a hurricane down in Florida or Texas.

  17. [17] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Yo, is this a short and catchy enough attempted Talking Point? Or is it, as I fear, still too verbose?

  18. [18] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    ...Having restored Holiness to the Kingdom of Grenada.

    Sooomebody...stop me! ;D

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Hey, Shroomgurl, when are you (in your own gentle Canadian way) planning on joining the "Billionaires in Space Club?"

    I stand ready to assist -- woot!

    Signed --

    I'm a fine Bassist
    But this is the kind of work
    You end up doing
    When you sell your soul


    *Notice: This "Heh" was approved by the
    Society for the Prevention of Gratuitous Usage of "Heh"

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    guess there's no music tonight. ah well. recently received an email i thought i might share. just in case anybody is interested, i recently asked michale what he thought about the 1/6 hearings. the following is re-posted with permission:

    About the incident itself?? Deplorable.. You can read my comments to more fully understand my disgust and sorrow..

    michale's comments on realclearpolitics - he's a lot more fair-minded than perhaps you'd think

    About the ridiculous... kabuki theater that is the 1/6 hearings??

    Let's take stock..

    We've had 14 years of Democrat AntiFa riots and 8 years of BLM riots... and looting and destruction.. Many killed including 8 cops... Tens of thousands of people injured.. BILLIONS of dollars in damages.. Hundreds of government buildings destroyed and burned, many with people trapped in them...

    Democrats were silent or, in many cases, egging on the rioters..

    Then we have a SINGLE unarmed, albeit violent, riot in a SINGLE building at a SINGLE location over a span of a few hours..

    THAT is something that needs to be investigated...

    rioting and looting and killing and destroying government buildings all over the country is justified in the eyes of the [Democrats]...

    But a few hours in a single building?? THAT is an "insurrection"... :eyeroll:

    The hypocrisy is glaring and blatant..

    obviously i disagree with quite a bit of what he says, but i consider it a major loss that we no longer have michale here to give us a different perspective on the way events are unfolding. i mean, donald didn't get 74 million votes from white nationalists - there are legitimate grievances and concerns that he tapped into, and which we ignore and ridicule at our peril.


  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    It's nice to hear from Michale. Thanks for posting that!

    I have invited one person to join our little group who would bring a different perspective here and I remain hopeful they will decide to participate. We sure could use more healthy debate around here.

    As for the music, I'm sorry about not getting things rolling last night but, I'll make up for it next Sunday night!

  23. [23] 
    Kick wrote:

    Today's Anniversary of Medicare & Medicaid reminds us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families. To safeguard our future, we must reject Socialist healthcare schemes.

    ~ Elise Stefanik

    Which one of the other cult members neglected to inform this one about Operation Coffeecup wherein Medicare and Medicaid-type coverage for Americans has already been heretofore defined as a "socialized medicine" scheme by none other than Saint Ronald of Reagan *genuflect* their worship GOP former Hollywood celebrity president?

    The revisionist history histrionics and Red Scare never ceases with these con artist (so-called) "conservatives." If you believe the GOP is going to "safeguard" Medicare and Medicaid:

    * You haven't been paying attention
    * You're the mark.

  24. [24] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    But I didn't shed a tear over Hillary not winning. Although likely a half million Americans might still have their lives I feared Hillary's victory would prove be a setback for Progressivism.

    Funny, if you look at her voting record in the Senate and that of Bernie Sanders, they voted the same 93% of the time. She wasn’t without her faults, but also was not the corporate shill that people desperately try to make her out to be.

  25. [25] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    hillary's biggest problem in politics wasn't her record, nor even her "perceived" record. on a human level, she just didn't connect with enough people to be successful at the highest level of politics. people would not have believed any of the lies if they'd felt in their gut that they knew her and knew what she was about.

  26. [26] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    Your list of things the Deathocrats are allegedly fighting for is nothing new.

    If it was a requirement that ideas be "new" in order to be discussed, your repetitive shit would be relatively ignored... oh, wait!

    And because citizens are not the ones paying for the campaigns the politicians will continue to do what they have been doing as they have not suffered the consequences for doing so in the voting booth.

    American citizens are paying for political campaigns every day, and your outright misinformation claiming they're not is stunning in its ignorance when the names of the millions of citizens doing so is easily searchable and public record.

    Spewing your propaganda while ignoring the real story is not acceptable and I will not let you get away with it.

    I know, right!? I have an idea: Why don't you spend a shit-ton of your time hurling personal insults toward CW and his readers and repeating your mountains of misinformation and plethora of propaganda and outright fabrication in CW's comments section and spewing the same words over and over again and expecting different results while CW virtually ignores your very existence for nigh on a decade; that'll show him. :)

  27. [27] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    American citizens are paying for political campaigns every day, and your outright misinformation claiming they're not is stunning in its ignorance when the names of the millions of citizens doing so is easily searchable and public record.

    The truly sad part is it's this exact data spigot, not only publicly accessible but likely with a decent API, that Don could point at his website have a real presence with value enough for repeat visits rather than his stale ego trip he's been peddling for way too long...

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hillary was the wrong woman at the wrong time, for many reasons.

  29. [29] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    TP #4:

    I think it is a huge mistake for progressives to do anything but support the burgeoning space industries to the hilt. They need freedom at the moment to innovate and the more players the better. Let them do their thing and throw NASA some juicy bones as well. We are way ahead of the rest of the world in what is very likely to become an extremely profitable sector. It's feel good to point at Billionaires and lust after their wealth but Space is likely to bring in much more revenue...

  30. [30] 
    Kick wrote:


    hillary's biggest problem in politics wasn't her record, nor even her "perceived" record. on a human level, she just didn't connect with enough people to be successful at the highest level of politics.

    Not sure everyone is aware who possessed the brains behind the two very successful terms the Clintons -- plural -- spent at the "highest level of politics" in the United States of America, so I'll just keep it simple: It wasn't Bubba. Bill could definitely connect with people emotionally while reading the speeches she composed, but as for Hillary as the candidate, she connected with millions more of "enough people" to be successful at the highest level of politics than the guy who won under the Electoral College with multiple millions less connections. Only in America.

    people would not have believed any of the lies if they'd felt in their gut that they knew her and knew what she was about.

    Biden is living proof that Americans are finally waking up and catching on to the universal truth that a career policy wonk and problem solving candidate can make a great president whether or not he/she is a great candidate and a so-called "great candidate" can make an extremely lousy president.

  31. [31] 
    Kick wrote:


    The truly sad part is it's this exact data spigot, not only publicly accessible but likely with a decent API, that Don could point at his website have a real presence with value enough for repeat visits rather than his stale ego trip he's been peddling for way too long...

    So you're saying Don is a conspicuous combination of gratuitous self-puffery, tedious indolence and manifest pseudo-intellectualism? Agreed.

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Agree, i framed Hillary's failure in 2020 much too broadly. As liz said, there are many reasons.

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