Thursday, September 30, 2021

Last Call For Biden, Ridin' Again

 President Joe Biden has rebounded from his August polling lows as it turns out Afghanistan wasn't the "disaster" that everyone predicted.
Since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan a month ago, President Biden's approval rating has recovered some in the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Last month, just 43% of survey respondents approved of how he was doing his job and a majority — 51% — disapproved. Since then, Biden has gained back some of that, drawing to about even, with 45% approving and 46% disapproving.

"Some of it had to do with the proximity of Afghanistan, and that has sort of faded a little bit and is not as prominent in people's minds," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll. Miringoff said Biden appears now to be at "more of a plateau" rather than a continued decline.

The survey of 1,220 adults was conducted from Sept. 20 through Sunday and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points, meaning Biden's approval rating could be about 3 points higher or lower. The 7-point net change in his approval rating from one month to the next is slightly outside the margin of error.

Biden's somewhat-recovered numbers come from registered Democrats and independents. Miringoff noted that Republicans are essentially maxed out in their disapproval of Biden, and that of the 9% of respondents unsure of how they feel about the job the president is doing, many are Democratic-leaning voters.

"There are still some Democrats on the table," he said. "Those are winnable people. If he can get past this current congressional battle, there's the potential some of them could come home."

Democrats on Capitol Hill are currently negotiating with themselves over two massive spending bills. Centrists want the price tag of one bill to come down, while progressives want as much investment as they can get in infrastructure, social spending, climate and other measures while Democrats retain control of Congress.
If Biden can deliver the Good Package, things are going to take a major turn upwards for Democrats in general.
If he can't, well...

Cuomo's #MeToo Moment, Con't

Disgraced abuser and former NY Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't out of the woods yet, and could be facing a new round of legal action when the state's General Assembly investigation's completed report on the harassment claims against Cuomo lands next month.
In the weeks before and after his resignation as governor, Andrew M. Cuomo defended his behavior, deflected blame and tried to discredit Letitia James, the state attorney general who concluded that he had sexually harassed multiple women while in office.

As Ms. James put it this week, Mr. Cuomo “has never taken responsibility for his own conduct.”

“He has never held himself accountable for how his behavior affected our state government,” Ms. James, a fellow Democrat, said on Wednesday during a breakfast with powerful business and civic leaders in Manhattan.

She added, “No one is above the law.”

Ms. James’s findings are expected to serve as a blueprint for a far-ranging investigation by the State Assembly that is in its final stages. A report is expected to be made public in October, according to a person familiar with the inquiry who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Some lawmakers briefed on the inquiry said that a portion of the Assembly’s investigation would largely mirror the findings of the state attorney general’s 163-page report, which concluded that Mr. Cuomo fostered a toxic work environment and sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former female staffers.

State lawmakers started the investigation six months ago to potentially impeach Mr. Cuomo, but they pledged to finish the inquiry even after he left office, eager as they are to move past one of the most tumultuous phases in New York political history.

The final report could revive calls among some lawmakers to impeach Mr. Cuomo to prevent him from running again, though that seems unlikely. Carl E. Heastie, the speaker of the Assembly, has argued it would be unconstitutional to impeach a governor out of office, and many Democrats see impeachment as an unnecessary distraction.

Even so, the culmination of the investigation will allow Democratic lawmakers to close a chapter of the Cuomo scandals, which overshadowed the Legislature’s work and tormented the party, and turn their full attention to the state budget, the redistricting process and next year’s elections.

For Mr. Cuomo, the outcome of the inquiry could cement the stain of the sexual harassment allegations on his legacy, and lead to additional fallout: The investigation is also scrutinizing whether Mr. Cuomo deliberately obscured the number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic or unlawfully used state resources to write his pandemic memoir, which earned him $5.1 million.

Assemblyman David Weprin, a Democrat from Queens, said the investigation “is going to reach a conclusion similar to some of the findings of the attorney general.”
Either way, Cuomo's in a lot of trouble, and could very well end up in prison.
If only Republicans faced actual consequences like these.

The Good Package, Con't

We're headed for the part where Dems crater and fail on the infrastructure bills, as they have time and again, and Steve M. expertly and eloquently explains why:

We can't have nice things because in order to have nice things we have to fight capital. And this is how capital fights -- not by sending out a rich man who looks like Gordon Gekko to say, "Give me all the nice things!," but by deploying someone more sympathetic as the alleged voice of reason. Thirty years ago, I used to read William Greider writing about how fat cats would send small business men to lament the harm that a liberal bill would do to them, when the bill's real targets were actually the fat cats themselves. Want to raise the estate tax on the Kardashians? Think of the poor family farmers!

In this fight, they sent out Manchin, who's meant to stand in for dirt-poor West Virginians in coal country, people presumed to have the elemental values of hard work and thrift. (Don't laugh -- much of America believes that narrative.) Sinema stands in for ... um, I don't know what she stands in for. Maybe she's the kooky upstairs neighbor in a beloved sitcom. But she says that all those liberals in Washington, D.C., like that big spending, but she's a moderate, dammit, and she doesn't trust it! And more people than we'd like to believe fall for that. (At least one Arizona poll shows Sinema with higher statewide approval ratings than Arizona's other Democratic senator Mark Kelly.)

Capital knows how to run this play, which works nearly every time. Capitalism knows how to buy politicians like Manchin and Sinema so they stay bought. For capital, this is a fight to the death. And capital is on the verge of victory -- not just the death of the reconciliation bill but full Republican control of D.C. by 2025.

Old liberals with New Deal dreams should have known capital would find a doomsday weapon, but they didn't. Progressives absolutely should have known the same thing, but they didn't.

The liberals don't want to openly blame capitalists for this impasse -- they believe you can establish detente with capitalism, taking their money while curbing their greed. Progressives -- people who have no illusions about capitalism -- really should have anticipated how hard this fight would be.

Democrats of all stripes need to tap into the anti-elitist anger of Americans, which polls say is actually quite high. But that hasn't happened. Capital has tapped into Americans' anti-spending skepticism instead, while buying off just enough politicians to be on the verge of victory. And that's why we are where we are.

In the end, the corporate lobbyists always, always, always win. There is never any reason to think it will ever end differently.  They will buy off who they need, and we will keep electing both the same people like Manchin, the only Dem who could possibly win in blood-red Trump +25 WV, and different people like Sinema, who is a former Green progressive herself.

They both had a price, and they were both bought. Lobbyists don't need to buy anyone else if they have two in pocket, they win every time, because the entire GOP is already working for them.

When the lobbyists get 51 votes in the Senate, they can stop anything. That's been the case for all of my natural life.


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