The President was folksy and approachable, displaying empathy on the first topic — an update on the pandemic. Biden appeared to sincerely give a rip about regular people, which is how he beat Donald Trump last November. I disagree with most of his policies, but that particular political skill serves him well, and Republicans would be wise to understand how and why it works for him. Biden returned to this note late in the program when he talked about the mental health aspects of drug addiction.
Beyond Covid, I was less impressed with the President. He meandered on the inflation question, and again downplayed the idea that serious people are worried about it. A great many serious people — economists included — are worried about it, and price increases are a real and present problem for working families. I would’ve expected him to be better prepared on this topic.
Biden’s worst answer was probably to John Lanni, the restauranteur, who didn’t get a very satisfying response to the question about small businesses like his which need to hire people but can’t find workers. There’s a pandemic of job openings without applicants, yet Biden seemed to have little understanding of the steps needed to fix the problem, denying that extended and enhanced unemployment was a problem (ask any business owner — it is), and tossed a word salad before moving on.
I found Biden’s “Jim Crowe on steroids” talking point on the voting laws debate to be tiresome and misleading. He’s prone to bouts of severe hyperbole, and this topic brings out the worst of it. There is no chance, despite Biden’s claims, that enough Republicans will want to work with him on voting for the Democratic proposals on this topic. Republicans find this rhetoric ridiculous, and see no need to federalize any part of our election system, even though Democrats want to.
I was glad to hear Biden bring up helping the Afghans who helped American forces, as many of them will likely be left to slaughter because of the US troops’ withdrawal this fall. Biden is right that helping them relocate to America is the decent thing to do.