Will Biden fix things?
Despite making bipartisanship the foundation of his 2020 campaign, President Biden is changing course as he prepares for midterm elections.
Since the start of the year, Biden has adopted a stronger tone with the GOP, stating that the Republican Party had changed since he was Vice President.
During last week’s press conference, Biden criticized the GOP, saying it was unrecognizable to him, cementing divisions between the two parties.
During the news conference, Biden said he had not anticipated Republicans would have “such a stalwart effort” to ensure they could campaign on the idea that “President Biden didn’t get anything done,” adding that during Obama’s tenure, “they weren’t nearly as obstructionist as they are now.”
He went on to cite several Republicans who were willing to work across party lines, mentioning the late Sen. John McCain (AZ.) and stating that “back in those days” Lindsey Graham (S.C.) would as well.
Pivoting to a tougher stance makes sense as this election year Democrats have a real threat of losing their nominal majorities in the House and Senate. Therefore, in an effort to reverse deficient poll numbers, Biden and Democrats will be emphasizing the contrast between the GOP.
This is a noticeable change from Biden’s first year when he tried to work across the aisle on matters like the infrastructure bill, which attracted 19 Republicans in the Senate. But since then has led to stalemate after stalemate on matters like the Build Back Better Act and voting rights legislation, with the latter setting budgetary rules that cut out the minority.
Discussing the shift in Biden’s tone, Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, emphasized that it was “a bit naïve on Biden’s part” to think Republicans would not attempt to tank his agenda. She added that it reflected Biden’s unwillingness to accept that the Trump era was plagued with partisanship, making pivoting to bipartisanship nearly impossible. She concluded by saying, “Those days are just gone.”