Budowsky: What Biden can learn from FDR, JFK and LBJ

Budowsky: What Biden can learn from FDR, JFK and LBJ
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With the nation continuing to be bitterly divided, attacks against voting rights reaching epic proportions, Roe v. Wade endangered by a new plan to turn tens of millions of Americans into private police and compensated vigilantes against fellow Americans, and a midterm election approaching that could put a dagger in the heart of the Biden presidency and Democrats in Congress, President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE faces a critical moment of indescribable importance.

Biden deserves great credit for seeking to create a spirit of bipartisanship and achieving a bipartisan infrastructure bill. He deserves great credit for backing a larger reconciliation bill to address urgent economic and social challenges, and for advancing bold and visionary actions against climate change in the face of virtually biblical fires, floods and storms that create catastrophic health and human damage.

Biden could give a JFK-like speech about how he would protect the world from climate change by the end of this decade.


Like all presidents, including great presidents, Biden has made some mistakes. There is nothing wrong with this. What would be wrong is to not recognize this, adjust and learn lessons to make things better going forward.

Regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal, it was a mistake to not fully consult our NATO allies. It was a mistake to set hard deadlines of Sept. 11 and then Aug. 31 to finish the withdrawal in a way that made the Afghan military, which had borne so many casualties in this war, feel abandoned.

It would have been better to organize a withdrawal with more time and planning to evacuate all Americans and Afghans who risked their lives to help us, mobilize worldwide support for Afghan women, and maximize counterterrorist capabilities against al Qaeda and ISIS.

Biden would profit from former President Kennedy’s experience. When JFK accepted that he made mistakes during the Bay of Pigs, his favorable numbers skyrocketed to over 90 percent. When he applied lessons learned to the Cuban missile crisis, he saved the world from nuclear war.

Regarding voting rights, the Republican attacks in countless states constitute extreme hyper-partisanship designed to steal the 2022 midterms.  


Biden is right: This is part of the most aggressive attacks against democracy since the Civil War. Democrats largely accepted proposals from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Poll from liberal group shows more voters in key states back .5T bill Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (D-W.Va.) to modify the bill. For Manchin to support a filibuster against his own proposals, or for the president to support a filibuster against legislation he vows to support so strongly, would surrender to anti-democracy attacks seeking to destroy his presidency and defeat Democrats in the 2022 midterms, and create outrage throughout the Democratic Party and all who support civil rights.

Similarly, if Democrats champion a bill to reverse the Texas policy of turning Americans into private police and paid vigilantes against other Americans, which offended even pro-life Chief Justice John Roberts, a filibuster against this would offer unpardonable support to the practices the president harshly condemns, and provoke outrage from women who deserve and demand protection from the evils the Texas law embodies.

On these issues, and the pending $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, Biden could learn from former Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson and make a forceful effort to seek a fair Democratic unity. It should be possible to agree on a spending bill that may be modestly lower than $3.5 trillion, and reduced by tax increases from those who can well afford them, but maintain the core of that bill that would do so much good for our people and the national economy.

While reasonable compromises can address the concerns of Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaWhy Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong House Democrats set 'goal' to vote on infrastructure, social spending package next week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (D-Ariz.), Biden should vigorously emphasize to them that with a Congress so closely divided, there are 48 other Democratic senators and more than 200 Democratic House members who deserve the same respect they do.

Biden should forcefully emphasize to them that if Democrats do not hang together today, in the 2022 midterm elections, they will all hang separately.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.