If Joe Biden wants to stop his slide, save the Democrats and stop Donald Trump, he needs to scrap his current build back better agenda and instead launch a build back bipartisan campaign.
Biden campaigned as the unifying centrist who could bring the country back together again after four tumultuous years under President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE. He campaigned as a more rational Democrat who would never go down Bernie Sander’s socialist hole. He campaigned as a moderate who better reflected the 50/50 nature of a sharply divided country.
Biden’s governing agenda bears faint resemblance to the doddering old-timer who hid in the basement for the bulk of the campaign. Instead of governing from the middle, he seeks first to please the progressives who may not make up the majority of his Caucus but dominate the Twitter conversation.
The socialists who now run the slight majorities in Congress more resemble Thelma and Louise than they do Mansfield and Rayburn. They govern as if they have FDR and LBJ-majorities, but they know the truth. The further they go to the left, the less of a chance they have of keeping their majorities or keeping the White House for that matter. But they are more than happy to drive off the cliff if it means they can achieve even a part of their left-wing dreams.
They are free to have that opinion but Joe Biden doesn’t have to agree. He can govern like he campaigned, govern like the politician that the American people thought they were getting: A bipartisan deal-maker who could whisper sweet-nothings into the ears of Senate Republicans and not always get what he wants, but instead get what the country needs.
How should Joe Biden go about building back bipartisan?
Well, first, he should pull the plug on the reconciliation bill.
The economy can’t afford a huge tax increase on job creating small businesses. The Democrats won’t survive being linked to an inflation-causing social spending bill. Democratic pollsters keep saying that the 3.5 trillion welfare-spending bill is popular, but if it were so popular, some Republicans would be tempted to vote for it, which they aren’t.
Second, he should appoint House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Photos of the Week: Climate protests, Blue Origin and a koala MORE (D-Calif.) to be his ambassador to Italy, and push for House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerFeehery: Build back bipartisan Bottom line On The Money — Presented by NRHC — Breaking down the sluggish September jobs report MORE (D-Md.) to be Speaker. Pelosi is constitutionally incapable of cutting bipartisan deals with Republicans. She does not like Republicans. She can’t stand Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights MORE (R-Ky.). And the feeling is mutual. Her toxic governance of the lower chamber has radicalized the House GOP and broken the institution. Steny is not exactly beloved by the House minority, but he can cut a deal with them, and he can go about fixing the rules of the chamber, so it better reflects a bipartisan approach to governance.
Third, he should stop with the vaccine mandate/vaccine passport nonsense.
As we have seen in the UK and in Israel, the science is not completely settled when it comes to these vaccines. These mandates needlessly roil a GOP base that doesn’t trust the government and certainly doesn’t trust Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFDA advisory panel scheduled to discuss Merck COVID-19 antiviral pill Feehery: Build back bipartisan Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council on Mental Wellbeing — Merck asks FDA to authorize five-day COVID-19 treatment MORE. And, fyi, Mr. President. The vaccine mandates are really hurting your standing with Black and Hispanic voters.
Fourth, build back a truly bipartisan agenda.
The American people want you to secure the southern border. Work with Republicans to find a bipartisan path to fix our broken immigration system, but first stop the humanitarian crisis in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Make it easier for employers to find employees by incentivizing people to go back to work. Don’t make it easy for people to stay at home, playing video games.
Stop the rise in violent crime in our nation’s biggest cities. Denounce more forcefully efforts to defund the police.
Condemn cancel culture and fully value free-speech. It’s not just Republicans who are worried about the Twitter mobs and the Facebook censors.
And finally, push for a fully bipartisan and open process in Congress to make laws. Insist on regular order. Make sure all points of view are heard and respected.
I assume this advice will fall on deaf ears, but there is a better path for President BidenJoe BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE, if he would just take it. Don’t build back better. Build back bipartisan. It’s the only way to save your presidency.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Build back bipartisan Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy Feehery: The 'comfort the comfortable' coalition MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).