Biden's annual "winding the ship" founders
This is why they shouldn't let the president have two hour press conferences. Plus: Raffensperger's excellent chess move
Once a year, most years, the U.S. Navy unmoors its oldest commissioned ship, the U.S.S. Constitution, from its berth a the Charlestown Navy Yard, takes it for a short tow in Boston Harbor, and returns it, facing the other way. It’s called “winding the ship.”
President Joe Biden does his “winding the ship” cruise at about the same frequency, and almost never under his own sail. There’s a reason the U.S.S. Constitution doesn’t sail on her own wind, and neither should Biden.
The president had his talking points handed to him, and I’m sure had a list of “approved” reporters to direct questions that were somewhat pre-loaded like cannon shot. This one on election security misfired when Biden refused to say the 2022 election would be legitimate. (Link to Biden’s official remarks here.)
The — Allison Harris, please.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Speaking of voting rights legislation, if this isn’t passed, do you still believe the upcoming election will be fairly conducted and its results will be legitimate?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election. And it’s one thing — look, maybe I’m just being too much of an optimist. Remember how we thought not that many people were going to show up to vote in the middle of a pandemic? We had the highest voter turnout in the history of the United States of America.
Well, I think if, in fact — no matter how hard they make it for minorities to vote, I think you’re going to see them willing to stand in line and — and defy the attempt to keep them from being able to vote. I think you’re going to see the people who they’re trying to keep from being able to show up, showing up and making the sacrifice that needs to make in order to change the law back to what it should be.
And — but it’s going to be difficult. I make no bones about that. It’s going to be difficult. But we’re not there yet. We’ve not run out of options yet. And we’ll see how this moves.
Allison Harris works for NewsNation, a WGN superstation derivative, way down the channel lineup. It should have been an easy layup question to answer. Simply say “Yes. Our election in 2020 was legitimate, despite many concocted claims to the contrary put forth by crackpot conspiracy groups and Republicans.” (Insert laughs here.) Biden’s first words were “Well, it all depends.” Democrats are trying to set up an “I told you so” after this November when Republicans (if the election was held today) surge at the state and federal level.
They’ll blame voter suppression keeping minorities from voting. The real reason will be that minorities did vote, but not for Democrats, but that can’t be the reason, so election-rigging it is. They’ll blame lines at polling places, when most of the polling places with long lines are run by local election boards made up of Democrats, who use the lines to justify claims of voter suppression. Democrats close polling places to save money. Some election boards are just incompetent. When Republicans, like in Georgia, try to address incompetent or penny-squeezing local election boards, Democrats scream “Jim Crow!” It’s all part of the narrative, the “big lie,” except Democrats are much more subtle and skilled at telling it. Well, except Biden.
Biden was supposed to restore faith in American democracy and institutions, wasn’t he? His remarks have done the opposite.
Here’s another misfire, a question about Russia and Ukraine from Jen Epstein, who works for Bloomberg.
And given how ineffective sanctions have been in deterring Putin in the past, why should the threat of new sanctions give him pause?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, because he’s never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed if he moves, number one.
Number two, we’re in a situation where Vladimir Putin is about to — we’ve had very frank discussions, Vladimir Putin and I. And the idea that NATO is not going to be united, I don’t buy. I’ve spoken to every major NATO leader. We’ve had the NATO-Russian summit. We’ve had other — the OSCE has met, et cetera.
It’s almost like Biden is daring Putin to go into Ukraine. In the followup question from the New York Times’s David Sanger, Biden says he believes Putin will go in.
And so, I’m not so sure that he has — David, I’m not so sure he has — is certain what he’s going to do. My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.
Putin does nothing without a plan. I think he’s very certain about what he can and can’t do, and has a plan for every contingency. For Biden to make such a reckless prediction in public is about as foolhardy as some of Trump’s offhand gaffes. Except Putin really didn’t know what Trump would do, so he played things close to the vest. With Biden, Putin shows his cards, because he knows exactly how this president will react.
Pivoting to COVID and economics, which are linked, I give Biden points for admitting he could have gotten more testing done, earlier. That was honest. His tone on the virus seemed to be the right one: “Look, we’re not there yet, but we will get there.” On economics, the president was flinging numbers and statistics without any understanding of what they mean or how they work.
Instead of acknowledging that prices are rising because the government showered every family in America with extra cash, Biden blamed business, and suggested that government can fix supply chain and other problems. To Biden, a lifelong politician who has never worked a day in business, businesses only create problems, and government only solves them. This is, of course, nearly 100% opposite the truth. Government can keep business from being predatory or going too far, but government cannot solve business problems.
Biden pitched his dead and decomposing Build Back Better plan, as if this is something possible to get done before the 2022 elections. It’s not. Beating its corpse won’t get Democrats elected. I’m not sure who in the White House comms staff wrote that garbage, but they should be fired.
We end up with an industry like the meat-processing industry where four big companies dominate the markets, pay ranchers less for their cattle they grow, charge consumers more for beef — hamburger meat, whatever they’re buying. Prices are up.
Look, I’m a capitalist. But capitalism without competition is not capitalism, it’s exploitation.
So I signed an executive order to tackle unfair competition in our economy, and we’re going to continue to enforce it, along with working with Congress where we can.
That’s an easily debunked point, and it’s also irrelevant to our situation. Grocery stores and suppliers are not exploiting COVID-19. They are doing their best to compete with other modes of delivery, like Amazon. Competition is fierce, not unfair. But the talking point can’t blame government for interfering, so here we are.
Biden’s handlers should have let him make his initial remarks, turned the ship around, and exited. They should have winded the ship under tow, like the Navy does with Old Ironsides, and brought it back to the pier. Now we know what it’s like when old ships try to sail under their own power. They founder badly.
Raffensperger makes an excellent chess move
Georgia’s election registration system was responsible for some delays and lines in the 2020 election cycle. Workstations at polling places could not connect to servers, causing delays. So the Secretary of State’s office, which is responsible for running these systems, searched for a replacement.
Wednesday, Brad Raffensperger announced that the contract to build the new registration system went to Salesforce.com. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday that the state will partner with Salesforce, a San Francisco-based software company, to build a system that will store registration records for Georgia’s 7.7 million voters, check in early voters and process absentee ballot information.
The new system, nicknamed GaRVIS for the Georgia Registered Voter Information System, will take the place of the state’s ElectioNet technology that buckled under the weight of high turnout and unprecedented absentee ballot adoption in October 2020.
The CEO and founder of Salesforce is Marc Benioff, who POLITICO called “tech’s woke CEO.” Going with a San Francisco-based tech company with a progressive CEO is brilliant. Obviously, Salesforce has to deliver on the system, but I believe they are competent and will do that. But now, if there are problems with lines or other glitches, Raffs can deflect the blame and force Democrats to attack their own woke counterparts on the left coast, which they won’t do.
Smooth move, Raffs.
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