(Headline USA) In a pathetic plea to his base, President Joe Biden begged Americans on Tuesday not to abandon him in the November midterms, even though he has failed in every regard with his policies and lied about his own family’s criminal history.
The speech, on the cusp of another major pro-Trump routing in West Virginia’s GOP primary, signaled a new partisan low for Biden, who campaigned as a centrist but quickly pivoted leftward as a leader, using executive fiat to push the country to the brink of catastrophe with an unprecedentedly radical agenda that failed nonetheless.
Although his purpose was, ostensibly, to address ongoing concerns about the economy, Biden spent the majority of his time ranting and fingerpointing, while offering no specific plan of his own.
He warned voters unhappy with soaring inflation, concerned over nuclear war and food shortages, and outraged over his cavalier disregard for the rule of law and political norms, that abandoning him meant turning power over to “ultra-MAGA” Republicans in the midterm elections as he increasingly tries to cast former President Donald Trump and his adherents as a political foil.
Republicans were, for the most part, quick to embrace the compliment that came with the new label—a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Speaking at the White House less than six months before the elections, the hair-sniffing Biden acknowledged that he could “taste” the country’s dissatisfaction with Washington, particularly over rising prices, but he sought to deflect the anger against him toward the GOP.
“Look, I know you’ve got to be frustrated,” he said. “I know, I can taste it. Frustrated by high prices, by gridlock in Congress, by the time it takes to get anything done.
“The MAGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which they’ve done everything they can to slow down, that you will hand power over to them … so they can enact their extreme agenda,” Biden said.
Biden’s branding of his opposition as “ultra-MAGA Republicans” has emerged as a desperate trope in recent weeks as the White House hopes for a pre-midterms reset for Democrats, who face stiff headwinds heading into the November elections. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that “it’s the president’s phrase.”
His message was seemingly aimed at the listless and divided base of Biden’s own party, as Democrats struggle to keep their voters motivated, as well as at any moderate voters who still recoil at the memory of Trump’s tumultuous tenure in office.
While Trump’s greatest challenges proved to be the partisan attacks against him, however—many of which have since been debunked like the Russia-collusion hoax—Biden’s failures are largely self-wrought.
“Look, I think Biden needs to motivate his base ahead of the midterms. And nothing motivates Democrats like voting against Trump,” said GOP strategist Alex Conant. “Trump’s not on the ballot this fall. But Biden is going to try to convince voters that he is.”
Biden, Conant argued, has little choice.
“They’re not going to run on his record. They’re not going to make big, bold policy promises,” he said, so that leaves villainizing the opponent “and the best way to do that is to tie him to Trump.”
For Democrats, who have unified control of Washington, running against the minority party is risky, as even Biden acknowledged that voters tend to blame those in control for the nation’s state of affairs.
Biden claimed that potential tax hikes under GOP leadership would make it even harder for families struggling with inflation to afford food, housing and transportation, as prices rise at the fastest pace in four decades.
“I want every American to know that I’m taking inflation very seriously, and it’s my top domestic priority,” Biden said, after dismissing it as “transitory” for much of 2021.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., fired back in comments Tuesday, calling on Biden to resign, and deeming him “unfit” for the job.
Scott was the author of a draft plan that Democrats have carped on, although it has not been widely embraced by others in the GOP.
“I have a plan. I mean, it’s real simple,” he told reporters. “I put out my ideas and how we need to rescue this country. He doesn’t have a plan. And you didn’t hear any ideas today. I mean, he says he was going to come up with his ideas and fix inflation.”
In recent days, the White House has extended the “ultra-MAGA” label to broader criticism of Republicans on other matters, including the Supreme Court’s expected decision to overturn the controversial Roe v. Wade decision, sending abortion back to state-level jurisdiction.
The White House has encouraged violent abortion rioters to violate the law by engaging in demonstrations outside the homes of conservative justices as part of an effort to intimidate them into changing their votes.
Biden believes most general election voters haven’t yet tuned in to the midterms and are missing what Democrat radicals claim are “extreme” positions taken by GOP candidates and lawmakers, particularly in primaries, according to two people familiar with the White House’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
They said the president’s new branding for Republicans is meant to spotlight candidates and policies that may energize the GOP’s grassroots but that he believes are out of step with the majority of voters, sharpening the choice facing voters this November.
But the move could backfire stupendously if conservative backers lean into it and take the label as a compliment, highlighting Biden’s failure even to wage a partisan political attack.
The effort mirrors, in a way, the organic “Let’s Go Brandon” movement last year, which gave Biden his own unflattering label. The cheer emerged to mock what some saw as an intentional media whitewashing of an obscene anti-Biden jeer.
The administration itself was reluctant to respond, while others on Leftist media platforms tried to get it censored and complained about the label. That only fueled critics to use it more.
Biden finally acknowledged the nickname while roasting himself at the April 30 White House Press Correspondents’ dinner.
“Republicans seem to support one fellow,” he said. “Some guy named Brandon. He’s having a really good year. And I’m kind of happy for him.”
Speaking Monday night at a Democratic fundraiser, Biden tested out the “ultra-MAGA” messaging with donors, referencing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s moves to restrict some textbooks from being used in the classroom and Scott’s plan to require regular congressional reauthorization of social safety net programs.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said. “This is a MAGA party. This is the MAGA party. And the head of their Republican campaign committee, Senator Rick Scott, the Ultra-MAGA agenda he put forward, he raises taxes on 70 million people who make well less than $100,000.”
As usual, it didn’t take long for hive-minded Democrats to attempt to push their latest messaging into the echo chamber.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was echoing Biden’s line as he pushed for Congress to pass abortion legislation—a move that was widely regarded as another doomed-to-fail effort given the partisan posturing.
Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans and all of their own party caucus to support it in order to pass the bill.
“Now the MAGA Republicans have taken over,” he said. “If MAGA Republicans get their way, pregnant women can lose their lives because there will be no exception if the life of the mother is at risk.”
John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster who has worked for Biden, said it’s important to draw sharp contrasts with political opponents.
“Whether you’re in a governor’s race in Michigan or you’re in a Senate race in New Hampshire, those contrasts become really important, because it’s good for voters to know what each side stands for,” he said. “You’re talking to swing voters, without a doubt, because at the end of the day, independents, swing voters, moderates can make or break a cycle for Democrats and Republicans.”
Speaking Tuesday, Biden, who ran for office aiming to heal the nation’s divisions, said, “I never expected the ultra-MAGA Republicans who seem to control the Republican Party now to have been able to control the Republican Party. I never anticipated that happening.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press