Politics of “Build Back Better”

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
And it just so happens, that for the first time since 2010, we have a D-D-D government to make these changes! And Daddy Joe is willing, for the first time in close to 100 years, make the money rain down. Obama had nice maps, but he was all aboard the austerity train.
The only thing Biden has that Obama didn’t is that fiscal conservatives in the GOP had been sent packing into the political wilderness even before Covid, and even moreso after. So, GOP opposition to spending will be on the allocation more than the amounts. That is it for Biden. Every other angle is working against him.

The Dems barely control the House. They only control the Senate insomuch as they can keep their own caucus united (read: keep everything palatable to the deep red voters of WV and the reddish purple voters of AZ). Obama came in with supermajorities in both houses (and promptly lost them, it is worth noting).

Obama also came in with a lot of political capital in the White House. Biden does not have that in the slightest. It is not controversial to say that the political landscape of the electorate is far more acrimonious than it was in 2009.

Finally, Biden has to deal with a SCOTUS that is far less amenable than Obama did.

So, no, the Democrats do not have a D-D-D government. And what they do have, they have for another ~22 months (barring death and/or retirement, and look how much national attention Scott Brown got for being merely the 41st vote in the Senate opposition), and going too far in any direction will make the midterms very... exciting.

Ironically, though, Biden’s best bet is to just focus on stuff that the GOP could get behind to peel off just enough votes to slap the bipartisan tag on it, and improving normal rail along with the rest of our transportation infrastructure is one of those things.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
The only thing Biden has that Obama didn’t is that fiscal conservatives in the GOP had been sent packing into the political wilderness even before Covid, and even moreso after. So, GOP opposition to spending will be on the allocation more than the amounts. That is it for Biden. Every other angle is working against him.

The Dems barely control the House. They only control the Senate insomuch as they can keep their own caucus united (read: keep everything palatable to the deep red voters of WV and the reddish purple voters of AZ). Obama came in with supermajorities in both houses (and promptly lost them, it is worth noting).

Obama also came in with a lot of political capital in the White House. Biden does not have that in the slightest. It is not controversial to say that the political landscape of the electorate is far more acrimonious than it was in 2009.

Finally, Biden has to deal with a SCOTUS that is far less amenable than Obama did.

So, no, the Democrats do not have a D-D-D government. And what they do have, they have for another ~22 months (barring death and/or retirement, and look how much national attention Scott Brown got for being merely the 41st vote in the Senate opposition), and going too far in any direction will make the midterms very... exciting.

Ironically, though, Biden’s best bet is to just focus on stuff that the GOP could get behind to peel off just enough votes to slap the bipartisan tag on it, and improving normal rail along with the rest of our transportation infrastructure is one of those things.

One advantage Biden does have with Congress, however, is he is Biden and not Obama. Obama's biggest Achilles Heel was that he never cared for the backslappery and negotiations with Congress. Biden is Mr. Backslappery. If from time to time he can peel off a Collins/Romney/Murkowski/Toomey it could be of help. Not saying that will happen often, though, but not out of the realm of possibility.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
One advantage Biden does have with Congress, however, is he is Biden and not Obama. Obama's biggest Achilles Heel was that he never cared for the backslappery and negotiations with Congress. Biden is Mr. Backslappery. If from time to time he can peel off a Collins/Romney/Murkowski/Toomey it could be of help. Not saying that will happen often, though, but not out of the realm of possibility.
I will grant that, in theory. I think the only President who met with his own cabinet less than Obama was Harrison.

The first one.

However, regardless of his inclinations, whether Biden is actually up to the task of negotiating with Congress is another story.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,717
Reaction score
3,097
I will grant that, in theory. I think the only President who met with his own cabinet less than Obama was Harrison.

The first one.

However, regardless of his inclinations, whether Biden is actually up to the task of negotiating with Congress is another story.
Negotiate with the GOP caucus? For what...the choice of epithets they use for this bill? It's already transparently established through McConnell that this will be another 50 + tiebreak vote to get it through the Senate. House aisle-crossers likely counted on one hand with multiple fingers missing. It's wholly dependent on party-line House vote then either filibuster busting or reconciliation to get through the Senate. The Admin. already acknowledges that. "Infrastructure" doesn't change the calculus from any other vote. These are pure nihilists. They've already proven they'll vote No in every situation even when it mortally risks their own reelection defeat. The old days of as little as 5 years ago are dead-dead-dead in this session for any form of other-aisle sausage-making. At least the Admin. seems to be eyes-wide-open that this is what it is what it is for the whole of the time being.

The only bipartisanship here is in the fed-to-state direction on project selection. That's way different and more fluid than Congressional-level tribalism. I not only expect broad cooperation there, but also several Red-trifecta states to get pissed at their own Congressional delegations for blindly following the nat'l Leadership whip. And maybe you get some House members retroactively crowing about the sweet district pork they "brought home" by reflexively voting against it. The relative disconnect between Congressional level and local levels...will continue to be stark, and defining of this particular era.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
Negotiate with the GOP caucus? For what...the choice of epithets they use for this bill? It's already transparently established through McConnell that this will be another 50 + tiebreak vote to get it through the Senate. House aisle-crossers likely counted on one hand with multiple fingers missing. It's wholly dependent on party-line House vote then either filibuster busting or reconciliation to get through the Senate. The Admin. already acknowledges that. "Infrastructure" doesn't change the calculus from any other vote. These are pure nihilists. They've already proven they'll vote No in every situation even when it mortally risks their own reelection defeat. The old days of as little as 5 years ago are dead-dead-dead in this session for any form of other-aisle sausage-making. At least the Admin. seems to be eyes-wide-open that this is what it is what it is for the whole of the time being.

The only bipartisanship here is in the fed-to-state direction on project selection. That's way different and more fluid than Congressional-level tribalism. I not only expect broad cooperation there, but also several Red-trifecta states to get pissed at their own Congressional delegations for blindly following the nat'l Leadership whip. And maybe you get some House members retroactively crowing about the sweet district pork they "brought home" by reflexively voting against it. The relative disconnect between Congressional level and local levels...will continue to be stark, and defining of this particular era.
Then that is the hand the Dems have been dealt. They’ll have to deal with it. No sympathy, its how divided government works. They can either be modest in their aspirations and hope not to lose Sinema and Manchin, and maybe pick up any of the squishes that @shmessy listed, or they can swing for the fences and stick Biden with the midterm consequences.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
Then that is the hand the Dems have been dealt. They’ll have to deal with it. No sympathy, its how divided government works. They can either be modest in their aspirations and hope not to lose Sinema and Manchin, and maybe pick up any of the squishes that @shmessy listed, or they can swing for the fences and stick Biden with the midterm consequences.
Exactly, in life you play the hand you are dealt. This is not a great hand, but it certainly is better than the alternative had Warnock and Ossoff not won their runoffs. Once again, Biden’s Senate experience, personal persuasion talents and bipartisan experience puts him in a better position in thistype of situation than probably any other living Democrat. It may be a very tough hand, but if there is a better suited D alive to try to play this hand, I’d like to see someone name him or her.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
Exactly, in life you play the hand you are dealt. This is not a great hand, but it certainly is better than the alternative had Warnock and Ossoff not won their runoffs. Once again, Biden’s Senate experience, personal persuasion talents and bipartisan experience puts him in a better position in thistype of situation than probably any other living Democrat. It may be a very tough hand, but if there is a better suited D alive to try to play this hand, I’d like to see someone name him or her.
Biden from 10+ years ago. There’s no way Biden is mentally fit to be wheeling and dealing with his former colleagues. That is another part of the hand the Dems have been dealt: the number of members of Congress in either chamber or either party that have the inclination to wheel, deal, and/compromise could be crammed into a crowded charter bus. On top of that, they’re among the more hated legislators and the most likely to get successfully primary’d.

There really is no viable play, and the parties are in the midst of re-organizing, which happens every so often. If they want to score some shiny wins to make their donors giddy, they can swing for the fences. If they want to actually do right by the people, they’ll be very modest in their proposals - which is exactly what effective 50/50 control of the government implies.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
Biden from 10+ years ago. There’s no way Biden is mentally fit to be wheeling and dealing with his former colleagues. That is another part of the hand the Dems have been dealt: the number of members of Congress in either chamber or either party that have the inclination to wheel, deal, and/compromise could be crammed into a crowded charter bus. On top of that, they’re among the more hated legislators and the most likely to get successfully primary’d.

There really is no viable play, and the parties are in the midst of re-organizing, which happens every so often. If they want to score some shiny wins to make their donors giddy, they can swing for the fences. If they want to actually do right by the people, they’ll be very modest in their proposals - which is exactly what effective 50/50 control of the government implies.
Biden from 10 years ago isn’t available.

He certainly has lost his fastball, but even still, there really isn’t another human being alive today better equipped to deal with this hand in this roiled environment.

And I’m not saying this in any partisan way for or against - just simply a cold, hard psychological political analysis.

It’s strange. The US is so incredibly screwed up and has such a broken electoral, postal, transport, etc system - yet by some odd fluke actually elected the 1 human being best equipped (given temperament, legislative experience, personality, etc.) to play this almost impossible hand.
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,969
Reaction score
1,217
Many on the Amtrak proposal are add-a-city that serve to add O/D demand that creates real corridors : Christiansburg, Madison, Louisville, Montreal, or natural small spokes on the CHI hub (Rockford; IND-LVL) and NYC hub (Scranton, Allentown, Ronkonkoma).

Personally I have never liked SPG-ALB by rail since the pike already offers 70mph bus service on uncontested Highways, where a train will struggle to sustain 60. But ALB-PIT makes sense and SPG-BOS does, so you might as well show interest in the whole corridor

The excting thing I see is the inclusion of Petersburg VA to Raleigh which is the Richmond-Raleigh 125mph service on an abandoned ROW that the states (VA & NC) have just finished acquiring and the FEIR is all done.

In a Turn Metrolina Blue, you also see the creation of hubs at Charlotte (already an important anchor) and Atlanta (shockingly underserved today)

Happening at the same time, VA just agreed to a new $3.5b span across the Potomac.
 
Last edited:

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
Biden from 10 years ago isn’t available.

He certainly has lost his fastball, but even still, there really isn’t another human being alive today better equipped to deal with this hand in this roiled environment.

And I’m not saying this in any partisan way for or against - just simply a cold, hard psychological political analysis.

It’s strange. The US is so incredibly screwed up and has such a broken electoral, postal, transport, etc system - yet by some odd fluke actually elected the 1 human being best equipped (given temperament, legislative experience, personality, etc.) to play this almost impossible hand.
But he isn’t, which is the issue. Look at what happened with that video chat the Biden Admin did with Congressional Democrats last month - the moment it was time for them (again, Congressional Democrats) to ask questions, the White House cut the feed.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,500
Reaction score
854
But he isn’t, which is the issue. Look at what happened with that video chat the Biden Admin did with Congressional Democrats last month - the moment it was time for them (again, Congressional Democrats) to ask questions, the White House cut the feed.
I hope you understand that there is nothing nefarious about not making the Q&A session with Congressional Democrats public. Presidents have private Q&As with their party representatives all the time. For some reason they like to keep their discussion of political strategy private, away from the opposing party :unsure:. The unusual part was that the opening remarks were made public.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
I hope you understand that there is nothing nefarious about not making the Q&A session with Congressional Democrats public. Presidents have private Q&As with their party representatives all the time. For some reason they like to keep their discussion of political strategy private, away from the opposing party :unsure:. The unusual part was that the opening remarks were made public.
Got any evidence that he took questions off camera? Cuz non-partisan outlets like Newsweek noted that they just cut the video, and I haven’t seen any official statement that “we wanted to take the questions off camera.”

I’m sure if he took questions off-camera, there should be some Congressional Democrats who have said so.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
But he isn’t, which is the issue. Look at what happened with that video chat the Biden Admin did with Congressional Democrats last month - the moment it was time for them (again, Congressional Democrats) to ask questions, the White House cut the feed.

I you really focusing all this on THAT?????

And Obama wore a tan suit once.

It's a lousy hand he has with Congress, and he may very well fail, but I'm still waiting for ONE NAME of a living being who is better suited to play this.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
I you really focusing all this on THAT?????

And Obama wore a tan suit once.

It's a lousy hand, but I'm still waiting for ONE NAME of a living being who is better suited to play this.
It is an example. You show me evidence that 2021 Biden can negotiate with Congress in 2021. I’m not seeing it.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
It is an example. You show me evidence that 2021 Biden can negotiate with Congress in 2021. I’m not seeing it.
What part of "and he may very well fail" in the post you directly responded to did you not understand?

The question that you continually avoid however is, who else in America is better suited to at least make the attempt with this Congress?
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
What part of "and he may very well fail" in the post you directly responded to did you not understand?

The question that you continually avoid however is, who else in America is better suited to at least make the attempt with this Congress?
Not avoiding anything, I just don’t think Biden is suited to do anything at this point in his life. If I had to pick, I’d say Romney. If I had to pick a Dem, I’d have to think longer, but I could probably come up with someone.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,253
Reaction score
1,259
Not avoiding anything, I just don’t think Biden is suited to do anything at this point in his life. If I had to pick, I’d say Romney. If I had to pick a Dem, I’d have to think longer, but I could probably come up with someone.
You're right. Biden really isn't "suited to do much of anything at this point in his life" - - -really hasn't accomplished much in the past year. Romney has clearly been shown as someone who can kick Trump's ass and control the Q-Anon crowd. (y)

I think we've gone as far as we can go with this subject. Here's to an infrastructure bill that can get through Congress and be a real benefit to America and the world.
 

DominusNovus

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Messages
904
Reaction score
53
You're right. Biden really isn't "suited to do much of anything at this point in his life" - - -really hasn't accomplished much in the past year. Romney has clearly been shown as someone who can kick Trump's ass and control the Q-Anon crowd. (y)

I think we've gone as far as we can go with this subject. Here's to an infrastructure bill that can get through Congress and be a real benefit to America and the world.
Thats giving Romney a lot more credit than he deserves. Honestly, I’m resigned to our politics being entirely disfunctional for at least another Presidential cycle (if we’re lucky) or two (if we’re not). Just the natural consequences of party re-alignment.

An infrastructure bill is about the only meaningful thing I can see either party doing before 2025.
 

Top