During a nearly two-hour press conference Wednesday, President Joe Biden posed a piercing question as he addressed reporters in the White House East Room: “What are Republicans for?”
"What are they for? Name me one thing they are for?" Biden queried in response to a question about progress on his agenda.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was stumped by the question when he was asked later on Wednesday what Republicans plan to do if they regain the Senate majority this fall.
"That is a very good question," responded McConnell, "and I'll let you know when we take it back."
Sorry, voters, no word on what Republicans plan to do, no benchmarks, no expectations to meet. Just a constant reiteration of the fact that Republicans no longer stand for policies, let alone feel obligated to articulate them to voters. Hiding their agenda is, in fact, official policy after McConnell refused in December to release a 2022 legislative agenda for his caucus.
So Biden's point about Republicans is right on the mark. Later in the press conference, Biden asked the same question of McConnell specifically.
“The fundamental question is: What’s Mitch for? What’s he for on immigration? What's he for? What's he proposing?" Biden posited.
McConnell's answer: Nothing.
During the press conference, Biden noted that between passing $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief funds and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, he had accomplished a historic amount in his first year in office.
"Can you think of any other president that has done as much in one year?" Biden asked reporters. "Name one for me. I'm serious," Biden said, adding that reporters have focused on the notion that "nothing's happened."
But Biden also admitted that he had underestimated the entrenched opposition of Republicans, particularly in the Senate, to working with him to solve the nation's problems.
"One thing I haven't been been able to do so far is get my Republican friends to get in the game of making things better in this country," he said.
To punctuate the point, Biden the quoted from an interview in which New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu explained why he had decided not to run for his state’s U.S. Senate seat this cycle.
After consulting with many Republican senators about what the job would entail in his first two years in office, Sununu told the Washington Examiner, "They were all, for the most part, content with the speed at which they weren't doing anything. It was very clear that we just have to hold the line for two years."
Sununu said he was "bothered" by that posture, so he posed another question. “I said, ‘OK, so if we're going to get stuff done if we win the White House back, why didn't you do it in 2017 and 2018?’” The only response according to Sununu: “Crickets. Yeah, crickets ... They had no answer.”
Biden's point was that even a Republican who was eyeing a Senate bid—and was indeed a top recruit for McConnell—found Senate Republicans too reprehensibly useless to join.
"I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done," the president explained.
Over the first several weeks of January, President Biden has begun to build a strong case against Republicans. He has impugned their promotion of Trump’s election fraud lies, their betrayal of the country on Jan. 6, and their efforts to subvert the will of the people at the ballot box. On Wednesday, Biden asked a simple question about what Republicans stand for and, in an ultimate insult to voters, McConnell declined to even give an answer.
The truth is, the GOP no longer supports a consistent set of policies. What they have done is coalesce around an ideology: dictatorial takeover of government from the Supreme Court all the way down to engineering electoral outcomes at the state level.
In a word: Fascism. That's what Republicans stand for.