I initially wrote this diary as a comment for another diary: Sororidad’s The many levels of genius in Pres. Biden's negotiating strategy. And, then, just as I was set to publish this as a diary, I read Kos’ diary: Who won the debt limit negotiations? A fierce spin battle currently underway. Actually, this diary is still a response to the first diary, but relates to the second as well.
To Sororidad: You certainly have presented an interesting scenario—which suggests that Biden was in control of the debt-ceiling issue since last February. Personally, I hope you are right. But, whether you are right or wrong, there is a critical issue you didn’t mention.
Ever since last year, when nothing was done about the debt-ceiling issue before Congress took their lengthy Winter Break, many of us were worried, and then angry, about how this would play out.
I was concerned because some well-respected experts who were closely following the debt-ceiling issue and writing about it—including Harvard professor and legal scholar Laurence Tribe, and Nobel Prize recipient and economist Paul Krugman, among others, didn’t feel Biden had a plan.
And, I kept on saying to my friends...What if Biden had a public relations/crisis management team on board? (FYI...I worked for NBC and KNBC for six years at the beginning of my career, and have some very good friends who have worked for top rated PR firms in Los Angeles.)
But, back to the issue at hand, for those of us, whose area of expertise isn’t fiscal policy, and who are on Medicare and depend upon social security, and those who are hungry (food insecurity), disabled, veterans, homeless, etc., and didn’t see this playing out the way you did...Biden’s strategy, which he didn’t share until the last minute, possibly created panic, and furor at Republicans, but also anger at him and Democratic leaders, who didn’t deal with the debt-ceiling crisis last year, and seemingly left it to the last minute.
I can tell you how the debt-ceiling issue affected me, and two of my friends. I’m a recent widow whose husband handled our finances, and I have been highly stressed, frightened, and angry about the way the debt-ceiling issue was handled. I depend upon social security to pay the mortgage on our house, in which my son (who has a number of health issues) and I live, and we have some small investments, which would tank if there is a major financial crisis in this country.
Before Congress went on holiday last year, I emailed President Biden and my senators about the debt-ceiling issue. I urged Biden to tell Chuck Schumer not to allow the recess until this issue was resolved. I also signed a bunch of petitions, although it didn’t seem like I was doing enough, or that my voice was being heard. Due to my own medical issues, I haven’t been able to do more.
I have two dear friends, who live beneath the poverty level, have Medicaid, and between the cost of living and their health issues, they have been in a state of panic that things could possibly get any worse than they already are. He received his second and last kidney transplant four years ago and has been frequently hospitalized for the last two years. She recently had back surgery and carpal tunnel surgery before that, and lost most of her clients while she was unable to work for a year, and is just getting back on her feet. (I help them out financially, but I am on a fixed income.)
And there are plenty of others in this community as well as the country who have experienced terrible stress and panic in anticipation of a default. Most have worried about their own situation. Some have been worried about how a default would affect our country and the rest of the world.
Even if this debt-ceiling deal goes through, we are not pleased that we were completely left in the dark. And, it seemed, by the number of Congressional Democratic House members who remained in Washington in case there was a vote before Congress resumed, that they were kept in the dark as well.
Silence, as a strategic policy, has not worked well for President Biden throughout his presidency.
The overarching problem is that for the last eight years, we Democrats (and the other sane people in our country) have had to deal with an unhinged, vile, traitorous Trump, and the reprehensible Republican cult and MAGAs, who first waged an Insurrection, and since then have tirelessly worked to destroy our democracy and our country. And, Biden was mostly silent about it until his Labor Day speech last year.
Earlier, on June 24, 2022, we had to watch a rogue SCOTUS overturn Roe v. Wade, which had been on the docket for months, and nothing was said or done about it. Expanding SCOTUS had been an option since the Presidential Commission on SCOTUS had issued their report on December 7, 2021. Biden was opposed to it, but there could have been a public relations campaign on the damage that would be done by overturning Roe v Wade…if only he had a public relations/crisis management team on board.
Earlier, there was COVID, rabid antivaxxers (who never were punished), and the deaths of so many loved ones. Then, there has been the high cost of living, which has financially affected most of the country except the dark money billionaires (and I’m not blaming Biden for this; he’s done a great job). There has been so much more, before and after Republicans gained the majority in the House of Representative, and many of us have felt we neither had the personal nor financial reserves to withstand all the mayhem that the debt-ceiling default would cause.
So, while I truly hope that all of our fears about the debt-ceiling crisis were unfounded—because Biden always had a plan—at least that is your thesis, it doesn’t matter.
Silence, as a strategic policy hasn’t worked well throughout the Biden presidency.
The problem is that when Biden says nothing about huge issues and smaller ones, people think he lacks leadership, and doesn’t care about the needs and concerns of the majority of Americans. Still, he demonstrated his concern for us by what he refused to eliminate in the bill.
Yet, while those of us in this community, spend hours each day, following the news we receive here and elsewhere, the rest of the country either reads MSM, or gets their news elsewhere, if they follow the news at all. And, what they have read—if they read at all—is that for months Biden was being slammed by MSM, Republicans, and even Democrats who begged him to invoke the 14th Amendment. And, he mostly remained silent.
The only saving grace (other than the bill itself) is that Republicans were perceived as doing a worse job than he did. A Monmouth University survey released Wednesday finds just 34% of Americans approving of President Biden's handling of the debt-ceiling issue, versus 55% who disapprove. And for congressional Republicans, only 29% of Americans approve the way the GOP has handled the issue, compared with 60% who disapprove. www.nbcnews.com/...Polls show dissatisfaction with Biden, Republicans in debt-ceiling fight.
My point, which I’ve made many times throughout the Biden presidency, is that while President Biden does many things well, his polling and popularity would dramatically improve…if only he had a public relations/crisis management team on board, and would follow their advice.
A public relations/crisis management team is the “if only” I mention in my headline.
In this case, what would have been most helpful would have been to have a crisis management strategy from the beginning about how to handle this campaign, and get people on board. You can develop the campaign even before you have figured out what your solution is.
The way you handle the release of information is almost as important as what your policies are.
And, Biden shouldn’t have remained silent about the debt-ceiling issue for months while he was being hammered in the press by MSM, Democrats, and experts like Krugman and Tribe, and repeatedly threatened by Republicans, who have repeatedly and publicly disrespected Biden, and fear no repercussions, because there have been none for them.
Biden has repeatedly gotten bad press and a lack of support from voters, whom I believed, and still do believe, would respond totally differently to him, if this administration had top public relations and crisis management staff on board.