No, the problem for Democrats isn’t that Americans can’t understand how awesome they are

Recent polls suggesting a 2010 style “shellacking” for Democrats are prompting a range of wild narratives to reframe the midterm elections.  Administration officials and the mainstream media insist that President Biden’s accomplishments are simply too many and too vast to communicate to voters, while Biden himself claims Republicans will crash an economy already in recession.

The sudden realization that the upcoming midterm elections were not going as planned for the Democrats and they are likely looking at a blood path of historic proportions has prompted the creation of another entirely new narrative:  President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have done such an awesome job that the voters simply can’t understand how awesome they truly are.  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg first floated this idea, prompted by former Clinton-crony George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week.  “You didn’t mention one of the first achievements, those direct payments to American families in the wake of the pandemic, the expansion of the child tax credit. A lot of Democrats think that your candidate should be speaking more about those accomplishments from last year.”  Secretary Buttigieg responded at first by touting these myriad accomplishments and rewriting history.  “Well, we are proud of those accomplishments. You know, the things that those accomplishments have done, first of all, contributing to historic job creation under this president, 10 million plus jobs, that’s never happened in this time period in a presidency before in American history. Remember, we have our challenges right now, but when the president took office, we were facing an economy that was at risk of going into free fall. The American Rescue Plan stopped that, and it went directly into easing the burden for Americans with those tax benefits that Americans got, and it went into projects that are improving communities all around the United States. Back in my hometown saw infrastructure projects that they’re doing there with some of that money. ”  I say “rewriting history” because everyone knows the economy was not in “free fall” in January 2021, thought it might be in danger of it now.  Instead, we were in the middle of bouncing back from the pandemic induced lockdowns, known as a V-shaped recovery.  This, however, is merely a minor quibble compared to his next statement.  “I think we run the risk because there have been so many accomplishments, right, the Chips Act and Pact Act and the infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, on top of that American Rescue Plan, you know, in some ways having achieved so much legislatively makes it hard to talk about all at once because there are so many accomplishments.”

In the entire history of politics, in the United States or otherwise, probably including other civilizations hidden somewhere in the cosmos, I don’t think anyone has ever said something quite this absurd, insulting, and offensive.  Absurd because you can list the accomplishments, such as they are, on one hand:  The unnecessary, bloated American Rescue Plan.  The bipartisan infrastructure bill that so far has produced no infrastructure anyone can actually point to anywhere.  The CHIPs Act, which essentially hands cash to some of the largest, most powerful companies in the world.  Build Back Better’s bastard stepchild, the Inflation Reduction Act.  They are united only in their belief that spending money we don’t have is the key to prosperity and if only we spend just a little more, all will be well.  These proposals are so catastrophically misguided that the Inflation Reduction Act includes the hiring of almost 90,000 new (armed) IRS agents.  Was anyone in their right mind surveying the wreckage of the country caused by spiraling inflation and gas prices, and saying to themselves, you know what we really need, more IRS agents?  That is the ticket to paradise.  Insulting because President Biden and his fellow Democrats have attempted to sell these proposals at every turn.  The mainstream media was flush with stories about all of the awesomeness even before the bills were actually passed.  In fact, they attempted to craft a new narrative over the summer that the President was in the midst of an unprecedented comeback because of these bills.  There were events, entire days, and entire weeks devoted to promoting all of this as the cure for our ills.  The President stood in front of bridges, toured factories, gave speeches.  One event touting the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act actually occurred on a day when the latest inflation numbers were released, resulting in an odd disconnect between the shifting narratives and reality.  Therefore, the problem is not that voters are unaware of these supposed accomplishments.  It’s that they have not made any impact in their lives, which means they are either not working as advertised or have yet to work.

This impression may change in the future, but certainly not before the midterms.  It’s offensive because the Democrats are essentially claiming people are simply too stupid to understand the extent of their munificence.  There’s simply too much greatness to keep track of, pay no attention to your bill at the gas station or the grocery store. As if we needed anymore evidence that the mainstream media recycles Democrat talking points, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell was advancing the same narrative in an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just a few days later.  Ms. Mitchell teed up the question by restating Mr. Buttigieg’s position, “Despite all the legislative accomplishments and I want to cite them, I want to, you know, say it’s been an extraordinary session, you and the president have done so much in terms of domestic concerns, the economy.”  Then, she asked Speaker Pelosi to confirm it,  “So, why is this message — why do you think the president hasn’t gotten it through to the voters?”  Incredibly, the speaker refused to answer at first, saying instead that any poll showing that abortion is no longer a sure fire issue to drive the Democrats to victory is on outlier and babbling about Republicans pouring “dark money” into competitive races.  Only after, did Speaker Pelosi concede that fighting inflation was important, though it’s a “global issue,” suggesting it’s impossible to do anything about it.  The answer was babbling at best, nonsensical at worst. She’d likely be considered a poor messenger in any normal era, were the President not Joe Biden.  He went one step further, recently denying any problem at all while eating ice cream. He declared the economy “strong as hell.”  So strong, in fact, that the real risk to voters is that Republicans will crash all their awesomeness.

Seriously, that appears to be the actual closing message Democrats have settled upon in the last few weeks of the campaign.  President Biden is apparently the standard bearer of this new message as well.  He told the Democratic National Committee Headquarters earlier this week, “Republicans have made it clear that if they win control of the Congress, they will shut down the government, refuse to pay our bills, and it will be the first time in our history America will default unless I yield and cut Social Security and Medicare,” he said, recycling the same stale threats of his former boss, President Obama. “They’re flat-out saying that, in order to cut Social Security, Medicare, they’re threatening to default on the federal debt. There’s nothing, nothing that would create more chaos, more inflation and more damage to the American economy than this. … Republicans are going to crash the economy,” he added.  There are two problems with this, one economic, the other political.  First, the economics:  Government spending drives inflation by creating demand that cannot be satisfied, which increases prices.  Economists on the left and right have both concluded that a percentage of the inflation we have experienced is because of the President’s massive coronavirus relief bill passed in March 2021.  As The Hill reported over the summer, “economists concede that the $1.9 trillion bill did contribute to inflation, though there’s some debate about how much.”  Estimates vary, from about 15% to about 50%.  I would suggest a figure at the higher end of the range if only because inflation was low before the bill passed, and started increasing after.  Others, particularly left leaning economists, believe supply chain shocks and the war in Ukraine are larger contributing factors, but that ignores the obvious timing:  Inflation was accelerating before both.  If inflation wasn’t getting higher to begin with, the impact of both would likely have been less, especially when the President chose to follow up with even more trillions in new spending.  He didn’t stop at $1.9 trillion.  He added another trillion for infrastructure, another for global warming, and billions for the microchip industry.  Therefore, any program to deal with inflation will necessarily have to trim government spending substantially.

The political problem for Democrats is even more untenable in the short term:  It’s near impossible to argue that Republicans will wreck any economy voters already think is in recession, despite the administration’s attempt to completely redefine the term.  Voters already trust Republicans more on the economy, after watching inflation spiral out of control with their own eyes.  For example, Politico reported on a new poll on Monday, “Voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on top issues including the economy, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted less than three weeks before the midterm elections. The findings underscore the uphill battle for the president’s party to rally enthusiasm as voters continue to perceive the economy as poor.”  Republicans lead on the economy by 12 points and gas prices by 14.  A speech by the President, even echoed as usual by the mainstream media, isn’t going to change these numbers.  Views have become solidified in the short-term at least based on the actual experience of the average American, who implicitly understands an administration at war with the fossil fuel industry in the name of global warming is likely to increase energy prices as they promised.  They remember when the Biden Administration insisted inflation was transitory and nothing to worry about.  They know precisely what they paid for groceries and other necessary goods before Biden took office and what they do now.  I assure you, they do not think the problem is because President Biden is too awesome for them to understand.  The American people aren’t nearly as stupid or gullible as he and the mainstream media seem to believe, but the Democrats are desperate, knowing that Washington will be a completely different place if Republicans control Congress.  They will say and do anything to hold onto power, from telling you not to believe your lying eyes to insisting the urine wetting your face is actually rain, which might be the best way I can think of to describe this new narrative.

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