The Corner

Politics & Policy

Has Joe Biden Lost All of His Leverage?

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, D.C., October 4, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Biden visited Howell, Michigan yesterday to tout the infrastructure bill and “Build Back Better” legislation. This is a traditional presidential move when trying to get a big bill passed, but the destination was a little odd; Michigan has two Democratic senators who are reliable votes for both bills, no matter the details. Tomorrow Biden is scheduled to visit Chicago, Illinois “promote his vaccination mandate for large businesses.” (Say, where is that OSHA regulation, anyway? It was announced a month ago…)

Considering how the pandemic kept Biden behind closed doors and away from crowds for the better part of two years, it is good to see the president getting out of Washington again. But if these events are designed to help unite and galvanize Democrats behind Biden’s legislative agenda… how much good does it do to go to Michigan? It’s not like Debbie Stabenow or Gary Peters are the real obstacle.

Then again, with Biden’s job approval rating hitting a an abysmal 38 percent in the latest Quinnipiac survey today, does Biden really have any leverage over any wavering Congressional Democrat? If Biden went to Arizona – where Civiqs polling found he has a 39 percent approval rating – would senator Kyrsten Sinema feel significant pressure to compromise? If Biden went to West Virginia, where Civiqs polling found he has a 19 percent approval rating, and no, that is not a typo – would Joe Manchin feel any more pressure to compromise? Highly unlikely.

Biden is effectively going through the motions, pretending to be a much more popular, much more persuasive president, and just hoping that some other factor somehow gets Sinema and Manchin to sign on to a proposal that would please 218 House Democrats and the other 48 Democratic senators.

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