Joe Biden's 'master plan' is remarkably simple

Joe Biden's 'master plan' is remarkably simple
President Joe Biden walks with his dogs Major and Champ in the Rose Garden of the White House Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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Having recently signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, President Joe Biden is now heavily focused on the next project for his Build Back Better agenda: an ambitious, far-reaching infrastructure package. According to journalist G. Elliot Morris, Biden's "master plan" is to "do popular stuff and tell people about it." And reporters Natasha Korecki and Megan Cassella, this week in Politico, examine Biden's efforts to sell the plan to Congress — stressing that suburban women are a key part of his outreach.

In his blog, Morris — author of the forthcoming book, "Strength In Numbers: How Polls Work and Why We Need Them" — explains, "Biden's White House has highlighted many polls showing the popularity of the administration's position on things like social spending and his response to COVID-19. The White House and (the Democratic National Committee) even used my own work for The Economist, showing the historic popularity of the American Rescue Plan, in their memos to the public. Their strategy regarding Biden's proposed infrastructure spending bill looks to be shaping up along similar lines."

According to Morris, the things Biden has been promoting since becoming president — COVID-19 relief, revitalizing the United States' infrastructure — poll favorably. And making sure voters are well-aware of what he is promoting is an important part of Biden's game plan, Morris emphasizes.

Of course, Biden's infrastructure ambitions are not a done deal. He still has to convince enough members of Congress that his proposals are worth voting in favor of.

Korecki and Cassella, in Politico, note, "The massive outreach campaign, detailed to Politico by several senior White House officials, comes as the Biden administration attempts to move a behemoth spending package across the goal line, just weeks after winning approval from Congress for its $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Republicans have already cast it as a money grab, layered in unnecessary spending and tax hikes, but White House officials are betting that approach will backfire."

The Politico reporters lay out some reasons why suburban women are so important to selling Biden's infrastructure plan, which according to "White House officials…. goes far beyond fixing roads and bridges."

Korecki and Cassella note, "It's about expanding elder care to help suburban moms sandwiched between taking care of ailing parents and home-bound children, they say…. (and) improving broadband networks for families in rural areas who've been stuck trying to work and study from home with shoddy networks."

Members of Biden's administration who have been busy promoting his infrastructure plan include Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — one of the people Biden competed with during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told Politico, "The pandemic has put into stark relief the deficiencies in our infrastructure that people are living with day in and day out. Internet is one of the most obvious.… If you look at the public polling, the country agrees — the vast majority of people, including the majority of Republicans, think that we need to make infrastructure investment."

Bedingfield notes that Biden decided to break his infrastructure goals down into two separate proposals: the $2 trillion "American Jobs Plan" that he unveiled last week, and a forthcoming "American Families Plan."

Bedingfield told Politico, "There's no question that a lot of pieces of this package resonate with suburban women who have been juggling the needs of their families and their jobs during the last year. The work-life balance is never an easy one to strike, but the demands that have been put on families during the pandemic have made it nearly impossible for many women."

Morris points out that openly using polls to promote his agenda sets Biden apart from some U.S. presidents of the past —for example, President George W. Bush, who according to Morris, "famously hated looking like a follower of public opinion — all the while keenly listening to pollsters and advisors on what policies to emphasize or shy away from."

Biden, in contrast, will use members of his administration — including Buttigieg and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki — to stress that he is giving the voters what they want:

"In comparison to past administrations," Morris writes, "the Biden White House seems particularly keen on both being responsive to the attitudes of the people, and letting the people know they're listening…. Joe Biden's use of the polls to both (a) set his administration's agenda, and (b) push for that agenda is actually quite historically significant."

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