Plain English with Derek Thompson - 2022 Is Off to a Terrible Start for Democrats

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Hello and welcome back to plain English.


Today, I want to talk about the drama on Capitol Hill.

This week, the Voting Rights Act, the filibuster of the Voting Rights Act and the way it’s all blown up and Democrats phases.

I don’t really care that much about The Tick-Tock.

What I care about is what this week tells us about the State of Affairs, in democracy in politics, and the Democratic party, and Joe Biden’s presidency, but I don’t think you’re going to get the full flavor without a bit of background.


So, here is the story of the Week as best as I understand it for the last year, Democrats have an eager to pass a Voting Rights bill to counter a few things.

I’ll name three number one to counter Trump’s post-election nonsense to to counter a new crop of state.


Election officials, who seem eagerly open to operationalizing Trump’s post-election nonsense, and three to counter a disturbing number of states, trying to reverse expanded voting a SS like George’s bill, for example, to take away mail-in ballot boxes, which unnecessarily, complicates the process of voting by mail.


So the Democratic party says, alright, let’s fight back.

Let’s have a new Voting Rights Act.

But this week, they failed, they failed because Republicans who are a minority in the Senate blocked.

A vote through a filibuster defeating a filibuster requires a 60-person majority, and there are only 50 Democratic senators.


But Democrats thought, they might have a way around this Senate.

Democratic leaders asked their members to vote to change the filibuster rules.

And if that happened, if that vote went through, it would allow them to move forward.

On the Voting Rights Act with a Well, majority, which they would have.


But that effort also failed it failed because two Democratic senators.

Kyrsten, Sinema of Arizona, and Joe manchin of West, Virginia declined to join their party’s plan to override the filibuster.

Now, a filibuster, remember is a procedure that prevents a vote and the Democrats failed to vote to change that procedure.


So if you want to know how bizarre and just maybe how dismal the state of American democracy, Is right now.

Consider that a pro voting party?

Failed to vote on a vote to pass a law about voting.

That is a true sentence.


But the larger truth.

Is that everything I just told you everything about the last week, doesn’t really interest me.

What fascinates me is the story around the last week.

How did we get here?

How did an American democracy that’s supposed to be the city on the hill, become the world’s greatest kludge.


This pathetic traffic jam of meta votes and votes about votes about votes.

Well, if become.

Really impossible to pass major legislation.

That actually fixes problems in this country outside of a terrible crisis.

And to answer that question.

We have the one and only James Fallows.


Jim is a legend.

He was a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.

He was my former colleague at the Atlantic.

He now writes these very, very good sub stack newsletter breaking the news, and you’re about to hear why?

He’s so prolific.

The man speaks in perfectly finished paragraphs.


I cannot imagine.

Nobody better to discuss the decline and fall of American democracy with, I’m Derek Thompson.

This is plain English.


Jim Fallows, welcome to the podcast.

Derek is a great pleasure to join you in this venue.


Let’s start with this bill.

The Democrats want to pass.

It would make Election Day a federal holiday.

It would create a mandatory period of early voting.

It would make male voting easier.


It restore voting rights to previously, incarcerated people convicted of felonies.

Is what do you think are the most important parts of this bill?

And what are the problems that they’re trying to solve?

I think the most important thing about this bill is essentially resetting a marker for how we should think about the process of voting around the country and I say resetting because in a way, this is the Eternal story of American History front from the start where in the constitution was written, of course, huge categories of people including all women and all non-whites were Were excluded the succeeding hundred plus years can be read as a ongoing struggle for, who would be able to participate in the franchise.


And I think the, the main way I see this bill is trying to undo what happened in 2013.

When the Supreme Court in a notoriously opinion that will go down the wrong way and history written by Chief Justice.

John Roberts, essentially, unbid, the many provisions of the Voting Rights Act Right?


Acts of Rights, Act of 1965.

And so so essentially it is resetting the clock to say what the Congress passed with strong majorities in the 1960s and onwards should be restored to the process of voting.

This is Shelby County versus holder.


The Landmark decision from the US Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act specifically on Section 5.

It states that certain States and local governments must obtain Federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices.

That was Shelby versus holder.


There’s another way that a lot of Democrats are talking about this bill, which is, as a response to a series of State bills and state laws passed in the aftermath of 2020 and that election, and Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn that election, which a lot of people see as pulling us back toward the 1920s, pulling us back toward restrictions in voting that are reminiscent to some of the Jim Crow era.


How do you feel about?

That argument and how it intersects with the Voting Rights Act as it’s written.

I think both those things are true and they both both analyses.

Get at ways in which this issue of voting has been Central America to American history and the way it’s come to a head right now.


There is as you very astutely noted, the the part of the Shelby County are ruling which essentially removed the presumption under the 1965 Laws states, that had historically discriminated.

Committed against black voters, in particular, had to have overcome, some burden of proof, and showing why they were changing their, their voting rolls as was the so-called preclearance for a provision.


So there’s that long-term challenge that disabil is trying to deal with and then there’s the immediate one in the aftermath of the 2020 election, where you’ve had both increase effort, increased efforts at the state level to make it harder for people to vote, especially people who are not naturally in the Republican constituency.


Also, very recently, to potentially tamper with the vote.

So, I think that all of these things are part of what the Democrats were trying to do with this build.

The long Arc of History, the more recent Arc of obstruction to people’s voting and the impending threat of tampering with the vote.


Yea, in the most recent Arc of this history.

It’s not just that some states are rolling back, loading access like the infamous Georgia bill to make it harder than in 2020.

To request a mail-in ballot or deliver mail in ballot the ER, fear for some and Barton gellman wrote about this.


The most recent Atlanta cover story is that Republican state officials run.

The country seemed so willing to embrace Trump’s lies about voting fraud.

And so eager to screw around with the results next time.

If it pleases him like, I don’t want to be hyper partisan here, but I don’t think we’ve ever really seen in decades a political party.


Openly celebrate, their plan to overturn an election.

If their side loses am I being Our missed here, or is this a genuine fear?

So, I think it’s a genuine fear and those of us in the civilian population, watched in the time between election day of 2020 and January 6 of 2021 when the Electoral College was doing its work.


And of course the the Insurrection at the Capitol, we heard various rumors and Rumblings from states around the country of mainly Republicans, who are in control of State legislatures, trying to say, well we actually should be in charge of of The the counting and we will determine how our state’s electoral votes.


What will be will be tallied.

We know, now through the work of Bart gellman and the Atlantic through things are coming out from the January, 6 committee commission from many other sources, how serious this was and how many republican legislators and various States actually signed their names to what they knew to be or what facts would say.


Were bogus electoral certificates.

They thought it was a stolen election away from Donald Trump.

Say otherwise.

So I think it would be rash not to take these threats.

Very, very seriously and for the Democrats and for Americans to see how can we make the Machinery of democracy?


Keep functioning?

I want to ask you a question about how you think about the urgency of this law because I hear two different arguments that I have time.

For, from the Democrat side.

I have lots of time for the argument that Trump has been.

An is a unique threat that Republicans are trying to politicize Sighs the electoral process if there are clear efforts to roll back, access to voting in States, like Georgia.


And that there are alarming number of Red State bills that aren’t just curtailing voting access.

But seemed to, as I said, Empower State officials to scrub the record if they want to change the outcome on the other hand, let me share an argument that I hear burbling up from some people who are in the center, maybe center, right?


They say yes, Republican legislators are constricting voting access or trying to, they are passing or To pass voter ID laws, that would make it harder for many people, including minorities to vote.

They should not do that.

That’s bad.

And it would be a crisis.


If we had clear evidence that these efforts were working.

If we could see for example that voting access and voter turnout was falling, but it’s not falling.

It’s rising.

There was record high turnout in 2020, according to the census, non-white turnout has clearly increased since 2008.


And so this argument Goes Democrats shouldn’t necessarily prioritize voting rights the way they have more than other urgent issues like covid or the economy or poverty or climate change.

What do you say to that latter argument?


So as you would guess or might it might infer, the first of the arguments is more compelling to me that if there are what would be unprecedented in modern history, intentional threats, to the very Integrity of the process.


Not simply making it harder to vote which has happened now and that has a long and bad Heritage in American history.

As a side.

Note in the late 1960s.

I was actually working on voter registration efforts in Alabama, and Mississippi and Georgia because of all the different grandfather test and all the other ways.


They had to keep black people from voting there.

So there’s a long history of that there is not as clear, a recent history of trying actually to falsify or distort or tamper with the results.

So I think it is important.

Want to take that seriously, on the other hand I’m part it is true that that there has been in response to to the threat of some of these controls.


There was a large turnout and in 2020, the 2020 election, of course, was not under the same rules that are being proposed and they these states, you know, there’s these rules are being proposed in response to 2020.

And what happened in Georgia, Etc.

So, I think I would say that it’s worth taking this.


The voting issues very seriously while also recognizing There are ten other crises to deal with the same time.

That’s why being present is so hard turning to procedure.

So the vast majority of Democrats want this this bill to become a law but they fail to pass it this week.


What happened this week.

Give me your brief history of why Democrats came up short.

So the brief history is the nightmare of the filibuster, which I think has, you know, in its is name sounds semi comic.

Its original meeting with a meeting was Caribbean pirates, but it’s Um, quite a significant impediment to the functioning of American democracy in the long run.


And I think that, at one with voting rights.

I, if I were, if I were in control, I’d be taking changes in the filibuster, very seriously.

The reason is, I think the calculations of come out most recently, if you had.

So, of course, the Senate right now is fifty, 50 units, partisan divide.


We have the 48 Democrats into Independence.

Voting one way.

You have a 50 Republican’s voting as a The other way, including on voting rights and all the rest.

The tie-breaking vote, of course, is with the vice president.

Now now a Democrat and when the Senate was set up in the Constitution, the idea was a majority of senators could carry the day except for treaties and except for impeachment, except for certain cases, over the last century, and especially the last 20 years.


This is a modern phenomenon.

Essentially, everything is now filibustered.

So, if you don’t have 60 votes, you cannot Overcome the procedural hurdle as the quaint term goes.

You can’t break the filibuster.

And so because two Democratic senators decided to they wouldn’t vote to to change the filibuster rules.


They measure died.


I imagine some people when they think about the filibuster say we, why are we trying to ditch such an old and a gust procedure?

Like I saw mr.

Smith Goes to Washington.


I remember Jimmy Stewart’s.

And as a matter of fact, I’m not going to leave this body until I do get them set resident.

Will the senator yield Senator yields?

No, sir.

I’m afraid not that movie was in black and white.

This is an old old procedure don’t mess with it.

But tell us about why the modern use of the filibuster.


Is so a historical so new.

So is a technical and historical matter as you know, the filibuster is not in the Constitution at all.

The Constitution says that the Senate will have a certain few things notably.

Treaties and the Constitutional Amendment where it’s a super majority.


And the rest is just a majority, which would be 5149 now or 50/50.

So it’s not in the Constitution.

It was first used at all in the early 1830s and 1840s.

It Rose to prominence and notoriety in the Jim Crow era of the late 1800’s and the mid-twentieth century where I think we’re as the The Cinematic commemoration of business.


Me Stewart standing up for the Common, Man, the filibuster in mr.

Smith Goes to Washington.

What I as a dreaded Boomer aircraft person.

Remember is in the 1960s the likes of Strom Thurmond and his segregationist from the south filibustering civil rights legislation, and but it was it was notable because it was a real spectacle.


They had to speak for hours on end.

And because it was rare, you could count on one hand, the number of filibusters for per year Congressional session.

The rules were changed in the 1970s in ways that were supposed to be reforms in two Fashions.


One was the threshold for wrecking.

A filibuster was taken from two thirds, which would be 67 people down to 60 senators.

And the idea was that the Senate could do a couple of things at once.

It could have some measures that were being filibustered and that it could do other things too.


So the whole Senate wasn’t wasn’t tied up.

The problem with that is starting really in 2006.

Not long ago, 16 years ago, when Mitch McConnell became the minority leader of the Senate, when he had a minority in the Senate, the Democrats regained a majority McConnell, began blocking everything, and essentially every nomination, every piece of legislation, any routine thing required, 60 votes to move ahead, and also is the so-called silent, filibuster, or sleeping filibuster, where you just had to crook your little finger and say, you know, that you you You are looking for cloture, as opposed to doing anything.


And so that has meant this enormous modern disruption, where a majority of our senior legislative body cannot act in the interest of the majority or the majority of people.

They represent there are modern Arguments for the filibuster.


There are people who say, you know, the Senate is supposed to be the cooling saucer of democracy.

We shouldn’t have a tyranny of the majority.

It should be hard to do big important things.

The filibuster stops some things from happening that I don’t.

To happen in the first place.

How do you respond to those Pro filibuster arguments?


So I think II, I call back on the, the augustness of Americans, even older than me.

For example, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.

And John Jay who were addressing this specific issue in the Federalist Papers and then the Constitution because the nightmare that led to the drafting of the Constitution as is rarely remembered.


Now was the article.

Has of Confederation and the Articles of Confederation was a failure because it’s central government was so weak and its central government was so weak because it was a unicameral body required, a supermajority.

And that exact scenario is what in the Federalist Papers Madison and Hamilton.


And Jay were saying we have to get around from the round.

And so the balance they imagined was the executive branch and two houses of the legislature and then the Judiciary, but it wasn’t paralysis in the Senate.

And again, I think the evidence is crystal clear that they thought the Senate itself should be a majority body.


And I think the clinching Point here is the clause in the Constitution that says, the vice presidential have no vote.

Unless the Senate be equally divided that implies the idea that it can be equally divided, then you’d have to tip the balance one way or another.

So I think that that the, yes, there are such things as tyranny of the majority.


And, yes, there are crucial minority rights to be to be Served at at Great cost but the US has fallen in the last 15 years into minority rule, which is what the Constitution was designed to avoid.

It’s become a situation where we can’t do anything big because the 60-vote threshold makes it practically impossible to pass almost any important legislation unless there is extraordinary and extraordinarily rare bipartisan agreement.


So, for example, I look back to the Lee 2020, stimulus relief, bill a really really important piece of legislation that sent thousands of dollars to ordinary families in the middle of a pandemic.

That was fantastic, but it was only made possible by the fact that lots of Democrats in a crisis, agreed to sign on to a republican-led agenda and it’s so rare that a crisis essentially shakes up the, the the normal situation American politics and creates a scenario where Collective will Overcomes the gravity of the filibuster.


What about the hypocrisy argument?

Whenever Democrats say, we need to get rid of the filibuster.

You can bet that within a millisecond Republicans will start tweeting that in 2020 Democrats, passed Or democrats attempted as many or more filibusters than in any other year of American History.


So, Democrats are using this tool.

And then the very next year suggesting that we should get rid of it.

How do you feel about the hypocrisy argument?

So I think the historical record is clear on two things.

One is it is beyond reasonable dispute that through most of its history.


The filibuster has essentially been a tool of of anti-black measures.

It’s been a tool for opposing civil rights measures.

It was tool during Jim Crow that’s been its main use Over time.

It also is is beyond reasonable dispute, that that the recent arms race was fueled mainly by McConnell in 2016, and now both both sides as we so much love saying or are using this destructive tool to magnify there, a fact, but it’s something where, where this was a this was a race begun in recent Times by McConnell and his Republicans and it is is to all of our All of our detriment.


Can I make one brief statistical point?

Which I think Bears on everything.

We’re, we’re discussing.

So this is something that none of us can change, but it really affects the world.

We live in, we live in when the Constitution was drafted in the 1787 or signs of 1787, as you.


Well know.

It was a whole fabric of compromises, the most notorious of which is the 3/5 of a man definition of people who were were enslaved.

One of the compromises was to vote.

Votes to senators per state, whether big states are small states in a big state than was Virginia with.


And a small state was Delaware and Virginia had been ten times as many people as Delaware right now, California has 70 times as many people as Wyoming and the number of the combination of the disproportion and state size and the the recent rise, in the filibuster means that in theory, Senators representing 10. 15% of the population, can obstruct something that Senators representing 80 percent of the population are trying to do.


That is convenient in a partisan way for some people.

Now it is destructive for any democracy in the long run on the epoxy argument John shade.

I thought made up really pretty interesting point.

We compared it to a manager in the American League who wants to eliminate the designated hitter rule.


He said it would not be hypocritical to continue to use a designated hitter.

If in fact, The rule remained in place.

And so, similarly, one might it’s it might be logically consistent to continue to use the filibuster while it exists when you’re in the minority, but also insisting, when you’re in the majority that we should probably end this rule entirely precisely because it’s not just being a cooling saucer in American democracy as it seems to be a cooling saucer an old progress.


We can’t pass any large legislation.

As long as the minority has rule over the majority.

So if we decide that Filibuster Must Die.

How does it die?

How do we kill it as so?

And that’s a wonderful analogy, which I wish it occurred to me two minutes ago.


I’m glad you brought it up.

Also, like the famous meme, you criticize society, and yet, you participate in society.

Yes, exactly.

So, so I think as a technical matter, of course, the rules of the Senate can be changed in a Time by a majority of the Senate.


So if the Democrats or Republicans had a supermajority now, or if the Democrats could even hold together their 50 of those block with with Independence, they could change the rule of the Senate and they could say, well, they were, there are carved out.


Of course, they did that recently for to avoid the idiocy of the debt ceiling, which is a whole different topic we get into and there are times when in emergencies legislators can find ways to invent rules for that.

Emergency, so operationally requires a voting majority of the sentence.


Change those rules and that in turn requires Will turns on these Senators who are elected and that leads to get out the vote and have the votes be allowed encountered.

So Democrats in theory control the Senate, why couldn’t they do this?

Why couldn’t they kill the filibuster?

In exactly the way you just described one could ask about the Republicans and why every single one of them refused to support the Voting Rights Act, etc, etc, the filibuster, but of course, there are two Democrats.


Who are the center of attention, Joe, manchin of West Virginia, and kyrsten Sinema of Arizona?

I think that Joe Mansions.

Both dimensions motivation is easier for the outside world to comprehend than Senator Cinemas, which is he is a Democrat from West Virginia, Which in recent elections, has been the second.


Most Republican voting state in the Union after Wyoming.

So the fact that he is a Democrat at all there, something that could Give him a pass, one of the points that Joe Biden made in his speech in Arizona, which I like better than most people did was his saying that history will judge how people stand on these big issues.


And what do you stand for in the long run as holding a job that important.

But at least Mansion you can say, well, he’s from a Republican state Cinema.

It is unknown to me and it appears to be unknown to the sort of sentient, sentient world, what she is doing because she’s from a Date that aware.


She’s plummeted in popularity as she’s taking these damn.

She’s never said what exactly.

She would take to have her song on with the number of the big Democratic bills and Her speech on the floor about why she believed in the filibuster was I won’t say it was a tissue of falsehoods, but it was a tissue of just grotesque fantasy of imagining.


This would be a reasoning way for the sound to come together.

Which again, no reasoning person can think anymore.

There was a way in which this entire week was a kind of unfortunate microcosm for the first 12 months of the Biden presidency, which is the juxtaposition of enormous, hopes dashed upon the rocks of reality.


And I want to close with Biden.

There was an NBC poll released.

Just this week, where they asked voters, whether they thought Biden had done, quote better than expected worse than expected or just about as you expected and quote.

This is a poor, they’ve done since the early 90s, just five percent of respondents said that Biden.


Had been better than they expected.

That is the lowest of any president.

Since they started asking the question of President, Bill, Clinton in 1994.

As for worst expected Biden, got 36 percent.

That is the highest since 1994 Jim.

What is your big picture?


Diagnosis of what’s gone wrong here?

It’s a job that’s being made even more difficult than it would necessarily.

Necessarily be my one of the habits of our colleagues.

In the press.

One of these habits is is taking the temperature every minute, or every day of how he’s doing.


Which is like, seeing whether you have covid by taking your temperature, every every five minutes or the trends of disease by by minute-by-minute readings.

There is a history suggests to us that most of the things that affect a president are longer-term larger than he can.


And he or she all the way can handle minute-by-minute day-by-day in the White House and it is hard.

It sort of goes against our nature in the press, to recognize things that have not turned into the debt disasters.

They might have you very well know Derek and they’ve written about the jobs quasi Miracle of the last of the post.


Pandemic period, the post onset of pandemic period us.

Where two years ago.

There were headlines about layoffs in the scale.

The Great Depression.

And now, of course, across the country worker shortages, are the main issue, which is a problem, but it’s a better problem than the other one.


Inflation is a problem, but a better problem than the other one.

So I think that Biden his greatest mention.

One other thing about Biden, he is the turn in his approval rating.

Seems to have coincided with his exit from Afghanistan, which I believe history will congratulate him for he was every president.


What you what I learned from seeing a present in action, is that a president spends every minute of his Waking Life, making choices.

They’re too difficult for anybody else to make.

If it’s a 51/49 choice.

Somebody else will make it.

You get only the 50.00 one choices versus 49.99.


I were you going to make somebody mad do something wrong.

Afghanistan was a choice that the previous series of presidents had had avoided as Biden said, and the execution of that.

Exit was worse than it.

Could have been but much less disastrous than the first week or two of coverage suggested.


And and I think so.

I think that was a that shifted The Narrative of Biden.

Oh, a presidency in trouble, etcetera, Etc.

These administration’s are longer than they seem.

Bill Clinton was very unpopular at times.

Jimmy Carter was very popular, you know, at a comparable time is Administration, so I don’t know what the future holds for Biden, but I think, We in the Press, could do a better job of trying to show the world proportionately and it has full reality.


I want to hold on your press criticism before we get back to the macro conditions because you crystallized something for me that I had never quite put together.

I have said many times and do strongly believe that the Press has a negativity bias.


This is an old idea.

It’s not my idea.

When it bleeds, it leads has been said for decades before.

For I was born and but I see this you see it in audiences to sometimes at the Atlantic or maybe it’s up.


You can test headlines and you can try out certain interpretations of reality with a neutral spin versus a negative spin and see that.


With the exact same story with all the same paragraphs 3 times more, people will click on the story that has a negative headline, that a neutral headlines.

The negativity bias exists both in the press and in the audience, but what also exists Is what one could call like a pro agency bias.


A bias toward giving the president a kind of super heroic power to be a hero or a villain.

So, for example, I’ve written in red extremely popular articles about how Biden could or, you know, be the next FDR.

How something he had done was extremely promising, those get a good number of clicks, they’re positive, but they’re extra deeply hopeful on the other hand.


Of course, if people write something about how the Biden presidency is an utter failure.

That is going to get nor an enormous number of hits.

I’ll tell you, what doesn’t get a large number of hint of hits.

And I know this because I wrote this article and approximately seven people read it.

I wrote that, you know, we sometimes think of the presidency as the captain of a ship and that metaphor might be even better than we think.


Because the captain of a ship in a hurricane can’t do shit.

You can turn the wheel this way and that but fundamentally you are the victim of a storm, not the author.

Of your destiny to a certain extent.

No one read it.

No one wants to hear about how the president is the direct object of the craziness of the world rather than the author of American Destiny.


And I guess I just wonder how you feel about the concept of an agency bias in American journalism.

Yes and speaking as one of your constituency who read and agreed with that piece.

I’m glad to say I would go ahead one of the seven Great and there is, you know, Our colleagues also refer to this often, refer to this, as the Green Lantern of, you know, myth that if the president would only do X Y or Z suddenly could solve all these things, our history is biased in this.


They were we read about Lincoln and we read about FDR or read about FDR Bill Clinton famously, a notoriously said that the great presidents.

All had some kind of wartime crisis.

They don’t with George w– Bush.

There were all the sort of, you know, the ways in which key.


We became president at on on 9/11 and the disastrous decision to invade Iraq.

So I think there are parts of of human nature that biases us all in this direction, but I think the Press, because many of our colleagues business is covering the president and who’s in and out of the White House and this Chief of Staff doing.



This is, this person Rising.

Is this person wanting to on the ends are on the on the outs.

You want to think that those things really matter and that as opposed to the my conductor shortage worldwide, which actually is a huge supply chain Factor, as you know, and that Biden couldn’t do anything about tomorrow if he wanted to and Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t either and even Abraham Lincoln couldn’t either.


And so a president, I guess for sanity in that role, a president needs to balance.

The sense.

There are certain things where a national leader will be expected to speak up and say something and do something.

That was one of many grotesque omissions on the part of the, the previous.


Incumbent but also a president is sort of a, a not another orchestra leader, but but but the small town near is roll.

Weirdly is something that a different way.


Dwight Eisenhower who had been a heroic Global commander in World War Two and your largest Armed Force in the other, the world has ever seen that point recognized as president.

He often could do more by doing less.

Us and trying to set the conditions for things do occur.


But not being in the center of people’s attention, every minute.

Yeah, you make a really interesting point, which is the greatest Oracle figures solve tractable problems, and it makes me wonder whether Biden’s problems might be, at least partly intractable.


I mean the president alone, the executive branch alone does not set Global gas prices.

The president alone has very limited control over the month-to-month.

In re the president can say all sorts of wonderful true things about American auto manufacturing, but cannot really set.


The dial for used car prices, which in many ways are dragging inflation up.

Do you think that Biden might just be in a situation?

A little bit of kin to Harry Truman in the sort of crazy post-war period of the late 1940s?

When inflation went crazy as we were totally Shifting the economy from making tanks to making station wagons.


Is it possible that he’s an ass?

A similar position where he just doesn’t have in his Arsenal.

The tools that solve the problems that Americans are currently paying attention to that.

That is a very good point and you can think of other comparisons to me with obvious differences.


Among them with Gerald Ford and Jimmy, Carter, and the first George Bush and it all those cases.

Each of those presidents did with Harry Truman to did very important decisive things, but their political fate was often.


And by things outside their direct control.

And to take this back to where we began the parts of these long-term trends of President really can address are in things like infrastructure, bills and research spending and Broadband.


All these other in educational programs, which are paralysis of governance has made all the harder to do now, Eisenhower could have is interstate highway program and is National Defense Education Act, but he didn’t have a Are working against him in those days, Joe Biden calls you tonight.


He says, Jim, you’ve watched presidencies, rise and fall.

You worked with a one-term Democratic president who was beset by International conditions that he couldn’t quite get a hold of was set by maybe a similar sense of national malaise.


What should I do?

What is the thing that I should say?

And what is the thing that I should do in executive policy?

They would give me the best chance to win in 2024 and Democrats, the best chance to staunch the bleeding.

This November.


I would hurry to leave her easily become a bear.

On America’s Prospect obvious is calling me me for advice because the implementation is, is hard.

And, and, you know, especially dealing with the center, you know, something about, I guess I would reinforce a crucial temperamental point that I think is part of Biden’s nature and can boys.


Him up during the hard times, he’s having now which is that people want to things from a president temperamentally in the long run.

They want a sense of long-term confidence.

Now, think of famously of f.d.r.


And think even of Lincoln, and they want somebody who thinks there is.

There is some way ahead that we can all aspire to.

And I think that has come more naturally to Biden and they want somebody who they think.

Of as empathetic and can imagine their hardships and so in different ways, different presidents have succeeded.


If they present, who have succeeded?

Have conveyed.

Those two things.

I think they’re both more or less within Biden’s nature.

So, I would say, let Gob Joe.

Okay, let’s give each.

Oh Jim.

Thank you so so much.

I really appreciate your time.

Derek is honor and pleasure.


Thanks so much.

Plain English with Derek Thompson.

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