It’s the classic conundrum; is the glass half full or half empty? If it’s half full, you are said to be an optimist. If it’s half empty, you’re a pessimist. When it comes to describing the Biden administration, Republicans are always seeing a half empty glass.
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If you mention the unemployment numbers, Republicans will point to the inflation rate. Talk about the rising stock market, something Donald Trump was always all too willing to claim credit for, Republicans will comment on the Great Resignation. Brag about the newly adopted Infrastructure Law and you will get an earful about the “crisis” along the Southern border.
You could say Republicans are the Debbie Downers of American politics.
You would think, with all their whining, that Republicans would be eager to offer alternatives to what they see as “failures” in the Biden administration.
Naahh! Why would Republicans bother with possible solutions when it’s so much easier complaining about Democrats while they do nothing?
And what is behind this Republican negativity? Why, none other than Donald Trump! From his illusionary throne in Mar a Lago, where he has an office that he has alleged resembles the real Oval Office (It doesn’t), Trump is issuing almost daily “announcements” both ridiculing Democrats and threatening Republicans who dare to defy him.
The goal of this continued negative message is to bring Joe Biden’s approval ratings down, and it’s working so far. Despite the enormous strides his administration has made in his first year in office, many choose to focus on the negative. However, it should be noted that President Obama suffered a similar dip in popularity only to see ratings bounce back when it came time for his re-election. This is something that never happened to Donald Trump, who never saw his numbers rise above 50 percent.
And it’s not just Republicans who are viewing the Biden administration with a jaded eye. The media and world leaders seem to have adopted a “wait and see” approach as they await the moment to pounce on any perceived missteps coming out of the White House. With the Mango Mussolini in Mar a Lago waiting in the wings, you can certainly understand their skepticism, but there is a higher level of criticism being aimed at the Biden administration than the previous one.
The coronavirus left the economy in tatters. Forced layoffs, shutdowns and lockdowns contributed to massive unemployment. As the vaccines allowed businesses to cautiously reopen, there was the Great Resignation, which threatens to stall the recovery. Republicans choose to focus on this issue rather than a resurgence in employment as millions return to work. They point out that what Biden claims as job growth is actually people who have been laid off due to the pandemic, reclaiming their positions, rather than actual job growth.
Inflation, which is at its highest level in 31 years, is the result of increased demand as consumers, flush with cash from multiple COVID incentive plans go on a spending spree that results in higher prices, and a labor shortage caused by those who refuse to go back to work amid coronavirus fears and vaccine mandates. Coupled with supply chain issues, Republicans are jumping on these as signs of Biden’s failure.
Low unemployment numbers, a surging economy and a positive economic outlook are ignored as the right shifts its focus to the negative in order to sabotage the Biden agenda.
Despite the positive economic numbers, Republicans would have you believe that not only is the glass half empty, but Joe Biden wants to take what’s left and give it to the poor and illegal immigrants.
As pandemic cases decline, Republicans are thwarting administration efforts by opposing vaccine mandates while certain radical members of the party are comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust. As a result, cases remain dangerously high, with Red States having a much higher rate of coronavirus cases compared to those who have been vaccinated in Blue States.
The Delta variant, and the newly discovered Omicron variant threaten to see yet another spike in cases and even deaths. Still, Republicans are opposed to vaccines mandates. They paradoxically use the phrase “My body, my choice” which has been used for decades to defend a woman’s right to an abortion, which is a concept the right cannot accept. It would appear, in order to deny Biden the opportunity to declare a victory over COVID, Republicans would rather risk dying.
Rather then have you believe that vaccines are a way out of the pandemic, Republicans would have you believe that not only is the glass half empty, but what’s left inside is poisonous.
Lawyers, Guns and Money
The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict gave rise to a new right wing hero. Apparently Wisconsin gun laws are so lax that you can kill someone on live television and still get away with it by claiming self defense. Rittenhouse lawyers were upset that Tucker Carlson was given exclusive access during the trial so that, no matter the verdict, Rittenhouse could be portrayed as either a hero defending his Second Amendment rights, or a victim of the radical left.
Rittenhouse was allowed to remain free prior to his trial due to donations from those on the right who saw him as a victim of persecution. His verdict has given rise to fears that others on the right will use this as a means of intimidating protesters who have opposing views, creating a new group of vigilantes who believe it is in their rights to enforce their own form of justice.
Meanwhile, there was yet another school shooting, this time in Michigan where there are similarly weak gun control laws. Last year a group of armed protesters was allowed to legally occupy the Michigan statehouse as they fought to end a pandemic lockdown. These lax restrictions undoubtedly led to the parents of Ethan Crumbley to purchase him a gun, which he used to allegedly murder four other students as he exercised his Second Amendment rights.
When it comes to education, Republicans are more afraid of history books, as they oppose Critical Race Theory, than protecting students against guns.
When it comes to guns, Republicans want you to believe that not only is the glass half empty, but that liberals are trying to steal your glass.
Under Donald Trump, America’s place as a model of Democracy took a major hit. And it still hasn’t recovered. While Joe Biden has sought to rehabilitate our image, world leaders fear that Trump could return to a position of power, thereby undoing any of Biden’s efforts.
During his first trip abroad, Biden declared “America is back”. While this was met with relief by our allies who were constantly belittled by Trump, it was also tinged with a degree of skepticism. Trump abandoned previously agreed upon pacts with several countries during his tenure. If he were to win in 2024, he would likely undo any accomplishments of the Biden administration out of spite.
Because of this, foreign nations may be unwilling to negotiate with the American government. This has handicapped the administration from being a voice on the world stage once again.
No administration showed such disdain for the press than Donald Trump. While he gave deference to those “news” outlets that fawned over him, he treated those who were even mildly negative with harshness and cruelty. He called them “Fake News”, sought to have particularly critical members of the media banned from the White House, and repeatedly refused to be accountable for his actions when confronted.
Perhaps this is why the media has been so critical of the Biden administration. It’s their own revenge tour. At a recent press conference, when Biden wanted to discuss the economy, the press was more interested in asking about his cold. They are feeding into the Republican narrative that Biden is too frail to be president.
The Trump news briefings, if they could be called that, were filled with insults, lies and rants. Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, attempts to treat the press with honest, respectful response. Yet, she is repeatedly forced to deal with conspiracy theory-based questions from right wing media, forcing her to shut them down. This only gives fodder to the right by insinuating that, since Psaki didn’t answer the question, she must be hiding something.
No administration has had a rosy relationship with the media. Some have been downright hostile while others have been a reluctant acceptance of their role. It is so important that the Founding Fathers made Freedom of the Press part of the First Amendment.
Yet, there are those on the right who would have you believe that the press is the enemy of the people, and the only “reliable news sources” are those who share their philosophy as dogma.
They would have you believe that liberals have stolen half of what’s yours and given it to illegal immigrants while inviting you to drink the Kool Aid that is left in the glass because it is made from liberal tears.
Donald Trump repeatedly referred to Democrats in Congress as “do-nothings”. Yet, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has adopted his own did nothing strategy when it comes to the 2022 midterms. He has vowed not to have any governance, and instead points to Democratic initiatives such as the January 6th committee as a sign that Democrats are the party of revenge, out to destroy Donald Trump and even democracy itself.
So, not only is McConnell insisting that our glass is half empty, but that he, and Republicans running for office, are the only ones who can save what’s left and fill it again with MAGA juice.
Half full or half empty, one thing is obvious. We are at a crossroads. If we don’t act to preserve democracy, we won’t even have a glass. It will only be the shattered shards of what was once the United States.