Today sees dawn rise on change in America. Like Martin Luther King,. I have a dream, that through some hard work and out of the box thinking, the new Administration can make changes that will soothe the soul of America. It’s not going to be easy that’s for sure. However, having watched and listened to Joe on Inauguration Day, I am sure that it won’t be for lack of trying, if America doesn’t benefit from a more equitable society over the next 4 years. Change is never easy, add to that, in the Trump era, Republicans struck gold tapping into the racist underbelly of America. It yielded, so much money and so many votes, that there is no way that the likes of Josh Hawley will be able to resist keep feeding the beast. Cruz and Hawley both attended the inauguration. So one thing we have learned for sure, is they are not conviction politicians. If they were, they would have stayed away on principle. They are and always will be, political opportunists, who will use every opportunity to advance their self serving objectives, rather than to dutifully represent those who elected them to public office. There is no question, that they will continue to feed the beast that Trump left behind. What’s interesting, is that the power of social media has really come to the forefront. The removal of Trump’s voice, has clearly calmed the flow of hatred, disinformation and division. It’s NOT gone away, but it has stopped the arterial bleed that was so damaging. There is hope, hope that effective policy changes, can sew seeds of change for a better tomorrow. The challenge now, is getting nominees for key posts through the Senate.
Before we look at policy options, it's worth a closer look at this restriction of social media for radical right accounts. As we know, the right are now screaming it is limiting free speech. It's a really interesting area of discussion for me because, I am a big believer in first amendment rights. I might hate what you have to say, but I respect your right to say it. It is a widely held position and nobody wants to limit free speech. However, Trump as ever, learned how to exploit social media and its mission statement, to respect freedom of speech. This then opened the door to shattering the unwritten rule that users of these platforms would stay within societal norms when it came to abusing freedom of speech. Once you have a world leader who sticks two fingers up at norms, the result is what we have sadly had to witness. It's not for nothing that the Trump administration viewed daily press briefings as unnecessary. Press briefings lead to uncomfortable questions and to being held to account. What can be better that being able to reach tens of millions of people from your armchair without any accountability whatsoever.
We all have the the right to free speech, it should be a right and I for one, don't dispute that. However, if it can be proved beyond doubt, that disinformation has been directly responsible for causing public harm, then your right to continue to do that harm should be removed. The removal of Trump from these platforms, did not require legislation. Private companies, after examining the reputational damage implications, effectively took a public safety position. For those Republicans screaming that it's a slippery slope, I say. look at the evidence. Since Trumps access was denied, misinformation relating to electoral integrity, has fallen by over 70%. The direct result, is that tempers are cooled and this gives people time to step back and reflect. I was struck today by reporting, that fervent MAGA loyalists are asking the simple question. What happened? They want to know why Trump is still not in power, given all the promises that the election would be overturned. There appears to be some acceptance now, that they have been lied to. No shit Sherlock! Trump walked away with well over $200 million for his trouble and those lied to, are left looking idiots as well as being out of pocket.
The sad truth is, that elected members who supported Trump and were prepared to overturn the election, have no intention of losing touch with Trump's base. This is why they need access to mainstream social media. Fringe media simply doesn't have the reach they need and this is why they are screaming. I say let them scream. Every day they are away from that base means the connection to it becomes more fractured. Eventually, the base will recognise their gullibility and this will make it very difficult to raise small donations from them moving forward. I get the distinct feeling they'll be saying, if you want money, get from that bastard Trump who stole it from me on a lie.
Enough talk of him who's name will not be mentioned moving forward. Let's look at the new administration and its first steps forward in the quagmire left behind by the previous resident of the White House, (you see how creative I'm getting at not saying his name?). There is little question that President Biden has a big uphill challenge and in a world where everyone wants results yesterday, i really do find it hard to articulate just how difficult the road ahead is. The first rule of moving forward for any administration, is get a good Press Secretary. It is with great joy that I can announce 'job done'. Jen Psaki is top drawer. If you want a little more background read this I hope you can access it, as it's a piece in a UK newspaper. Let me know if it's a problem and I'll provide alternative reference points. The long and short, is that she is a great choice. Press will find her no pushover, but she'll be fair and always show them respect. I could go on about the rest of the communications team, but it would not really advance our conversation, I have to say however, that I would have chosen CJ Crregg and had Toby Ziegler as director of communications, but you'd accuse me of not living in the real world.
Indications are, that the previous administration left behind chaos on a lot of fronts and I'm sure more problems will be uncovered on a daily basis. Biden is on the money with his executive action approach to begin with. It has the effect of halting stupid things that he who shall not be named did, just to cause disruption. The team have obviously been doing a lot of background work to allow them to present the bullet points for action. It's worthy of note that Joe is not a young man, but his natural enthusiasm is inspiring. He's an old school collegiate advocate, you don't imagine him going down the unilateral route. Whilst that is a very positive indication, it does raise a small number of red flags with me. In particular, I do worry about his current unity position, as it applies to reaching across the aisle. I fear his trusting nature will play into the strengths of the ruthless GOP political machine. However, I don't have enough evidence at this time to feel confident about commenting.
Biden is absolutely right to place Covid 19 front and centre of his priorities. This is where executive action can come into it's own, as he uses his awesome presidential power for GOOD. There's no promoting companies or products. It's just a do it, because the President of United States says so. It enables him to hit the ground running, be and be assertive. The great thing about executive action, is that no Republicans are required. That brings me nicely to Republicans and their age old discovery of their fiscal conservative roots, after having handed over trillions of dollars to corporate America. I prefer to call it Republican fiscal amnesia. Their fiscal conservative credentials are a little like a teenager's fake ID, it's not convincing and has absolutely no value. If there's one thing you can bet the bank on, it's Republicans getting in the way of spending money they think is theirs for their next term. It's nonsense and it brings me to one of my real pet hates. Democrat messaging..
At this difficult time when Americans are facing financial hardship and low income families and communities of color are suffering a disproportionate number of deaths from Covid 19, I would be structuring policy proposals that make Republicans vote on everything that paints them in a bad light. It's no surprise that Joe's $1.9 trillion relief package is unacceptable to Republicans, it's who they are. I personally would have gone in with $2.5 trillion and start there. Democrats messaging should be constantly on the case of comparing everything with the huge tax giveaway of the last administration. This is an interesting read, of the disaster that was the REPUBLICAN giveaway. The message should ring around the nation, if it's good enough for corporate America to be given money to buy back stocks, it's good enough to keep people n heir homes and feed their children. I would have it on every billboard in the land. If a news anchor talked to me about what color shirt I had on, I'd find a way of comparing it to poor families that can't buy clothes for their kids because of unnecessary tax giveaways. Republicans have been fiscally reckless for almost the duration of their term in office and that would be be my message every hour of every day. They have no fiscal credibility so make sure everyone knows it.
Let me assure you that the proposed Kumbaya approach to politics is a sham. They have absolutely no intention of playing nice. They just want to stall Democrats. Republicans still control key Senate committees because no power sharing agreement has been reached. Rest assured Republicans will be in no rush press on. The lack of cooperation in transition has already delayed key confirmations. For Democrats to be in a position to press forward with Biden's agenda, they need to get all these delaying tactics behind them and that is not going to be easy, as I see it.
I had intended to get onto infrastructure today, but i wanted to set the stage for a wider discussion on policy. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there.