(Video Credit: CNN)
CNN host Anderson Cooper spoke with New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod Friday night about the damage caused to the Democratic Party by months of drawn-out negotiations over President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
The panel was beside themselves as the evening dragged on and Biden’s infrastructure bill had not passed in the wake of this week’s massive election losses for Democrats.
But with the help of 13 Republicans, the House finally passed the bill just before midnight and it is now on its way to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Conservatives are furious over moderate Republicans who backed the bill against their own party’s wishes.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 6, 2021
Cooper asked Haberman as they waited on a vote, “How much trouble are Democrats making for themselves tonight?”
“This is problematic,” Haberman remarked. “I don’t know how the average voter understands any of this… All they can see is that something is not getting done.”
“You know, there are mixed results, you can — you can read into what you want in different states and different races from Tuesday but it was very clear that the fact that nothing has gotten done is having a competency message for this White House. And so, you now have the president phoning in. You had Pelosi say there is going to be a vote. It’s now almost 8:15. There is no vote. There is clearly not a sign of a vote. So they do need to get something done, at some point,” she admonished.
“But I have to say, at this point, they have really hurt themselves. Getting something done a couple of months ago, even if it was a different, slimmer package would have helped them more, I think, politically than this will,” Haberman pointed out.
Then the CNN host turned to Axelrod, asking, “David, Speaker Pelosi was asked this afternoon whether she worries it looks like Democrats can’t get out of their own way. She said no. What’s your view?”
“Well, I mean, I think the — the answer is yes. It’s — this is not a good look. This is not a good look for the party in power. And I do think that — that she did say she thought that was part of the issue on Tuesday. I think so, as well. You know the country is restive right now, Anderson. The country’s anxious. They’re — we’re still sort of in the grips of — of this virus,” Axelrod posited.
“The economic news today was encouraging. But, you know, people — to — to the degree we are out of it, they still have PTSD. Things feel a little out of control. Prices, you know, supply chain. All of that stuff — gas prices — and, you know, it — it would be very good for the president, for the country, certainly for the Democratic Party, if they were able to advance these bills and then begin to explain what’s in them. The more they haggle about procedure and have intramural spats, the longer it will be before they can actually get to talking about what’s in the bill and what they’ve done for the American people,” he continued.
“And so, I think this is the sense of urgency the president probably feels and that the speaker feels. What is stunning is that the president of the United States could ask members of the House of his own party for this vote. And ask them to place their trust in him, and there are — there are members who are unwilling to do that right now,” Axelrod stated.
“It’s incredibly damaging for the President, not only for, you know, political capital but just that members of his own party are kind of ignoring him,” Cooper remarked.
“It looks ineffective and, it’s interesting, I was thinking as David was talking, one of the things often said when President Obama was in power was that some members of his party were not afraid of him. More definitely were and more recognized him as leader of the party and were willing to do what he wanted to do,” Haberman noted.
“That is the opposite of what we are seeing right now and there is just this sort of disconnect in terms of how the White House — at least from what they are saying — a disconnect from what the current White House is saying about their understanding of this situation and where they see it headed versus this perception that, as you said, you have a president literally asking members of his party, do this, I need this. And we are drifting on several hours now,” Haberman added.
Axelrod went on to make another point.
“Here is the thing. Anyone who believes — any Democrat who believes that they can somehow separate themselves out from a president of their own party and be successful if he is not viewed as successful, hasn’t studied history,” he said.
“If you know, one of the problems on Tuesday was that Joe Biden’s approval rating was down there at 42, 43%. And that’s a significant headwind for candidates of his own party. If that is the case a year from now, and it may not be. The economy could improve. We could be through the virus. Things can change. But — but certainly, passing these bills would be part of making that change. If — if — if we’re — we are in a year where we were on Tuesday, a lot of these members are not going to be coming back to Congress. Or at least some of these members are not going to be coming back to Congress. So, you know, there is something to you either hang together or hang separately,” the former adviser warned.
They ended out the segment on CNN by discussing how legislation was crafted and passed in D.C. Haberman noted that the packages kept changing and that no one knows really what is in them currently or if they will be implemented before the 2022 midterms.
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