Wednesday, July 14, 2021

What President Biden Left Out of His Speech Yesterday


It was a good speech on voting rights. It was a forceful speech, impassioned even. It called for action. But it was not action. It was a speech.

With the Senate filibuster in place, Democrats have no chance to take action to pass voting rights protections, and the filibuster did not get a mention in President Biden's speech. There is no path to protecting the voting rights of all the people that wouldn't require an end to the filibuster.

Congressman Jim Clyburn

Days before Biden's speech, Congressman Jim Clyburn was lobbying the White House about pushing a "filibuster carve-out," to end the filibuster on issues of constitutional rights like access to the ballot. "Biden could 'pick up the phone and tell [Sen.] Joe Manchin, "Hey, we should do a carve out." ' Clyburn said, referring to the centrist West Virginia Democrat who has resisted filibuster reform. 'I don't care whether he does it in a microphone or on the telephone — just do it.' ”

That from the man who is generally credited with making Joe Biden president by endorsing him in the South Carolina primary early in 2020.

If the For the People Act and the reauthorization of the 1965 Voting Rights Act don't pass the Senate now, Clyburn said, “Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye.” “I can see in a state like Georgia — where people stepped up in January in a way nobody thought they ever would — I can see the disappointment in the voters to the extent that [Sen. Rafael] Warnock would not be back,” he added.

Biden's weak on the filibuster issue, apparently still believing in his ability to convince some Republican senators and, barring that, that a few million $$ can educate voters to overcome Republican roadblocks to voting: "In response to Clyburn’s comments, a White House official noted Biden’s respect and admiration for the congressman and the president’s support for a talking filibuster, which requires a senator or group of senators to physically be on the floor to stall a bill. But Biden has dodged questions about whether he believes filibustered legislation should no longer have to meet a 60-vote threshold to pass."

Existential is a word much overused at the moment, so how about we just admit that this is a life-or-death moment for the Republic?

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