As his first year in office comes to a close, President Joe Biden continues to find himself on the losing side. Senior administration officials now say Biden is planning a comeback tour that pushes legislation aside for direct communication with voters. They say that while the White House will continue private negotiations with Congress, they will conceal details of those talks from the public.
According to NBC News:
Biden’s advisers are looking at a variety of ways for him to engage more with Americans, officials said, but there is no agreement yet about what the alternatives might entail. And while there is unity among advisers about having Biden “talk to more people directly,” another official said, there is no agreement about whether the effort will work.
Biden has struggled to gain his footing on the coronavirus pandemic, which he promised to get under control and ultimately defeat, with mixed messages from his administration, testing shortages and a new variant that has swept through the country. He also has been hampered by the collapse of his Build Back Better legislation after discussions with moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., failed and his public push for voting rights legislation lacked enough support in the Senate.
What some of Biden’s aides have expressed concern about most is the impression that he is seemingly bogged down at the White House, giving too many “one-dimensional” speeches from Washington instead of showcasing what they see as his greatest political strength: empathy and an ability to connect with ordinary Americans.
But finding the time and the best venues outside Washington has been a challenge, both because of how much time Biden has invested in congressional negotiations and because the pandemic has made such travel outside the capital more complicated and time-consuming.
For most, Biden’s plan has obvious flaws. Perhaps the most glaring, how does the President intend to connect with voters on a personal level while his Administration struggles to provide enough tests and masks as pandemic supply chain issues rage on?