Despondent CBS Wonders Why People Won’t Praise Biden, Dems Agenda for Helping Them

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Wednesday’s CBS Mornings dove into what they saw as one of the mysteries of this current political era: Why won’t voters be more supportive of President Biden and his fellow Democrats, seeing as how they do so much to make our lives better? Prior to a segment that suggested Thanksgiving gatherings have appetizers and drinks in the garage while people take Covid rapid tests, the table and CBS News political contributor/Democratic strategist Joel Payne went down that very road.

“Ahead, a scorecard on President Biden’s achievements so far…[Payne has] got some thoughts on what is a crucial time for Democrats,” said fill-in co-host and CBS Mornings: Saturday co-host Michelle Miller in a tease.

For Miller, progressive politics are personal as her husband is Urban League President Marc Morial.

Far-left co-host Tony Dokupil opened the segment with the supposed quandary:

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President Biden’s big domestic agenda is facing a big test on Capitol Hill. You’ll recall last week the House passed a nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill, as he calls it. But it now faces a difficult battle in the Senate and the White House is looking for anything that could help boost the President’s sagging approval ratings. Just 44 percent of Americans say he is doing a good job in their opinion. 

Turning to Payne, Dokupil asked him to “help me understand” why “Democrats have all these ideas that people say they like in polls, but then when they’re asked do they like Democrats or the President, in particular, they say no.”

Payne replied the problem was “the oldest thing in the book, trying to get people to actually invest in – in your political ability to actually get the ideas passed through,” and further hindered by Democrats not having “done a good job of – of selling the agenda that he wants to put forward.”

Dokupil persisted in his astonishment, gushing that the Build Back Better Act has “all these things that would affect people’s lives” in a positive way, but voters haven’t gotten the picture (click “expand”):

DOKUPIL: But this Build Back Better bill has relief for people suffering from big bills on childcare, it’s got stuff for climate change, it’s got stuff to lower higher ed costs, it’s got all these things that would affect people’s lives, real people, real lives. And yet, Democrats don’t seem to be able to communicate that. When people are asked will it affect them, they say no. 

PAYNE: Well, you have to remember the backdrop of everything is Covid. And that’s still going on, and I think sometimes we forget that. But I’d argue that what we saw in Virginia last month with Terry McAuliffe losing to Glenn Youngkin, it was Covid. It wasn’t necessarily CRT. It was the fact that people’s children had been out of school for a year and a half. And I think Covid affects everything, and I think it’s an incumbency disadvantage for the President. It’s an incumbency disadvantage for Democrats, who are viewed as in charge right now. It was a problem for Donald Trump last year. That’s why he’s no longer the President. I think, you know, politicians are meant to be, you know, kicked out of office right now because I think the American people are so frustrated with their leadership that I think anyone who’s in charge they feel like is not doing the job.

Co-host Nate Burleson offered a slight tick back to reality, acknowledging that “these real people are real ratings” voicing displeasure with Biden.

Invited to explain why, Payne correctly pointed to how “he’s been on a slide really if you go back to August when the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated and I think he’s had a hard time rebounding ever since then.”

After saying things could be “turn[ed] around” if Biden “start[s] talking positively about [his] agenda, go on the road,” and dispatch his cabinet secretaries as well.

Again, zero framing of what Republicans might be doing right or the failure of Democrats. Instead, it was a strategy session about how Democrats have inadequately told the clueless voters about all the amazing things they’ve done for them.

Before closing out, Miller did just that: “What can be done for the midterms coming up? A lot of Democrats are on the line here. How do you push forward there?”

Going to break, the mood of the table remained down:

MILLER: And the lives of the American people have been – are being challenged right now. 

BURLESON: That’s right.

DOKUPIL: 44 percent approval rating is not good.

MILLER: It is not good. 

PAYNE: It’s tough. 

CBS’s partisan despondency was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as Dawn and Hyundai. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant transcript from November 24’s CBS Mornings, click “expand.”

CBS Mornings
November 24, 2021
8:12 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: CBS Mornings; Ahead; Payne on Politics]

MICHELLE MILLER: Ahead, a scorecard on President Biden’s achievements so far. CBS News political contributor Joel Payne is in our Progressive Green Room. He’s got some thoughts on what is a crucial time for Democrats.

(….)

8:17 a.m. Eastern

TONY DOKUPIL: President Biden’s big domestic agenda is facing a big test on Capitol Hill. You’ll recall last week the House passed a nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill, as he calls it. But it now faces a difficult battle in the Senate and the White House is looking for anything that could help boost the President’s sagging approval ratings. Just 44 percent of Americans say he is doing a good job in their opinion. CBS News political contributor and Democratic strategist Joel Payne is here to help us understand all this. Joel, good morning to you. 

JOEL PAYNE: Good morning. Happy Thanksgiving. 

DOKUPIL: So – Happy Thanksgiving. The Democrats have all these ideas that people say they like in polls, but then, when they’re asked do they like Democrats or the President in particular, they say no. Help me understand that. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Biden’s Domestic Agenda; Payne on Build Back Better Bill, Stakes for President & Dem Outlook]

PAYNE: Well, this is the oldest thing in the book, trying to get people to actually invest in – in your political ability to actually get the ideas passed through. You know, the President’s – his party has really not done a good job of – of selling the agenda that he wants to put forward, and the problem is – is that there’s a cross pressure between moderates, people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who are concerned about inflation and concerned about spending. And you have Progressives, the AOCs, the Elizabeth Warrens of the world who want to invest more, they want to invest bigger into the President’s agenda and that’s the cross pressure he’s dealing with now. And you have an ultimate challenge of do you want to have your base be upset with you, or do you want to alienate the independence that made Joe Biden’s majority. That’s the problem. 

DOKUPIL: But this Build Back Better bill has relief for people suffering from big bills on childcare, it’s got stuff for climate change, it’s got stuff to lower higher ed costs, it’s got all these things that would affect people’s lives, real people, real lives. And yet, Democrats don’t seem to be able to communicate that. When people are asked will it affect them, they say no. 

PAYNE: Well, you have to remember the backdrop of everything is Covid. And that’s still going on, and I think sometimes we forget that. But I’d argue that what we saw in Virginia last month with Terry McAuliffe losing to Glenn Youngkin, it was Covid. It wasn’t necessarily CRT. It was the fact that people’s children had been out of school for a year and a half. And I think Covid affects everything, and I think it’s an incumbency disadvantage for the President. It’s an incumbency disadvantage for Democrats, who are viewed as in charge right now. It was a problem for Donald Trump last year. That’s why he’s no longer the President. I think, you know, politicians are meant to be, you know, kicked out of office right now because I think the American people are so frustrated with their leadership that I think anyone who’s in charge they feel like is not doing the job. 

NATE BURLESON: Now, Tony mentioned the real people, but attached to these real people are real ratings. President Biden’s approval ratings are sagging. Why do you believe that is, and what can he do to bring those up? 

PAYNE: Well, he’s been on a slide really if you go back to August when the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated. And I think he’s had a hard time rebounding ever since then. And look, the sausage-making process on Capitol Hill is never something that is going to boost your ratings, it’s never going to be something that’s going to sell well to the public. I think the President feels like we just passed this bipartisan infrastructure bill, if we can get Build Back Better passed, and if I can start talking positively about my agenda, go on the road, put my cabinet secretaries on the road –

BURLESON: Of course.

PAYNE: – I can turn this around and reverse field. 

MICHELLE MILLER: That’s what he can do for himself. What can be done for the midterms coming up? A lot of Democrats are on the line here. How do you push forward there? 

PAYNE: Students of political history like me know midterms are meant for the majority party to lose. 

MILLER: Yeah.

PAYNE: I mean, 2002 is really the only time in the last 20 years that a majority party has not lost seats and lost power in the midterms, so it’s an uphill battle regardless. If — in the best of times, it would be difficult for President Biden. I think what the President, what Democrats have to understand is that voters want a positive agenda. It’s not enough to say I’m not Donald Trump, it’s not enough to say we’re against Trumpism. 

BURLESON: Right.

PAYNE: You have to have a positive agenda that’s going to impact the lives of the American people. 

MILLER: And the lives of the American people have been – are being challenged right now. 

BURLESON: That’s right.

DOKUPIL: 44 percent approval rating is not good.

MILLER: It is not good. 

PAYNE: It’s tough. 

MILLER: Joel Payne, thank you so much.

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