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Biden has given many forceful speeches this year. Here's why they're not breaking through

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08.07.2022

In a piece titled "Give Biden a Break," Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank makes the case that Democrats' harsh critiques of President Biden aren't actually grounded in fact.

After citing a series of articles in which Democrats have anonymously criticized Biden for not meeting the moment, Milbank says there's just one problem with the unfavorable assessments: "Biden has been saying—heatedly and repeatedly—exactly that which he is accused of avoiding."

It's true that the White House's response to the Supreme Court's radical decision overturning Roe has been mostly lackluster. The administration should have been better prepared to more forcefully counter a decision we all knew was coming, both rhetorically and from a policy standpoint. Last week, Biden did finally come out in favor of an abortion carve-out for the Senate filibuster, which helps provide Democrats with a midterm rallying cry but still doesn't plug the leadership gap.

And yet, Milbank had a point—Biden has at times made forceful cases against Trump, Republicans, and the MAGA movement this year. By way of example, Milbank writes:

On the abortion ruling, he decried the “terrible, extreme decision,” the “destabilizing” effect of “the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court,” and the “realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.” He shared “the public outrage at this extremist court that’s committed to moving America backwards.” He repeatedly called the decision “so extreme,” adding, “it just stuns me.” At other times he alleged that the Supreme Court “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution” with “devastating” effect.

None of that is an action plan, none of it provides specific guidance to caregivers, explicitly protects access to abortion medication or interstate travel (though Biden is currently set to announce new initiatives in that regard), but it does suggest that Biden, at base, understood the gravity of the ruling.

Milbank got me thinking about the many speeches Biden has given this year in which........

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