Biden's eye-on-the-prize strategy
President Biden revealed in vivid display this week the thinking animating his 100-day plan: Do not allow outside events to take his eye off the make-or-break imperatives of virus eradication and economic growth.
The big picture: He dispatched Vice President Harris to handle the brewing crisis at the border. And, in yesterday's press conference, he made plain gun control and other topics may need to wait.
- On gun control: "It's a matter of timing."
- "[S]uccessful presidents — better than me — have been successful, in large part, because they know how to time what they’re doing — order it, decide and prioritize what needs to be done."
Zoom out: Since his comeback in the South Carolina primary more than a year ago, Biden has been shockingly disciplined, with a robot-like focus on the virus and the economy. It is a no-brainer strategy because absent growth or total defeat of the virus, his presidential power wanes.
- This gives him a narrow band to focus his mind and time. You saw this in his 62-minute press conference. He'll continue to push the idea of compromise — until he doesn’t, which aides tell us is inevitable.
- "Here's the deal," Biden said. "I'm a fairly practical guy. I want to get things done," the president said in explaining why he's not pushing now to eliminate the legislative filibuster, even though he sees it as a Jim Crow-era relic.
- "Successful electoral politics," Biden said, "is the art of the possible."
What to watch: His comments on voting rights were harsh and striking, and signal his appetite to fight this out, even if it means chucking the filibuster to get it done.