This criticism will not pass: The Trump-Biden blockbuster is disastrous reading for Democrats | Books

Jhis Will Not Pass is a blockbuster. Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns deliver 473 pages of essential reading. The two New York Times reporters portray a Republican party enraged, infatuated and beholden to Donald Trump. They paint a Democratic party led by Joe Biden as, in equal measure, incompetent and out of touch.

Martin and Burns plead their case with lighthearted prose, interviews, and extensive receipts. After Kevin McCarthy denied talking about Trump and the Jan. 6 uprising, Martin appeared on MSNBC with tapes to show the House Republican leader had lied.

In the pages of Burns and Martin, Trump attributes McCarthy’s cowardice to an “inferiority complex.” The sluggishness and obsequiousness of the candidate for the speaker are recurring themes, as well as the political vertigo of the Democrats.

On Election Day 2020, the country simply sought to restore some modicum of normalcy. Nothing else. Even though Biden racked up a plurality of 7 million votes, Republicans won 16 seats in the House. There was no warrant. Think checks, balances and lots of fear.

Biden owes his job to suburban moms and dads, not waking up. As the liberal Brookings Institution said in a post-election report, “Biden’s victory came from the suburbs.”

In other words, the label of socialism, the reality of rising crime, the demand for open borders and demands for defunding the police almost cost the Democrats the presidency. As a senator, Biden knew culture mattered. However, it is doubtful that his party has internalized any lessons.

On Election Day 2021, the party lost the Virginia Governor’s mansion. Republican attacks on critical race theory and Covid-driven school closures and Democrats’ distrust of parental involvement in education brought them in. This year, the midterms offer few encouraging signs.

This Will Not Pass portrays Biden as dedicated to his belief that his presidency should be transformational. Competing with the legacy of Barack Obama, he yearns for comparison with FDR.

“I’m convinced that Barack is not happy with the coverage of this administration as more transformative than his own,” Biden reportedly told an adviser.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is more blunt: “Obama is jealous of Biden.”

Again, Hunter Biden is not the son of the Obamas. Michelle and Barack can’t be also jealous.

A phone conversation between Biden and Abigail Spanberger, a moderate congresswoman from Virginia, captures the president’s self-perception. “This is President Roosevelt,” he begins, before thanking Spanberger for his sense of humor.

She replies, “I’m happy. you have a sense of humour, Mr President.

Spanberger represents a swing district, is a former member of the intelligence community and was a driving force in Trump’s two impeachments.

It Won’t Pass also amplifies the disdain that senior Democratic officials have for the “Squad,” those members of the Democratic left wing who coalesce around Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Martin and Burns quote Steve Ricchetti, an adviser to Biden: “The problem with the left…is that they don’t understand that they lost.”

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to Biden and former dean of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), is less diplomatic. He describes the team as “fuckin’ idiots”. Richmond also takes issue with the AOC pushing back on Vice President Kamala Harris for telling undocumented migrants “don’t come.”

“AOC’s hit on Kamala was despicable,” Richmond said. “What it did for me was show a clear misunderstanding of what’s going on in the world.”

Meanwhile, Squad member Cori Bush has fought with the CBC and led the charge against the nation’s terrorism legislation.

Cedric Richmond, Joe Biden’s senior adviser and non-Squad fan. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Burns and Martin deliver gripping portraits of DC’s sucks and misses. They capture Lindsey Graham, the senior oilseed senator from South Carolina, in all her self-demeaning glory.

During the authors’ interview with Trump, Graham called the former president. After initially refusing to answer, Trump responded. “Hello, Lindsey.” He then put Graham on speakerphone, not letting him know that reporters were sitting nearby.

Groveling started instantly. Graham praised the power of Trump’s endorsements and the power of his golf game. Stormy Daniels would not have been impressed. The senator, Burns and Martin write, looked like “nothing more than an actor in a fashionable advertisement who tells his gullible viewer that he had been skeptical of the glorious product – until he try”.

This Will Not Pass also attempts to do justice to Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona senator and “former Green Party activist who reinvented herself as a Fortune 500-loving moderate.” In addition to helping block Biden’s domestic agenda, Sinema has a knack for performative behavior and strong ties to Republicans.

Like Sarah Palin, she loves her physique. The senator “knowingly bragged to her colleagues and aides that her cleavage had an extraordinary persuasive effect on the uptight men of the GOP.”

Palin is running to represent Alaska in Congress. Truly, we are blessed.

Subtitled Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, Burns and Martin’s book ends with a meditation on the state of American democracy. The authors are anxious. Trump did not leave the stage. The Republican leadership bent the knee. Mitch McConnell wants to be Senate Majority Leader again. He knows what the base thinks and says. Marjorie Taylor Greene is far from a one-person minority.

Martin and Burns quote Malcolm Turnbull, a former Prime Minister of Australia: “You know that nice line you hear all the time: ‘It’s not us. It’s not America. You know what? It is, in fact.

Republicans are ahead of the wildcard ballot, poised to win back the House and Senate. Biden’s favor is underwater. Opposed to Trump, he struggles to stay equal. His handling of Russia’s war against Ukraine has not moved the needle.

Inflation dominates the concerns of most Americans. For the first time in two years, the economy is contracting. It’s a long way to November 2024. Things can always get worse.

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