There’s an increasingly tiresome habit among media folk and elected Democrats to declare the United States broken and in need of structural repair whenever they don’t get the political outcomes they want. There’s an equally tiresome habit among celebrities to choose such moments to announce plans to abandon the U.S. entirely.
As for this week’s celebrity posturing, Samantha Chery reports in the Washington Post:
Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong told fans that he will renounce his U.S. citizenship because of his disgust over the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
In a profanity-filled speech onstage at London Stadium last Friday, Armstrong said he no longer wants to be a U.S. citizen…
The “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” singer joins a long list of celebrities who have said they would leave the country over political difference. Whoopi Goldberg and Miley Cyrus both pledged to leave if Trump was elected — but didn’t follow through. Barbra Streisand said she wanted to go to Canada.
On second thought the celebrity habit is much less tiresome because it’s typically an empty gesture and even if sincere, such departures would not perceptibly degrade Americans’ quality of life. Essentially, Mr. Armstrong would walk alone as he exits the land of the free.
Politicians encouraged by media folk are much more dangerous when they impulsively react to ideological setbacks with proposals to alter the institutions of American governance.
At a press conference in Madrid on Thursday Darlene Superville of the Associated Press strangely listed a series of unrelated events including mass shootings and the Supreme Court’s recent decision to let American voters decide abortion policy and then asked Mr. Biden how he explains such events to people who think America is going backward.
Mr. Biden responded, according to the White House transcript:
They do not think that. You haven’t found one person — one world leader to say America is going backwards. America is better positioned to lead the world than we ever have been. We have the strongest economy in the world. Our inflation rates are lower than other nations in the world. The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States on overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy.
Mr. Biden’s outrageous rhetoric against the Supreme Court continued and later in the press conference he described what he plans to do next, according to the transcript:
And so I’m going to be talking to — to the governors as to what actions they think I should be taking as well. And — but the bi- — most important thing to be clear about is we have to change — I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law. And the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way — it’s like voting rights — it should be we provide an exception for this — the exce- — the — require an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.
He seemed to be saying that Democrats have found yet another alleged emergency requiring a change in Senate rules to enable them to enact something for which there is no durable bipartisan majority. The Journal’s Andrew Restuccia and Ken Thomas report:
Changing the filibuster rules of the Senate would allow legislation protecting abortion access to pass the chamber with 51 votes rather than the 60 votes usually required for bills to advance. Mr. Biden had previously backed an exception to filibuster rules to pass long-stalled election bills…
The filibuster could be changed with a simple majority vote, but not all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate are on board with such a move, saying it would fundamentally change the nature of the Senate and could backfire if the GOP takes control of the chamber.
Such legislation could still face roadblocks to passage because Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and
of Arizona, both moderate Democrats, have said they opposed changing or ending the Senate’s filibuster rules. Spokeswomen for both senators said Thursday their positions were unchanged.
This is encouraging news that Mr. Biden’s gesture may turn out to be just as empty as those of Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Cyrus. And who doesn’t want to stay at a party in the U.S.A.? Still, one may wonder why Mr. Biden would engage in such gestures at all.
The Journal reporters add:
The president has been facing pressure from members of his own party to deliver a more forceful response to the ruling and to lay out more executive actions. Some Biden administration officials said privately earlier this week that they didn’t think the president’s response had been aggressive enough.
This again raises the question of who’s really in charge at the White House—and for how long? In the Los Angeles Times Erin Logan and Noah Bierman report from Washington:
created new uncertainty Wednesday about President Biden’s intentions to run for reelection in 2024, pulling back from a definitive statement she had made earlier in the week.
“The president intends to run and if he does, I will be his ticket mate. We will run together,” Harris told a Times reporter Wednesday as she prepared to depart for California aboard Air Force Two.
Advisors had told the reporter that Harris wanted to come to the back of the plane to clarify what she told CNN on Monday. In an interview with CNN’s
Harris was asked about speculation that Biden would not run and about her own potential candidacy.
is running for reelection, and I will be his ticket mate,” Harris told CNN. “Full stop.”
The deliberate clarification on Wednesday is certain to raise questions about Biden’s intentions… A prominent Democrat who is close to the White House said Harris’ comments Wednesday were not an indication that Biden’s thinking has changed about seeking reelection…
Harris’ follow-up statement was intended to avoid using “trigger words” that would set off requirements for Biden to establish a formal campaign with the Federal Election Commission and begin fundraising, said the Democrat, who requested anonymity to convey internal discussions.
Lately fellow Democrats have been triggering the President by doubting his long-term potential. Jonathan Martin and Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported this week in the New York Times:
Mr. Biden has been eager for signs of loyalty — and they have been few and far between. Facing intensifying skepticism about his capacity to run for re-election when he will be nearly 82, the president and his top aides have been stung by the questions about his plans, irritated at what they see as a lack of respect from their party and the press, and determined to tamp down suggestions that he’s effectively a lame duck a year and a half into his administration…
For the most part, senior Democrats would rather avoid the question for now.
Asked if he expected Mr. Biden to run again, Senator
the Democratic leader, said: “If he runs, I’m for him.” Pressed if he thought Mr. Biden would do so, Mr. Schumer repeated the same line.
Mr. Biden’s latest proposal to change the longstanding rules of the Senate where he served for decades doesn’t seem likely to pass. It also doesn’t seem to make any sense except as an appeal to base voters in presidential primaries. Maybe he really is running in 2024.
Mr. Freeman will host “WSJ at Large” this Friday at 7:30 p.m. EDT on the Fox Business Network. The program repeats at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday and Sunday.
James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”
Follow James Freeman on Twitter.
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