Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated: Fri, 12 Nov 2021 23:30:15 GMT
In the wake of a disastrous 2021 election for Democrats, the man charged with keeping his party in the House majority had a very interesting prescription for how make that a reality.
"My message is 'free Joe Biden,'" Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney told the New York Times this week. "That campaign needs to start now before the next crisis takes over the news cycle."
What Maloney meant is that the President of the United States needs to get on the campaign trail as soon as possible to begin the work of selling the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan that passed Congress earlier this month.
"I think the White House should do 25 presidential events in the next couple months just on infrastructure," said Maloney. "And we should do 1,000 congressional events alongside those presidential events."
Implicit in Maloney's suggestion of more Biden is this: The White House, from Biden down, has so far done a poor job of selling its accomplishments -- and it's hurting Democrats across the country.
The question is whether Maloney's diagnosis of the problem is, well, right. Is the issue that Biden isn't selling what he's done hard enough ... or that people simply don't like Biden and/or what he is selling?
On Biden, the numbers aren't encouraging. In CNN's latest poll of polls, which averages the 5 most recent national polls, just 46% approve of the job Biden is doing as president while 51% disapprove. His approval ratings have been steadily underwater (higher disapproval than approval) for months now -- hurt by the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, Covid-19's Delta variant and rising inflation.
On the Biden agenda, it's also a bit murky for Democrats. In CNN polling released earlier this week, nearly 6 in 10 Americans said Biden wasn't paying attention to the most important problems facing the country.
Among the 1 in 3 (36%) voters who said that the state of the economy was the most important issue facing the country, 72% said Biden wasn't paying attention to the right issues.
All of these polls were in the field before Congress approved the infrastructure plan late last Friday. And, none of them presuppose that the Biden White House and Democrats in the House and Senate will be able to make a deal on the $1.75 trillion(ish) social safety net bill sometime before the end of the year.
It is, of course, then possible that these numbers are not reflective of the current reality -- that Biden (and Democrats) are on the upswing and Maloney is right that the country simply needs to see the President hawking the infrastructure bill more.
But, it's also possible that the public simply does not believe that Biden and congressional Democrats are doing what needs to be done to get the country back on its feet after the cataclysm of the past 18 months. And that no amount of campaigning by Biden will change that perception.
The Point: Democrats are desperately looking for paths to keep their House and Senate majorities next November. I'm not sure "free Joe Biden" is their best bet.