Stirewaltisms: Imaginary Powers, Real Defeats
Biden is only the most recent president to be afflicted by the unhealthy attachment to the belief in the power of presidential persuasion in American political life.
IMAGINARY POWERS, REAL DEFEATS
As I write this, President Biden is preparing for a national primetime address to the American people about firearms and mass shootings.
It will be Biden’s first primetime address since March 2021 when he marked the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus lockdown.
Even though Biden is well-known for making fewer public appearances than his predecessors, his reticence to use the evening television address, considered the ultimate “bully pulpit,” has been treated as somehow notable. As if Biden had the power to mold public opinion to his will in the past, but neglected the opportunity.
Biden has never been a persuasive orator, so it seems odd that people would demand that he do more of it and at higher stakes. Even the greatest communicators who have occupied the White House have seldom seen policy reforms as a result of swaying public opinion, so why would anyone foist that task on Biden?