Biden asked the question that matters: What are Republicans for?

·3 min read

Speaking for an impressive 1 hour and 51 minutes, President Joe Biden delivered the question that should define the rest of 2022, “What are Republicans for?”

For the first year of the Biden presidency, Republicans have been able to universally oppose the Biden agenda while escaping scrutiny to offer alternatives. It’s hardly surprising for a political party that didn’t even bother to write a party platform at their last political convention. But the media’s penchant for diving head-first into “Democrats in disarray” narratives while so casually accepting GOP obstructionism is a tremendous disservice to the American people.

You cannot chronicle the Biden administration’s perceived shortcomings addressing COVID-19 without first acknowledging the context that the Republican Party has done anything and everything possible to sabotage life-saving health care initiatives and promote misinformation.

You cannot report on efforts to protect voting rights in America without first talking about the 19 states that have enacted new voting restriction laws or the unanimous opposition from Republicans in Congress to measures that would shore up the right to vote.

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

You cannot chastise the president for not having enough news conferences or doing enough interviews without pointing out that “the former guy” told more than 30,000 lies in four years.

Bad takes on Biden

When you look at some of the takeaways that followed the president’s news conference, it’s not hard to understand why he does so few of them.

Politico led with the headline “Biden breaks up with Bernie.” In actuality, Biden was answering a loaded question about trying to “pull the country so far to the left.” What he said was, “you guys have been trying to convince me that I am Bernie Sanders. I’m not. I like him, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. I’m a mainstream Democrat, and I have been.” On what planet is that a breakup?

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The Washington Post’s “analysis” was headlined, “Biden’s marathon Q&A forces White House to play cleanup – twice.” The so-called cleanup centered on the president saying out loud what everyone around the world knows to be true about the situation between Russia and Ukraine and acknowledging the obvious reality that the Republican Party’s efforts to sabotage democracy may in fact impact the legitimacy of elections to come.

Who deserves more scrutiny?

I guess the media would prefer that next time Biden just flat-out lies to them. Do they really miss President Donald Trump that much?

Biden and Democrats have offered the American people an ambitious and robust policy agenda. One so popular that Republicans such as Rep. Ashley Hinson are taking credit for its successes despite voting against them.

Looking ahead to the coming year and the midterm election, the media should not allow Republicans to get away with just saying “no” to everything and anything. Rather than fixate on two senators in the Democratic Caucus, maybe spend some time looking at the 50 who have an “R” next to their name.

Rather than labeling the Democratic agenda as too far “left,” maybe ask the Republicans to produce their own alternatives. Rather than parsing the truthful words of a president acting in good faith, maybe pay more attention to the avalanche of lies being told every single day by the GOP. Rather than clinging to the outdated notion of “both sides,” maybe adapt to the times and start calling things as they are, rather than how you wish they were.

Ask yourself, who deserves more scrutiny: a president who acts with integrity, sincerity and honesty or the party that believes the free press is the “enemy of the people.”

Kurt Bardella is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. He is an adviser to both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Follow him @kurtbardella.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will Republicans get away with blocking Biden's progress?