WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden is going all out to turn the tables on Republicans who are trying to paint Democrats as being soft on crime in the hope of winning the crucial spending fight this year on the budget showdown, ahead of the election year in 2024.
Republicans however stoutly defend their position and dismiss Biden’s counterclaims saying that the Democrats are the ones who would like to “defund the police” as budget and debt ceiling talks escalate before a summer deadline with far-reaching economic ramifications, media reports say.
The US government breached the debt ceiling limit of $31.4 trillion needing a relaxation to raise it further to meet commitments on pay-outs for senior citizens welfare schemes, interest payments to institutions and honouring the deals on US securities, the most traded financial instrument in money markets globally.
Biden has virtually gone to war against the freedom caucus ahead of the debt ceiling showdown, says the Washington Examiner in a special dispatch.
US Treasury Secretary Yanet Yellen has told the Congress that unless the debt ceiling limit is raised by the House of Reps, the US economy could take a serious hit and investors could lose their confidence in the US which has a huge external commercial borrowing, 247 per cent of its trillion dollar GDP, one of the highest in the world, next to Singapore. Yellen says she can do extraordinary measures to meet commitments till June this year but not beyond.
Biden is “top-tier gaslighting” the public after he “filled his administration with radical ‘defund the police’ supporters from top to bottom,” Republican strategists charge.
Democrat-run cities continue to advocate for defunding the police and have followed through by slashing money from police budgets,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Emma Vaughn was quoted by the Examiner as saying. “Americans know that Democrats are to blame for the rise in violent crime.” Vaughn has forwarded a “helpful” RNC video titled “Nine Minutes of Democrats Calling for Defunding the Police” in an attempt to defame the Democrats on the eve of election year.
Biden had first distanced himself from more liberal Democrats and their “defund the police” movement during his State of the Union address last year, and asked the Congress for increased money for police training, among such other schemes, says the University of Wisconsin-Madison Elections Research Center Director Barry Burden.
“That is a rather different position from prominent progressives in his party who want (to) redirect police funding to social services and other initiatives,” he said. Biden was not as direct during this year’s address, delivered with Tyre Nichols’s parents, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, in the House chamber.
Nichols, a black man, was beaten to death by five black former Memphis, Tennessee, police officers in January.
Poll strategists say that however alarming it may be, standing behind policing will make it difficult in the 2024 presidential campaign for Republicans to cast Biden as an irresponsible liberal who does not care about crime,” Burden said. “Republicans will continue to blame Biden for the violent crimes in the country. He said this strategy did not however work in the 2022 midterm elections when it ran up against the abortion issue.
Vaughn and Wells however claim that it’s quite possible that sitting and former Republican governors, especially those wanting to be GOP nominees for the 2024 presidential run, could undercut Biden and Democrats on crime as they can cite their state’s respective policies.
Middlebury College political science professor Bertram Johnson however disagrees, though he did not agree that Biden is deploying the “the best defence is a good offense” tactic.
Democrats may garner a quantum of solace and support in highlighting the negative effects of budget cuts in general, they will find it a tough going to convince voters that Democrats support police more than Republicans do,” he said. (IANS)