tv WSJ at Large With Gerry Baker FOX Business February 7, 2021 11:00am-11:31am EST
morning from 6-9 a.m. eastern for "mornings with maria" on fox business. i hope you will join us every weekday. that'll do it for us. thank you so much for being with us this weekend. have a fabulous rest of the weekend, and i'll see you again next ♪ ♪ ♪ gerry: hello and welcome to the "wall street journal at large." two weeks into the joe biden presidency, the political dynamic of our times seems to be clear. we have a democratic administration that's intent on ramming through its radical progressive agenda on the slimmest of majorities while the republican party descends into conflict about its everyone direction. joe biden promised to work for unity. he told people that in his five decades in washington, he'd learned the value of working with the opposing party. but this week we got the clearest indication that he
leads a democratic party that really plans to govern alone. on monday a group of ten republican senators held out an olive branch to the new president. they offered a counterproposal to his $3.9 trillion covid -- 1.9 trillion covid relief bill. now, the offer seemed to present the potential for a classic example of washington bipartisanship, a serious basis for a deal that would pass the senate without the need for reconciliation, that's the process that allows the body to avoid the filibuster. but instead of seizing it, the white house promptly shoved it back in the republicans' faces, essentially said they plan to press ahead with their own bill, and indeed they did in the senate. with the senate split 50-50, the democrats have just enough votes with the tie vote of vice president kamala harris, and on friday they kicked out the minimum wage increase in the covid relief bill but left the rest of the $1.9 trillion package essentially intact. president biden insisted that there would be no compromise. >> if i have to choose between
getting help right now to americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that's, that's up to the crisis, that's an easy choice. i'm going to help the american people who are hurting now. gerry: this despite real fears even among the some prominent democrats such as former obama top economic policymaker larry summers that the scale of the package may just be too large. now, all of this fits with the clear signals that biden has sent that he mans govern as though he has a mandate for a significantly hard-left turn for the country. how is this happening? well, the answer lies in part with the condition of the republican party. in the wake of president donald trump's electoral defeat and the loss of senate control, the gop's in a state of civil war. the divisions were on full disthrough play this -- display this week. on wednesday the caucus voted to
keep liz cheney as the party's number three official in the white house despite an effort to oust her after she had supported the president's impeachment. the next day 31 republicans -- 11 republicans joined all the democrats in voting to oust managerially taylor greene -- marjorie taylor greene for delusional conspiracy theories including the idea, for example, that the u.s. is run by a cabal of satanist pedophiles. now, the congresswoman herself told colleagues shah that she had changed her mind about some of the beliefs. >> these were words of the past, and these things do not represent me, they do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values. gerry: but the divisions in the party were underscored by a poll this week for ax quotes that show -- axios that shows far more republicans support ms. taylor greene than ms. cheney. and on thursday, ben sasse, or
who faces censure for what he said in the runup to the january 6th capitol riots, senator sasse summed up the problem that now divides the party. it's east a party -- either a party built around president trump or a party committed to principles and parties. >> the anger in the party has never been about me violating principle or abandoning conservative policy. i'm one of the most conservative voters in the senate. the anger has always been simply about me not bending the knee to one guy. gerry: later we'll discuss the challenge for the gop with a big republican backer and a political commentator, ceo of canary, dan eberhardt. but let's start with the biden administration's strategy. here to take it up, senior national political columnist, josh, thanks very much for joining me. >> good to be here. gerry: so, josh, we did have an example this week where, again,
what i said, what looked like an opportunity for president biden to show what many of us thought he stood for, which is a kind of bipartisan approach. he's a longstand ising member of the -- longstanding member of the senate, he'sed had good relationships across the aisle. republicans go to him for negotiation, and the white house simply rejects it, and those democrats give every impression they intend to press on because they've got 50 votes plus 1 in the senate. what's going on here in we all thought president biden was, you know, was someone who was about building consensus, and he talked all about unity. what's he doing? >> yeah. this is an administration whose actions are belying the bipartisan rhetoric that president biden campaigns on and the very rhetoric he talked about in his very unifying inauguration speech. that was why a lot of moderate voters supported joe biden in the last election, the notion that there would be some return to normalcy or at least a return
to a time when republicans and democrats can at least talk about compromise and reaching across the aisle. and you've got this opportunity, and, you know, republicans and democrat, even if they may disagree on the ways to get there, there is a common view there needs to be more money to help disadvantaged americans that have taken a hit because of the pandemic. so there is room for compromise on a non-ideological issue like this. and what we've seen in the last couple weeks though, gerry, is that the biden -- biden himself has essentially rejected any efforts at compromise. he did have a meeting with ten republican senators that offered their own proposal but didn't offer any counterproposal, didn't start any negotiation. pretty much said it's just my way or the highway. and, look, if you can't win over mitt romney, if you can't win over susan collins and you've logged a moderate democrat like joe manchin, maybe they get this through with 50 votes, but that shows how partisan these initial efforts have been. gerry: why do you think he's doing this?
some people detect the hand of ron klain, his chief of staff, the prime minister inside the white house and, you know, he's in favor of a pretty progressive agenda, maybe kamala harris. why is biden apparently turning his back on the moderates and on the people who want a bipartisan approach? >> there is a lot to be said about democratic staff often being more progressive than the actual principal himself. but i also think this is party that's been, number one, burn in the past by -- burned in the past by relationships and negotiations with republicans. these are a lot of obama administration alums who looked at the first year of the obama administration and felt that they could have gotten a bigger stimulus, but they backed down at the last minute, concern they don't want to relive that lesson. but, gerry, the biggest difference now from 2009 to currently in 2021 is that joe biden has a 50-democratic seat majority, the narrowest of majorities. obama had nearly 60 seats in the
senate. so, you know, joe biden talks a lot about building back better. you know, it's in his political interest to get more political capital the as he governs, as he tries to, you know, advance his agenda on other issues. instead he's burning a whole lot of bridges that didn't have to be burned, and he risks incleesing the degree -- increasing the degree of partisanship. and if you overheat the economy too much, everything's on his shoulders. he owns the economy now, and it could cause hum some political backlash if he's not careful in the future. gerry: we've got to take a short break, but we'll talk more about that, more about the stimulus plan and also impeachment and the other political issues when we come back. stay with us. ♪ ♪
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their own stimulus plan, reached tout republicans, didn't get any results. i'm skeptical about how serious the outreach was, but that's what they said. interestingly, this week there was an op-ed by larry summers in "the washington post" who actually gave a warning to president biden and his team that this was maybe, you know, this plan, this $1.9 trillion plan is risky both in terms that it might stoke inflation. the economy's had a huge amount of stimulus. the government's taken on a lot of debt in the past year, but it might threaten their own big plans for an even larger project later in the year when they want to do their build back better, big infrastructure plan. how much do you think there is going to be internal debate within the democratic party about the merits of this plan, of what it might -- how it might impact their ability to do stuff in the future? >> gerry, i don't think there's a whole lot of divisions because they want to help joe biden pass his first big initiative. but i think there's concern,
private worry that if biden doesn't reach out to republicans, doesn't get any republican support and then the economy, you do see some long-term inflation or you do see, you know, the eshoo of not being able to spend on priorities that biden has been talking about in the future, that's going to be a big problem for the democratic party heading into a midterm election where they're already exposed, and they already face the prospect of losing seats in the house, losing perhaps the senate. so this is a political issue as much as an economic one. it's good politics to want to get the other side to buy into your agenda because it shows not only you're looking to get bipartisanship, but it gives some ownership on the other side of the aisle. if biden goes through with it, it shows a certain level of cocky hns. it's -- cockiness. you have those like summers who are saying there's a real risk that there could be inflation, there could be less money for real spending on top democratic priorities that could come back
to bite democrats in the long run. gerry: for the next two weeks, we're going to be treated to the big theater of impeachment. some democrats are concerned and think it's maybe not the way to go in terms of establishing bipartisanship in terms of trying to convict the former president, especially a trial that we know is almost certain to end in his acquittal. how to you expect, just briefly, how do you think this trial that we're going to see in the senate the next couple of weeks, how is that going to impact the way in which our political scene is going to operate over the next few? >> one name you don't hear a whole lott from the biden administration is the name of the former president, donald trump. they don't want to be involved. they want to be engaged in what's going to be a big partisan fight in the trial coming up this month. so, you know, i think it's sort of a wash politically. we know where most senators stand. it's going to be very anti-climactic. maybe you get five republican senators, at most, who vote for
conviction, but, you know, it's not good politically when you put all your eggs in a basket to try to get the president convicted, and you can't get to that 67-vote threshold. so i think you're going to see schumer and pelosi and the democratic managers, you know, be talking a lot about impeachment and conviction, but it's not one that the white house wants to own and really be distracted by. gerry: josh, thank you so much, indeed, for joining me. coming up, it seems to be civil war at the gop. how bad could it get? how bad could it get? stay with finally moved in. it's a great old house. good bones, wraparound porch. the pipes are... making strange noises. ♪bagpipes♪ ♪bagpipes♪ ♪bagpipes♪ even the plumbers couldn't help us.
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polls suggest gop if voters back donald trump and figures like marjorie taylor greene. with me now to take it all up is political commentator, and canary chief executive officer, dan eberhart. thanks for joining me. >> thank you for having me. gerry: we've seen the beginnings of a full-scale civil war this week in the gop party, some republicans unhappy with marjorie taylor greene and some of the extreme things she said, but more seem to be unhappy with those like liz cheney and ben sasse, critical, indeed, of a post-president trump. ben sasse said this week, you know, the choice of the party is it led by a cult figure like donald trump, or is it a party of principles and policies. where do you think the party's going here? >> well, i think right now what's going on with the party, and i think the kind of pre-civil war was what happened in georgia between trump trying to pour a lot of cold water on
these senate races and distract everyone in the georgia gop. that was the start of the civil war in the republican party. but, you know, we've got a situation right now where the idea is the ice cube of donald trump, is that going to melt or not? so far it seems to have not melted. i was really surprised with the capitol riot and this announcement of a second impeachment. support has only fallen from 85% to 79% based on the polls. it's really holding pretty strong. a lot of people that thought trump was going to fade rather quickly given what happened with the capitol hill riots, they're sorely mistaken. right now we've got a lot of serious issues. ininstead of focusing on being loyal opposition to joe biden and pushing back on democratic overreach and an administration that seems to be lurching to the left, we have a bunch of circular firing squads going on with donald trump jr. and matt gaetz attacking liz cheney. then you've got leader mccarthy going to kiss the
ring at mar-a-lago with donald trump while at the same time a lot of republicans are really furious with what marjorie taylor greene is espousing and saying and even her mea culpa yesterday, a lot of people think she's just extremely divisive. to me, the path back to the majority, the path out of the wilderness for the republican party is to win in the suburbs. those are the voters we ultimately need to be focused on. we focus too much on rural voters and too much on, you know, the kind of rhetoric that feeds them and their causes at the expense of voters in the suburbs, and we're basically choosing to be the party of barry goldwater, not the party of ronald reagan in terms of are we going to be a big tent approach to winning elections, or are we going to be more purist minority party. gerry: it is worrying, as you say, exactly as you say at the time when you have a democratic administration with a razor thin majority in congress is nonetheless with that razor thin majority pushing through a really radical set of policies.
but let me ask you, dan, because i think one of the concerns is, you know, this is going to go on, right? we're going to see primary channels, presumably, to some of those -- possibly all of those house members. how does the party get -- we could see, this could consume the party for at least the next couple of years, couldn't it? >> well, absolutely. i think we need to figure out how to keep president trump and his pop lists onboard and energized, but we also need to take a step back. and, again, we need to look a little more ronald reagan, a little bit less donald trump in terms of focus on being lessties vicive, more big picture. what we really need to do to change policy is we need to be able to win in 2022. we need to get kevin mccarthy the speaker's gavel, mitch mcconnell back in the senate majority leader position. i think we need to be, you know, more -- we need to be less divisive, and we need to be a little bit more open.
gerry: but, dan, this is what's so challenging, because this doesn't really seem to be about policies. i think most people in the republican party would probably agree that what donald trump introduced to the party, populist policies on things like trade and inch gration and -- and immigration and foreign policy, getting america out of wars and all those things, and standing up people who feel understandably rejected and disdained by the establishment, trump did all of those things very, very well. republicans are ready to unite around that. so it's not even as though there's a big constituency in the party wanting to push the party back to the bush and romney and mccain days. it just seems to be about the perralties. >> yeah, no, look, i think we look at a world of performative politics. look at aoc and the drama around the capitol hill riots, look at marjorie taylor greene. they're both on opposite ends of the spectrum, reality tv show
politics, and to me, i would rather focus on the policy, the conservative policy that, you know, how are we going to win rex -- elections, how are we going to be more effective. i want us to win, we have to win to govern, and we came up a little bit shy last time. and donald trump, look, you know, was an awful, awful, awful lot of our success. we can't run for that. he brought a lot of energy to the party. the small donor database is the vast majority his. we can't run from that, but at the same time we've got to figure out why we lost, have have a little bit of soul searching. we've got to tone down the rhetoric and the divisiveness. gerry: dan eberhart, thank you so much for joining us. how do you like the sound bites from the reality czar telling us what's true and what's false in i'
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help now at redcross.org ♪ ♪ gerry: the promotion of conspiracy theories has long been an unfortunate feature of american politics on both the left and the right. fears of domination by religious groups, foreign powers or business owners, stories are among the most absurd theories out there, the qanon conspiracy, the idea that the space race is financed by -- [inaudible] now, conspiracies well abond i in an finish abound in an open society. truth-seeking media, simply
debunking is not enough. an opinion writer in "the new york times" called on the biden administration to appoint something called a reality or czar to enforce the truth in public decision, the media and on social media platforms and elsewhere. we do know many of the progressives in and around the administration think something needs to be done to stop the spread of what they call misinformation. now, we can guess exactly what kind of reality will be enforced by these people. it would no doubt be directed at people like congressman greene and other republicans. but what are the chances do you think who spread the story that president trump was a russian agent? or that police forces are committing general side against black people? -- genocide? the truth is it would be exactly what the left and the media tells the. anything that dissents from that will be a candidate for truth enforcement. history has demonstrated the best way to deal with falsehood is to expose it to reason and
ridicule. but for our new masters of reality, it seems that won't be enough. for the latest show updates, be sure to follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram, and i'll be back next week for more in-depth interviews right here on "the wall street journal at large." thank you very much for joining us. ♪ ♪ jack: welcome to "barron's roundtable" where we get behind the headlines and prepare you for the week ahead. i'm jack otter. congress is one step closer to passing president biden's $1.9 trillion covid relief plan. jared bernstein on the economic impact of the stimulus, the jobs report and more. and later, new cdc data shows a rise in covid-19 deaths among alzheimer's patients. the outlook for medical treatments and which companies are on the cutting edge. but we begin with what we think are the three most important things investors ought b