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In a time of deep divide, Congress and the White House shock us all.

Now, I am not a big fan of the current president, but he does represent the only party left not trying to lead us into fascism, so I guess I support him. It’s not unlike supporting the kid with his finger in the dam – don’t really know him, don’t care what kind of shoes he wears or his taste in music – just keep your finger in there, buddy, or we’re drowning. However, I must give the guy his due. Like Rudy Giuliani 30 years ago when he ran for NYC mayor and promised to clean up the streets, I guffawed heartily at Biden when he kept saying during the 2020 campaign trail that he would work “across the aisle” to get things done, dissimilar to his previous two predecessors who seemed to go their own way on things. That autumn, the nation Biden hoped to lead was as politically divided as it has been in my lifetime, and it appeared it was merely the usual falderal to get him to the top spot where there would be more hemming and hawing, name calling, and expected gridlock. 

Well, after this miraculous, fair, and equitable political détente that kept the country from economic crisis this week with the conjuring and passing of an agreement (An agreement!) between disparate political parties to extend the debt ceiling for another two years (after the 2024 election), Biden appears to be a seer. However, this was not an isolated event. Nope. This highly unlikely coming together of unlike minds added to the president’s many (again, when considering Obama and Trump) bipartisan accomplishments. It is fair to say Joe Biden was, and is, not fucking around on this “working across the aisle” thing.

Since being sworn in, and for two years with a Democratic Congress and Senate at his disposal, Biden managed to corral Republicans to support and vote for legislation on several crucial bills that will alter the nation for the good. First was the much-needed measure that no president (despite all the promising) has been able to pull-off in four decades: a one-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill (November 2021). One month later came the bipartisan federal codification of gay marriage that was needed after the radical right-wing Supreme Court, a puppet of religious zealotry, struck down Roe v Wade and was throwing threats to kill marriage equality. This was followed by last April’s $52 billion chips deal, a huge and, quite frankly, overdue measure to not rely on foreign companies to hijack our entire digital eco-system and have American companies make the key ingredient in nearly everything we rely on today. Finally, and perhaps most incredibly, the wildly popular (even among Republicans) gun law from last June that at least tries to address the almost daily carnage of the past 15 years – the first meaningful piece of gun-related legislation in three decades.

Now comes the extension of the debt ceiling, which should never have been an issue, but the moment Republicans squeaked out the House last November, you knew it would be. Never mind that most of the money on that docket was engineered by the Trump Administration and gleefully passed onto the debt by the same Republicans who were suddenly up in arms over spending once a Democrat became president, but this is par for the proverbial course in Washington. What wasn’t rote was Biden’s apparent negotiating skills, which he touted as a member of the Senate for 35 years. Once things got vocal and snippy, he demanded just he and the Speaker of the House meet in private without all the noise. He allowed the opposition to continue to berate him and demand to cut everything in sight and kept his eye on the prize.

Hence, the deal.       

Now, of course, to be fair, this could not have been accomplished or even fathomed without the assistance and heady work of Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had incoming fire from all ends and the fate of the U.S. economy on his watch. An economy, mind you, which has been firing on all cylinders – unemployment has dipped under 3.5% for the first time since 1969 (I was six, I am currently 60.) with a decrease in inflation from 8% when Biden was sworn in to under 5%. The aphorism “it takes two to tango” applies here. And dance these two men did. 

This level of deal-making did not look good a few months back. After a record 15 rounds of voting that it took to secure McCarthy the speakership, political junkies were convinced he was a hostage of the crazies that made him sweat it out. McCarthy, too, was not fucking around when he kept repeating that if not him, we were looking at the lunatic fringe running the asylum… but it definitely looked less likely he could control this wacky contingent of fascists and religious zealots to get anything close to a coalition once he gave them the ability to oust him with a single voice. The shit he had to eat to get the gig from his own party was scary, embarrassing, and sad. Since the day McCarthy became speaker there has been an albatross on the man’s neck, yet, somehow and someway he worked tirelessly with the president to extend the debt ceiling and rescue the nation’s economy. 

I piss on most things in this space, but this was a fine job. Professional. Political. Critical. 

I wouldn’t say this is any sign that when the coming national budget arguments explode, we can use this as a reference on how events will unfold. This was kind of like voting to not let a bomb go off in the rotunda, but at least Biden and McCarthy proved that this can be done. The two parties have enough in the center to move the needle. They, if not their constituents or the press can point to this deal – in which no one is happy and no one “won” but was the correct, adult, prudent and responsible thing to do – as a marker.

For now, this is a victory for bipartisanship and shows the country that allowing Trump back in the henhouse or whatever that fascist pig from Florida is pitching like eradicating Democrats from the national scene, is a non-starter. Voters claim they want the federal government to stop grandstanding get shit done. The president and the speaker got something done. 

Take the W.