President Joe Biden, in defiance of his pro-science mantras, is not going to pressure teachers’ unions to reopen schools and get kids back into the classrooms. This week CDC director Rochelle Walensky said that schools are now safe to reopen. Yet press secretary Jen Psaki is notably unwilling to directly answer questions about the nationwide reopening of schools.
The Biden administration is not going to push back on the unions’ demands until a substantial relief package is passed with specific assistance for teachers’ unions, who are some of his most fervent supporters and donors. This will consist of a ransom package in the form of millions of taxpayer dollars that will certainly benefit the unions but will not accomplish the goal of ‘making schools safer’ or getting kids back into them. Even Biden-friendly members of the media like CNN host Jake Tapper are lightly slapping the President’s wrist on Twitter about his administration’s unscientific position. Biden is not going to budge and will continue to make excuses under the guise of safety and protocols, with little to no pressure from the majority of the American media.
So where are Republicans? As a national party the GOP is grappling with an insurrection attempt, a time-and-oxygen-sucking impeachment trial and facing the consequences of a new congressional minority. But it’s hard to fathom how households all over the country can find the time or energy to care about the impeachment of a former president as their kids remain out of school and away from their peers. Every Republican should be hammering this issue right now, everywhere, on every network TV appearance and Twitter feed. Fighting with the media about Donald Trump will not automatically lead to midterm victories next year. Fighting for parents across this country might.
Here’s a tip for GOP politicians on how to respond when CNN reporter Manu Raju pulls his ‘chasing Republicans through the halls of Congress’ act to ask them about the nutty tweets of a random House member of whom a majority of Americans have never heard. Look right down the barrel of the camera and tell parents that they have a choice, if they want it — you no longer have to be beholden to the protest and strike whims of teachers’ unions, who have demonstrated that they have been given far too much power and influence by our public officials for far too long.
Republican members of Congress should be talking about nothing else. Not Donald Trump. Not impeachment. Not QAnon tweets. Nothing. It is clear that President Biden has abandoned the parents of schoolchildren who voted for him for a little peace and quiet coming from Washington, because that is who Joe Biden is and always has been.
But Republicans are blowing it — big time. A subsection of the GOP has chosen provocative tweets and scrapping with the press as a substitute for policy messaging. This of course is emblematic of the former president who veered wildly and chaotically off any policy message that wasn’t ‘fights’. If the GOP has any hope of moving past the events of January 6, they aren’t going to do it by doubling down. Get back to work and get on message. Stop fighting on behalf of a former president. Start fighting on behalf of parents and kids.
There is an opportunity here and Republicans are missing in action. The Biden administration is backtracking on the promise of fully reopening schools in its first 100 days and redefining what an open ‘school’ is.
It’s evident by now that the national media, at the behest of the administration and the Democrats, plans to focus on Fox News and conspiracy theories and Donald Trump and almost anything other than frustrated parents. Joe Biden has made his decision to stand with teachers’ unions against parents and students. This is an open goal — and the GOP is missing it.