President Joe Biden kicked off 2023 with a victory lap, and Covington, Kentucky was the lucky host for the ragtag group of pandering politicians promoting bipartisanship. As the saying goes, politics make strange bedfellows. To prove that point, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was sitting close by the president to pat the man on the back for a $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill. But is anyone shocked at McConnell?
Others on the dais included Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D), Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). A female ironworker introduced Biden to orchestra fanfare in front of one of the most heavily traveled thoroughfares, the Brent Spence bridge. Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan could not have produced a more delicious set of optics for the unity president.
No, No, Thank You!
After a typical struggle introducing people and joking about the debacle happening simultaneously in the House, he praised his friend, McConnell, with a caveat: “We don’t always agree, but he is a man of his word.” And then Mr. Biden began harping on bipartisan building partnerships, including infrastructure, manufacturing, a way to create good-paying jobs, especially those that don’t require a four-year degree. Again, he said, “it’s about making a difference in the Heartland.”
The Brent Spence structure, built in 1963, has been the subject of much discussion for Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. When built, maximum travel was calculated at 60,000 vehicles per day. In 2023, that number is estimated to be between 150,000 to 200,000, prompting fears of structural failure. According to the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor, even before federal assistance, Kentucky and Ohio have agreed to share the $3.6 billion upgrade, and “current estimates for each state are $2 billion for Ohio and $1.6 billion for Kentucky.”
The president was monotone but forceful as he said, “I believe this sends an important message to the entire country. We can work together. We can get things done. We can move the nation forward. We’re finally going to get it done.”
The topic of manufacturing was also on the president’s agenda. He brushed up on China’s near takeover and bluntly advocated a Trump-Esque America First agenda, saying that the US rested upon its laurels while other nations were competing intensely. “Where is it written that the United States cannot and will not lead in manufacturing again? We’re going to do it.”
“We invented the semiconductor. And then we went to sleep.” And now he wants everyone to “Buy American.” And, of course, he praised the union members, the local steelworkers present, for the jobs they were about to do.
The remarks were brief, the message clear: Bipartisan America will push the nation forward. And he’s the guy that gets it done.
Biden Brings It Home
The White House describes the legislation as such: “This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.” Everything but the kitchen sink to save the soul of a once very prosperous nation.
But Joe Biden sold his plan by touting national security through technology and “about simple pride” in the nation. He wound down by assuring Americans that “Our best days are ahead of us.” And concluded by repeating the Scranton Grandpa story: “He said, ’Joey, keep the faith,’ and my grandma would say, ‘no, Joey spread it.” And boy, did he ever spread it on the banks of the Ohio and Licking River confluence.
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