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President Biden is slated to once again address the American public regarding the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on Thursday. And while some may cynically view his continued remarks as compulsory or, at this point, overkill, Bloomberg's Jonathan Bernstein argues that another pandemic speech is exactly what the president needs right now.
For one thing, Biden's remarks will likely grab the attention of those in executive branch agencies. "Presidential speeches can be useful as a deadline for decisions," Bernstein writes, "and then can focus the attention of the bureaucracy and of those Biden has put in the various departments and agencies on what the president wants them to be working on."
Furthermore, and perhaps even more importantly, by focusing media attention on the pandemic — "generally one of Biden's better policy areas" — the president stands a chance of both bolstering his drooping approval ratings and perhaps even convincing "Democrats who may be wavering in their support ... that he has a realistic plan and hasn't ignored the situation," Bernstein writes.
The current COVID landscape, while rough, stands to improve alongside a likely increase in vaccine mandates and vaccination rates. And hopefully, that will be enough, Bernstein notes — Biden does not have to be popular now, but he needs to be popular before midterms in 2022 and before the presidential election in 2024. The president's favorability, he writes, "depends on a successful effort against the pandemic and a booming economy. At least more than on anything else."