Welcome to DiscRep, Berny Belvedere’s daily guide to the public discourse for Arc members. Got something you think I should include in a future entry? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To discuss any of today’s items, post a comment below.
In FiveThirtyEight, Alex Samuels on Biden’s chances in 2024.
One challenge for Biden is that his presidency has arguably been quite successful — his wins just haven’t been enough to save his approval rating. Despite only barely having majority support in the U.S. Senate for all of his time in office so far, the post-honeymoon phase of Biden’s presidency was surprisingly productive: He was able to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a bipartisan infrastructure bill and another bipartisan gun-safety bill. In addition, almost half of Americans gave the Biden administration decently high marks for its initial handling of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The president also received praise after he announced a popular plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt (though that’s currently tangled up with the Supreme Court).
But none of those victories really helped Biden in the court of public opinion. Even Democrats’ strong performance in last year’s midterm races failed to move the needle for him, and now that Republicans control the U.S. House, it’s unlikely that Biden will be able to usher through meaty legislative priorities. Compared to past presidents, though, Biden actually starts his reelection bid as somewhat of an underdog. In fact, as of April 24, only 42.5 percent of Americans approved of his job as president. That’s actually not far off from Trump (41.3 percent) and former President Barack Obama’s (45.1 percent) approval numbers on April 24 the year before they sought reelection. But, perhaps worryingly for Biden, he’s still on lower end compared to recent presidents.
In The New York Times, media watcher Brian Stelter on Tucker Carlson.
In our pages, Alan Elrod with a short piece on Moms for Liberty. (Also on Arc, my philosophical exploration of the nature of belief.) Elrod:
Moms for Liberty claims that all of their advocacy for curriculum changes and book bans, as well as their opposition to things like gender-affirming bathroom policies, is about harm prevention. They want to prevent children from being indoctrinated with far-left ideas about sexuality and economics. They want to keep them from feeling upset or conflicted because of their racial or socio-economic privileges. They want to stop them from being groomed.
As I’ve written before here at Arc, this kind of concern for children and insistence on parents’ rights tends to run in one direction. And it tends to be highly exclusionary. Little thought is given to what other parents might want for the schools in their communities. And children are treated as nearly totally without agency, as clay to be molded however their parents see fit or as vulnerable prey for stalking Marxists and sexual perverts.
In The Washington Post, Aaron Gregg and Lori Rozsa on Disney’s response to DeSantis’s escalation. From “Disney Sues Gov. Ron DeSantis, Alleging Political Retaliation”:
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida came the same day the governor’s handpicked board declared a Disney-friendly deal null and void. Disney and DeSantis’s office have been tussling privately for the past year, but the frequency and intensity of their sparring has intensified dramatically in recent days.
The standoff, which could have major political and economic consequences, began in early 2022 when Disney leaders criticized a controversial education bill advanced by DeSantis and other Florida Republicans. Disney’s resorts in Florida are some of the state’s prime attractions, but DeSantis expressed outrage that the company dare criticize the education bill, and he began attacking the company, saying it had received preferential treatment for too long.
Starship Explosion: How Elon Musk’s SpaceX Got Here (The Wall Street Journal)