President Joe Biden‘s campaign is trying to drive home to voters the idea that “Scranton Joe” and “Amtrak Joe” — regular guy personas Biden has long embraced — is the real friend to working class families, even if the so-called “populist” Republicans continually claim to fight on behalf of the same majority.
Biden’s poll numbers appear to show this message isn’t taking hold with voters the way his campaign hopes — despite infrastructure investment, job growth, a resilient economy, and major union wins across the country. (Biden famously stood on the picket line with the UAW, declaring unambiguous solidarity with the union side in the most recent battle.)
This polling/messaging frustration has triggered an unusual effort by Biden’s campaign to use Republican spokespersons to make its case that Republicans aren’t who they say they are.
With the GOP often enough at odds internally, those opportunities keep presenting themselves — and as a result Biden’s campaign has been amplifying GOP voices on its social media channels. The campaign evidently believes that Republicans are most effective at saying what’s wrong with Republicans.
In recent weeks, Biden’s campaign has amplified authoritarian rhetoric by MAGA mastermind Steve Bannon, video of Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) lambasting his GOP colleagues in the House, and now a virtual Biden campaign ad from a speech by ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The Biden campaign shared a clip showing McCarthy in a tuxedo saying the Democrats “look like America” and that the GOP “looks like the most restrictive country club in America.” (It goes without saying which Americans those country clubs are restricting.)
McCarthy: When you look at the Democrats, they actually look like America. When I look at my party, we look like the most restrictive country club in America pic.twitter.com/xoDPIPyykr— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) December 9, 2023
Biden is using this revealing, candid McCarthy moment to try to reclaim “Scranton Joe” from “Bakersfield Kevin” and the GOP — and McCarthy’s quip obliges.
But McCarthy may not be much help to Biden in the future. In announcing his imminent departure from Congress, McCarthy vowed to continue to work for the GOP outside an official government capacity, claiming a mandate “to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office.”
McCarthy said: “The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.” The choice of the word “expanding” is no accident, as McCarthy in the segment above has already warned his party that expansion is necessary.