The vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives are, literally, the second and third most powerful people in the U.S. and, therefore, in the world.
In his speech on Wednesday, perhaps the only big concession or nod to the culture wars of the past few weeks that U.S. President Joe Biden made was in his opening words, when he indicated the two women standing behind him. They were the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the vice president, Kamala Harris. “Madam Speaker,” he said, “Madam Vice President.” He could not continue because of the thunderous applause. When he managed to speak again, he pointed out the obvious: “No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words, and it’s about time.”
If there was ever a time that the phrase “girl power” was more than just a slogan, it was then: Harris and Pelosi are, literally, the second and third most powerful people in the United States, and therefore in the world. It also did not seem to escape Biden’s notice that he could use his age and Harris’ maturity to further his political agenda, and to fight back against the argument that he might have to hand his post over to her at any moment. It became evident when he was describing the future that, in his view, the country can expect, thanks to the new rescue packages.
Packages that “will create thousands and thousands of good paying jobs.” Those jobs, among other things, will connect “every American with high-speed internet, including the 35% of rural America that still doesn’t have it. This will help our kids and our businesses succeed in the 21st century economy.”
Biden continued with, “And I am asking the vice president to help lead this effort, if she….”
Immediately, Harris cut him off. “Of course,” she said.
“I know it will get done,” Biden concluded.
That was how the feminist agenda linked to the other big agenda, the most important: appealing to the destitute, the losers of globalization and those who missed out on the distribution of benefits across the country. Because only by gaining their support can Biden begin to fix a political rift that is also cultural and economic. It is the type of abyss that he intends to close up by appealing to all Americans — through his nods to Republicans, and through recycling messages that could be part of Mark Lilla’s “The Once and Future Liberal,” in which he claimed that the Democratic Party was blinded by the elitist atomization of those who bet everything on identity politics. Undoubtedly, at the forefront of all this, standing at the helm, is the girl power of Harris and Pelosi.