Ultra LAME

Earlier this week I quoted from President Biden’s May 10 remarks on the economy (correction in transcript): “Senator Rick Scott of Wisconsin [Florida], a member of the Senate Republican leadership, laid it all out in a plan. It’s the Ultra-MAGA Agenda.”

If you wondered whence the “Ultra-MAGA” shtick suddenly materialized, as I have, Washington Post reporters Ashley Parker and Michael Scherer have arrived with the answer. You had to know it did not originate in the senescent Biden brain. No, it is the fruit of a six-month marketing research project “helmed” by Anita Dunn, the Krupskaya of a leftist DC power couple. This is the supposed story behind the shtick:

Biden’s attempt to appropriate the “MAGA” brand as a political attack was hardly accidental. It arose from a six-month research project to find the best way to target Republicans, helmed by Biden adviser Anita Dunn and by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal group.

The polling and focus group research by Hart Research and the Global Strategy Group found that “MAGA” was already viewed negatively by voters — more negatively than other phrases like “Trump Republicans.”

In battleground areas, more than twice as many voters said they would be less likely to vote for someone called a “MAGA Republican” than would be more likely. The research also found that the description tapped into the broad agreement among voters that the Republican Party had become more extreme and power-hungry in recent years.

“All of that extremism gets captured in that brand,” said Navin Nayak, president and executive director of CAP Action Fund. “We are not trying to create a new word. This is how they define themselves.”

Nayak also said “MAGA” is a versatile epithet, allowing Biden and the Democrats to convey the same message whether they are talking about the economy, climate change or abortion.

Psaki on Tuesday described “ultra MAGA” as “the president’s phrase,” saying Biden personally added “a little ‘ultra’ to it — give it a little extra pop.”

Biden’s May 10 remarks sought to work up fear of the fictitious “Ultra-MAGA plan.” He described it as “the other path.” It helps to be able to say anything without compunction:

The other path is the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families; lower the incomes of American workers; threaten the sacred programs Americans count on like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires — just like they did the last time they held power when their top priority was a reckless $2 trillion tax cut going — the majority of that going to the very wealthiest Americans, which ballooned the deficit, and not a penny of it was paid for.

In answer to a question posed following his remarks Biden drew on Krupskaya’s market research: “And so, I think what’s happened is we have — in a sense, I never expected — let me say — let me say this carefully: I never expected the Ultra-MAGA Republicans, who seem to control the Republican Party now, to have been able to control the Republican Party. I — I never anticipated that happening.”

Why does he feel compelled to “say this carefully”? He doesn’t want the big bucks they spent on Krupskaya’s market research to go to waste. He somehow forgot to add that he really means it.

Is “Ultra MAGA” really their best shot? I think it is weak tea. Does the average American voter have any idea what Biden is talking about? I doubt it.

Lest their be any confusion — they seem to worry we might not get it — Biden crowned Donald Trump “the great MAGA king” the following day in his remarks to the IBEW: “Under my predecessor, the great MAGA king, the deficit increased every single year he was President. The first year of my presidency — the first year, I reduced the deficit — literally reduced the deficit by $350 billion. First year. (Applause.)” Woo hoo!

We know who is responsible for the deterioration in the conditions of our daily life since January 2021. As the handy Biden sticker puts it, I did that! Biden in his dotage personifies the deterioration. That seems to me a political problem for Biden that the MAGA shtick can’t deflect.

I am dubious about Krupskaya’s market research. I would like to see it with my own eyes. The Post reporters show no evidence of having seen it themselves. My assessment in the meantime is that “Ultra MAGA” is Ultra LAME, except perhaps for Republicans who have exploited Krupskaya’s market research for a marketing opportunity of their own.

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