Joe Biden has spent his entire life preparing for this weekAnalysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 9:49 PM ET, Mon September 27, 2021
(CNN)If you asked President Joe Biden to sum up his life -- and political career -- in a single term, he would probably say "deal-maker."
While Biden tends to be self-deprecating about many things, his unique ability to make deals is not one of them.
"Give me a break," Biden told Politico when questioned about his ability to makes deals a few years back. "I've been doing this my entire career. I'm going to say something outrageous: I don't know anybody who counts votes better than me in the Senate."
In 2019, Biden sounded a similar note in a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
"My whole career I've been able to get a lot of things done," he said at the time. "I know I am being criticized by some on the far left that I ... actually think we should work with Republicans. But how do you get something done [without that]?"
Then this in 2020: "I'm going to say something outrageous. I'm not bad at this because people know whatever I tell them, I will do. I'll keep my word."
And even in his victory speech after winning the 2020 election, Biden referred to his desire to bring people together.
"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify," he said. "Who doesn't see red and blue states, but a United States."
Joe Biden, meet the most important week of your life.
If ever there was a man for the moment -- the moment being more than $4.5 trillion in government spending that congressional Democrats are trying to pass this week -- it's Joe Biden.
If you believe Biden that the work of his life has been deal-making -- and there's ample evidence in deals he cut with then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his years as vice president -- then now is the time for him to show and prove that he can do it on the biggest stage with the biggest stakes.
(Sidebar: McConnell himself has openly acknowledged Biden's deal-making capacity. "There is a reason 'Get Joe on the phone' is shorthand for 'time to get serious' in my office," McConnell said back in 2016.)
Yes, the task is significant -- trying to thread the needle between liberals and moderates within his own party to find a way to get almost the entirety of his first-term agenda done with these two pieces of legislation.
But that's what Biden asked for -- and what he has long told us he is uniquely suited to do.
The Point: It's put up or shut up time for Biden. And the success or failure of his administration may well be riding on it.
If you asked President Joe Biden to sum up his life -- and political career -- in a single term, he would probably say "deal-maker."