Biden is failing, but not because he's not 'leftist' enough

Drew Angerer/Getty

Drew Angerer/Getty

What Joe Biden’s Presidency keep going floundera narrative is developing among progressives that suggests he is more lover than fighter.

In The New York Times, Michael Shear writes“While many Democrats advocate for a fighter to give voice to their anger, Mr. Biden has chosen a more passive path…” reported politician on Democrats who are increasingly “frustrated” by Biden’s “lack of urgency” and “apparent lack of fire.” And a Democratic member he told CNN that what people “want to see is the president swinging.”

Having lived the #ButHeFights! wars that propelled Donald Trump to the top of the Republican Party, I am well aware of the power of pugnacity. It’s true that there is often little correlation between fighting and winning, but even performative fights make people feel like you don’t give a shit.

Dig deeper and you’ll find the key distinction: It’s not just that Biden doesn’t “fight,” it’s that he refuses to give up existing norms and institutions. Increasingly, progressives are blaming “institutionalism,” “neocentrism” and “popularism”” for Democratic failures, and suggesting that to win“Democrats will have to dismiss any concerns about the appearance of moderation.”

‘Anyone but Trump’ is the only way forward for the GOP

The acceleration of this anti-Biden narrative suggests to me that progressives are beginning to move past the “let’s work with the referees” stage (where they tried, often successfully, to pushes Biden to the left) and have now moved on to state the predicate to explain (at some point in the future) why the Biden presidency failed.

Your reason? Some progressives are passionate about the issues (like abortion rights, for example) and sincerely believe that Biden could change things if she tried harder. For others, telling this story furthers their ideological agenda and (in some cases) their own professional ambitions. If the Biden administration becomes a warning about the dangers of moderation, Democrats are more likely to nominate someone with a more progressive agenda next time.

Since the stakes are so high, it’s worth asking if the narrative is actually true. I mean, progressives have an obvious incentive to tell a story that makes them both Cassandra and the solution to the problem.

So is it true? Not in my book.

What the washington post Dana Milbank points out“Biden has been saying, heatedly and repeatedly, exactly what he is accused of avoiding.”

Biden also wants nuke the filibuster (at least for the right to vote) and codify the right to abortion at the federal level. So he is willing to give in to rules and institutions.

You can argue that he’s not a good or convincing fighter, or that he doesn’t want to burn down as many norms or institutions as you’d prefer. However, this it is a guy who goes around arrogantly calling things “Jim Crow 2.0.” This is a guy who told African Americans that Mitt Romney (!) wants to put them “back in chains.” He is not a shrinking violet.

Rather, Biden’s fundamental mistake is more likely to have been trying to be too progressive and transformational.trying to be FDR and LBJ—despite running as a standards restorer who would work across the hall.

What went wrong in your presidency? The collapse of the Biden polls began A year ago with his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. And his biggest political problem is inflation, which he exacerbated with your expense Y claim to be transitory for months.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from these mistakes, to be sure. But the idea that Biden should have been busy destroying more regulations is not the conclusion.

Getting the story right is important because otherwise Democrats will make assumptions and calculations based on a flawed premise.

In fact, it could be argued that at least some of Joe Biden’s problems were created because the embraced dubious narratives.

Biden is a complete bozo for wanting to end the filibuster

Like the liberal columnist Bill Scher illustrates in washington monthlyBiden embraced the narratives pushed by liberal opinion leaders like Times Nobel Prize-winning columnist and economist Paul Krugman, saying that Barack Obama spent too little on stimulus and spent too much time trying to persuade Republicans.

Krugman was not alone. “The [Obama] the stimulus bill was cut more and more”, wrote Ezra Klein just after Biden’s inauguration. “A simpler, faster and more generous invoice [than The Affordable Care Act] It would have been a better policy and a better policy.”

At some point, this became conventional wisdom on the left, and it’s pretty clear that even Biden bought into it once he was sworn in as president in January 2021. Instead of trying to cut a deal with Republicans, Biden crushed them from the start. Also, he didn’t let concerns about the economy overheating get in the way. “We have learned from past crises that the risk is not to do too much”, Biden said in January 2021. “The risk is not doing enough.”

Parties that learn the wrong lessons are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and it appears that the Democrats are in the process of doing so. Reject Joe Biden, if you want. But at least do it for the right reasons.

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