Updated: Aug 1, 2021
Biden Is Not On Our Side-- Get Over It
Jake Tapper had guests on State of the Union this morning with some interesting things to say. Maine Senator Susan Collins predicted that there are enough Republican senators willing to thumb their noses at Trump to pass the conservative infrastructure bill that the corporate media keeps calling "bipartisan," even though it was negotiated by a gaggle of self-appointed conservatives. The bill isn't fully written yet but it overcame a ritual GOP filibuster last week with 6 votes to spare, 66-28. Not Democrats opposed it-- including not Bernie-- and all Dems were joined by 4 Republicans who are retiring (Blunt, Burr, Grassley and Portman) plus Capito (WV), Cassidy (LA), Collins (ME), Cramer (ND), Crapo (ID), Graham (SC), Hoeven (ND). McConnell (KY), Murkowski (AK), Romney (UT), Tillis (NC) and Young (IN)... all of whom were instantly labeled as weak RINOs by Señor Trumpanzee. Six other Republicans-- Inhofe, Marshall, Paul, Risch, Rounds and Rubio-- ducked the vote.
Collins: "This bill is good for America. Every senator can look at bridges and roads and need for more broadband, waterways in their state, seaports and airports, and see the benefits, the very concrete benefits, no pun intended, of this legislation."
AOC was also on the show and her perspective was very different from Collins'. She followed Joe Manchin, who said there are no guarantees that the reconciliation bill will pass the Senate, although he didn't come out hard against it the way Kyrsten Sinema-- in all but name already a Republican-- had done. AOC reiterated that "It was made very clear at the beginning of this process that this bipartisan deal-- if it even survives the Senate-- the only chance that it has at passing the House is if the House passes the Senate bill and if the Senate passes the House bill, which is largely in reconciliation. We can't just have one body driving the entire legislative agenda for the country... and, frankly 20 [conservative] senators within that one body. We need a reconciliation bill if we want this bipartisan bill to pass... If the Senate does not pass a reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in... 'Bipartisan' doesn't always mean that it's in the interest of the public good, frankly. Sometimes there's a lot of corporate lobbyist giveaways in some of these bills."
She predicted that "a very large amount" of the House Progressive Caucus-- "in the double digits"-- will prevent the bipartisan bill from passing without the reconciliation bill that Sinema has said she will work with the GOP to tank.
Pramila, Caucus chair, appears to be on the same side of this as AOC and I'm certain that between Pramila and the Squad, the have the votes necessarily to flex their muscles and show Biden and the conservative Dems that they can't ramrod their conservative priorities through by ignoring progressive priorities. It will certainly be interesting to see how many of the fake progressives in the Caucus, vote for the package no matter what happens with the reconciliation bill. At the very least, the conservatives can count on the members who never belonged in the Caucus to begin with and are all part of it to help them avoid primaries from the left. Non-progressives in the Congressional Progressive Caucus:
Donald Norcross (New Dem-NJ)
Don Beyer (New Dem-VA)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (New Dem-DE)
Brendan Boyle (New Dem-PA)
Andre Carson (New Dem-IN)
Madeleine Dean (New Dem-PA)
Steven Horsford (New Dem-NV)
Sara Jacobs (New Dem-CA)
Brenda Lawrence (New Dem-MI)
Joe Morelle (New Dem-NY)
Jimmy Panetta (New Dem-CA)
Adam Smith (New Dem-VA)
Darren Soto (New Dem-FL)
Lori Trahan (New Dem-MA)
Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)
Ruby Cramer penned an interesting piece for Politico Magazine today: The Unusual Group Trying to Turn Biden into FDR. The group is composed of descendants of "the nucleus of one of the most famous and influential Oval Office rosters in American history"-- FDR's cabinet, like Harry Hopkins, Henry Wallace, Harold Ickes, Frances Perkins and Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself. "They are," wrote Cramer, "determined to polish the legacy of America’s 32nd president by pushing the 46th to embrace a legislative agenda as transformational as the New Deal. They want Joe Biden to embrace the idea of an 'activist' government. They want him to eliminate the filibuster. They spend hours parsing his words for echoes of the stirring language that helped defeat the Great Depression. And they devote their Wednesday night Zoom meetings, where they have met nearly every week since last June, to plotting ways to keep the comparisons to FDR alive, as if repetition might somehow will Biden’s latent progressivism to life."
Yeah... good luck with that. Biden is a lifelong conservative and there is nothing that is going to persuade him to turn into a progressive in his last years of life. The descendants have their hearts in the right place and they are even optimistic... but very wrong about Biden. He spent his whole career being Joe Manchin and he's not about to turn into Elizabeth Warren, let alone Bernie.
“A lot of people thought FDR was going to be different too when he got in office,” the staffer, added. “They thought he would be more pro-business, more conservative in his governing.”
“He ran on a balanced budget!” said FDR’s grandson. “And it turned out that’s not what was called for.” The group laughed.
There is a consensus among the descendants that, not unlike FDR, “this is the real Biden,” Hopkins said.
A couple hours after the group logged off for the night, Biden took the stage at a CNN Town Hall in Cincinnati where he appeared to show the other real Biden, backing away from the possibility of eliminating the filibuster. “There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done,” he said. “Nothing at all will get done."
On this point the descendants feel certain: “The New Deal would have been impossible under today's filibuster regimen,” said Wallace. “In FDR, his first 100 days, he got 15 major pieces of legislation passed, every single one was subject to nothing more than the majority.”
“We’re at a crossroads right now,” Hopkins said, aware that their challenge will be inducing a more temperamentally cautious legislator to take “big and bold experimental” steps. “We have to be incredibly careful, as well as being energetic, in helping our government go onto a correct path.”
The group has plans to gather more descendants and historians at a possible “seminar” in November. First, they are drafting a mission statement. They are hopeful they will hear again from Walsh, Biden’s labor secretary. At the end of their meeting, the descendants said, Walsh had promised the group that he would be sure to “tell the Cabinet” about them.