As the Democrats rush to recruit conservative NeverTrumpers into the ranks of their decrepit party's leadership, it's important to grasp the fact that a conservative may not be as big a threat as a fascist, but a) we've been fighting against conservatism forever and for good reasons and b) conservatism inexorably leads to fascism. It's very nice that conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan is a NeverTrumper, but the Democratic Party would make a terrible mistake listening any more to him or other right wing pundits now than the party would have before Trump. His politics are twisted a toxic and he, like all of them, are eager to turn the Democratic Party into a replica of the Eisenhower-era GOP-- if not the Reagan-era GOP.
Yesterday, he asked his readers to imagine some kind of typical American who voted at least once for Trump and at least once for Obama and who aren't happy with Biden watching Biden’s press conference on Wednesday. Forget for a moment that anyone who voted for Trump is a moron. The press conference "would have said absolutely nothing to them. It would show that the president doesn’t share their priorities, that he sees no reason to change course, that he has no real solution to inflation, and that his priority now is a massive voting rights bill that represents a Christmas tree of Dem wishes, opposition to which he categorized as racist as Bull Connor. Biden was, as usual, appealing as a human being: fallible, calm, reasonable, and more 'with it' than I expected. I can’t help but like him and want the best for his administration. But the sheer gulf between the coalition that voted for him and the way he has governed became even wider as the time went by. Joe Biden can say a million times that he’s not Bernie Sanders. But when his priority has been to force through two massive bills full of utopian leftist dreams, and conspicuously failed to pass either, while also embracing every minor woke incursion in American life, he’s just a Bernie Sanders without the conviction or mandate. Which is … well, not great." Conservative ideologiues like Sullivan find it impossible to deal with the fact that what he refers to as "utopian leftist dreams" are immensely popular outside of crackpot GOP circles.
Condescendingly, he added that "Voting rights matter, obviously. The filibuster is a very mixed blessing-- capable of creating complete gridlock when the country is so deeply divided. I favor the anti-majoritarian ethos of the Senate, but there’s a decent case that the filibuster renders the minority far too powerful. I think most people are open to reforms on both, and I sure am."
But is this really what Americans want their president to be focused on right now?
Here's the Andrew Sullivan everyone knows and most people either detest or laugh at:
Maybe a huge Republican wave this November will force Biden to recalibrate, as happened with Bill Clinton. But Biden, one is increasingly reminded, is a party man, and his party has moved so far to the left in the past five years there is no way he can pull a Sister Souljah moment without splitting the Democrats in two.
So he may well become a transitional figure like Jimmy Carter-- a response to a criminal president, as Carter was, but too isolated, partisan and controlled by left interest groups to build a coalition for the future. Instead, a growing backlash including many Latinos, black voters, a slice of Asian-Americans, and suburban parents could create a viable and resilient multiracial coalition for the center right. We just have to pray that Trump is not the man who leads it.
On Thursday, a trio of NY Times reporters wrote Biden has no choice now but to figure out how to do something for the American despite the gridlock caused by conservatives, who "have made him seem powerless to advance key priorities... [He well] use his executive power to help former inmates return to society and reform police departments, after legislation on the latter issue failed to pass last year, according to several White House aides and a person familiar with the plans, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. 'If I made a mistake, I’m used to negotiating to get things done, and I’ve been, in the past, relatively successful at it in the United States Senate, even as vice president,' Biden said in a news conference on Wednesday. 'But I think that role as president-- is a different role. The public doesn’t want me to be the president-senator,' Biden said. 'They want me to be the president and let senators be senators.'"
But, they wrote, Biden's advisers [think of corrupt conservatives who have his ear like Steve Ricchetti, Gina Raimondo, Neera Tanden as examples], "are skeptical of recent suggestions from some progressive lawmakers that Biden should issue a series of sweeping executive orders and actions to simply put in place his stalled social policy legislation through administrative means. White House officials have said that the president does not have the authority for those provisions, several said. But they said the new strategy envisions the use of executive actions when possible to show that Mr. Biden is confronting issues facing the United States. They pointed to his recent purchase of 1 billion Covid tests in response to shortages as an example of the kind of presidential actions that will be a centerpiece of his efforts."
The Ricchettis and Raimondos of Biden-world, corporate DINOs with long histories of corruption are furious when Bernie says something like "The strategy of the last five months has obviously failed-- and that strategy was to beg and cajole and have endless conversations with Manchin and Sinema. Our job now is to show the American people what we stand for, and what the Republicans stand for."
And "privately" the Ricchetti-Raimondo faction "have also raised questions about Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, who is deeply involved in developing strategy and messaging for Biden, especially on domestic policy, the pandemic and the economy. But Biden on Wednesday insisted he is not planning any immediate staff shake-ups." That didn't stop the Ricchetti-Raimondo faction from planting rumors all overt he media yesterday and today that Klain is on his way out.
Yesterday Bernie rallied his supporters by reminding them that "For six months the President and the Democratic leadership have 'negotiated' with two conservative Democrats, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, to win their support for addressing some of the major crises we face. That strategy has failed. After endless backroom discussions the only thing we've achieved is the recent defeat of the voting rights legislation and no action on the extremely popular Reconciliation bill. Meanwhile, the Democratic base has become demoralized and polls show that the Republicans stand a good chance to win the House, the Senate and more governor's seats in 2022. We need a major course correction. We need to stand up for working families and force the Republicans to vote on wildly popular issues that working families want and need. When the overwhelming majority of Americans want to lower prescription drug costs, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eye glasses, greatly improve home health care and child care, demand that the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes and combat climate change, we need to make Republicans vote on these issues. We need to show the country how reactionary and out-of-touch that party is."
The Wall Street whores around Biden-- the Ricchetti-Raimondo faction-- have a very different approach. When Bernie says something like this, they cringe:
We want to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and substantially lower prescription drug prices, expand Medicare to cover hearing, dental and vision, address the crisis of childhood poverty and a dysfunctional child care system, improve the quality of home health care, build the affordable housing we desperately need and create millions of good jobs by combating the existential threat of climate change.
They see that the same way other elitists see it-- and the same way conservative ideologues like Andrew Sullivan see it.