Stocking and Defending the Biden Swamp

Friend-of-carbon Democrat Cedric Richmond, Joe Biden's pick for senior liaison with the climate community

Two pieces from Rising perfectly exemplify what seems to be headed our way — defense of the Biden swamp and protection of Biden from attack for stocking it.

Stocking the Biden Swamp

First, an exposé (if one is needed) of the evil that is Cedric Richmond. Start at the 3:40 mark:

If your time is short, this from David Sirota says it all:

Biden's first climate appointment is one of the Democratic Party’s top recipients of fossil fuel industry money, who has repeatedly voted with Republicans against Democratic environmental legislation and for bills to help oil and gas companies. Cedric Richmond raked in large corporate PAC donations from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Phillips & Valero, while joining with Republicans to boost fossil fuel exports, promote pipeline development & oppose potential Obama administration limits on fracking.

Cedric Richmond, who was uniquely corrupt and insensitive to the people of his own district, dubbed "Cancer Alley" in the press for the obvious reason, is "Working Class Joe" Biden's pick to head up the Office of Public Engagement, where he is “expected to serve as a liaison with the business community and climate change activists.” The Sunrise Movement calls this a "betrayal."

Rep. Richmond is a former head of the Congressional Black Caucus (consider that for a moment). Attacks on Richmond are being called racist by Biden's defenders (consider that for another moment).

Saagar Enjeti has a terrific report on the breadth and depth of the Biden lobbying universe waiting to come to power here. This is not "just one guy and one record" as Joe McLean disingenuously says below.

There was great evil in the Trumpian swamp. This is the evil in the Biden swamp.

Defending the Biden Swamp

Next, there's the polished and practiced establishment defense of all this evil from the mouth of Joe McLean, Democratic strategist, crisis consultant, and principle at McLean/Clark, a DC public relations and crisis management firm. This the Democratic ecosystem talking; this is what they're all on board with.

Here are the key exchanges. Krystal Ball begins by asking what it means that a surge of lobbyists is lining up to connect with Biden insiders and associates.

Joe McLean: "What it really means is, amateur hour is over at the White House. These folks have all been involved in public service for decades—" Krystal Ball: "Is that what it's called?" McLean: "Of course, it is—"

I almost laughed out loud. "Public service? Is that what the kids are calling it?"

Ball: "Cashing in on pharmaceutical lobbyist ties and all of that. Is that public service, Joe?" Saagar Enjeti: "Why is amateur lobbying better than professional lobbying?" McLean: "What it means is, these folks understand how things work. They have a long history of trying to do the right thing, not only for their clients but for the government and for the American people. …" Ball: "Joe, it's hard for me to see that with the people that we have so far. "Let's take Cedric Richmond for example. … He represents one of the most polluted districts in the entire country. They have cancer rates 50 times the national average in his district. He never talked about that once in his time in Congress — not once — instead lining up with Republicans to crush any sort of environmental action, supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline, and taking more chemical, oil and gas money than any other Democrat. "So how can you look at that record and say [that] he's going to do what's best for the American people?" McLean: "Well, you're talking about one guy and one record. And I think what you'll find is, in order to make progress on any of these issues that you're talking about, everybody has to work together. You have to have some buy-in from corporations and labor unions and the environmental groups — you have to have buy-in from everybody."

So the "professionals" who've been lobbying ("involved with public service") for decades and have a "long history" of lining their pockets (he sells that as "trying to do the right thing, not only for their clients but for the government and for the American people") are the right people to get "buy-in" from corporations on issues like climate policy.

Welcome to the Biden Swamp. Worse, welcome to the defense you'll hear of it, from now till the party ends, in the Party-defending press.

Later, Hill reporter Jonathan Easley slyly comments that Richmond's elevation "probably raises the pressure on [Biden] to at least throw some sort of top policy position to a progressive so that he can start to say that he's consulting with some of the folks on the left about this."

That's awfully close to saying "throw some bones to progressives" so he can "at least claim" to be talking to them.

The Spanberger Defense

McLean then puts up the Spanberger defense and asserts what's now received wisdom in insider circles, that anything smelling of socialism is spells electoral loss. (This is this cycle's version of the Clinton defense, that the Russians, deplorables and Comey were why she lost to Trump.)

McLean: "I think you're going to find that the Biden people are going to try to do the right thing. "What they're not going to do, is they're not going to try to appease the left wing. And that's going to be ... that moderation is going to be very popular with the bulk of the American people.

"I mean, this is still a center-right country. ... We're not socialists. And anytime you start talking about socialism, you lose. That's the reason we lost all those seats."

McLean makes his money serving the people he defends, and he's looking for a much bigger paycheck with Biden in office, as they all are. He says what they're all saying. They're telling us who they are and what they'll do. We should listen and respond appropriately.

Is It Time to Ask a Few Questions?

This whole exchange, and the fact that this is the field where Biden and the mainstream Party is firmly planted, raises some questions:

• Was Joe Biden's hire of Cedric Richmond as climate liaison a "betrayal" of the Sunrise Movement? (I'll explain why I don't think so later.)

• Is it wrong to expect the worst from Biden when every mainstream voice says, "Give him a chance"?

• And finally, when should the war against Biden's neoliberalism begin? A year from now? A week from now? Or sooner?

The climate clock on the wall says "tick tick tick." The wealth inequality bombs are already exploding — Trump's election was the first real blast, with many more to come.

How soon should the nation — meaning every one of us — respond to its next threat?


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