Ben Burgis' Jacobin post yesterday, Bipartisanship Is Garbage could have been titled Bidenism Is Garbage... and it could have been written anytime from 1973 on. He wrote that "Whether the 'bipartisan' gutting of the infrastructure bill is all the fault of Joe Manchin or Joe Biden and his frequently professed enthusiasm for renewed bipartisan cooperation, it’s a disaster for the working class. The original bill had $387 billion for 'housing, schools, and buildings.' The bipartisan version has $0. The original infrastructure bill had $400 billion for 'home- and community-based care.' The bipartisan version has $0. Even 'clean energy tax credits,' an absurdly inadequate response to the climate crisis, plummeted from $363 billion to $0. Other climate measures were also scrapped. The gap between the bills is a catastrophe in human terms. What it has going for it is... bipartisanship. Democrats say they’ll pass a separate bill through the reconciliation process to address the areas where the infrastructure bill does nothing. We’ll see. Powerful players have promised they won’t vote on the infrastructure bill if the reconciliation bill isn’t approved, but it’s hard to avoid the sinking feeling that we’ve seen this movie before. In 2009, for example, the House Progressive Caucus was vowing not to support any version of the Affordable Care Act that didn’t include a public option."
Roll Call, which insists on labelling rot gut anti-working class right-wingers "moderates," ran a piece by Lindsey McPherson today about conservaDems like Oregon Blue Dog Kurt Schrader and Hawaii Blue Dog Ed Case demanding Pelosi drop her plans to not vote on the conservative infrastructure bill until reconciliation is also voted on. I doubt it's going to take much urging. Aside from Case and Schrader other rabid conservatives always looking to undermine the working class who have said they oppose the reconciliation bill being put forward by progressives, include Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ), Abigail Spanberger (Blue Dog-VA), New Jersey Blue Dogs Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer and Texas Blue Dogs Vicente Gonzalez and Henry Cuellar. These are among the same people who nixed the Democrats' hopes to extend the eviction moratorium. You know, the "moderates."
You may remember Ben Jacobs, the journalist who was used as a prop and punching bag by Montana fascist and multimillionaire Greg Gianforte in his congressional campaign. [Gianforte was sentenced to 4 days in prison but the sentence was reduced to 20 hours of anger management classes and a $300 fine instead. His net worth is $135 million, so the $300 would be like 3 pennies for a normal person.]
Today Jacobs, in a piece for the Washington Monthly, Bidenizing the Democrats, mentioned that the Biden wing of the party is gaining the the advantage in tomorrow's primary against working class champion Nina Turner. Jacobs was dead wrong when he wrote that "Progress on the infrastructure bill advanced Biden’s political interests not only by showing he could, at least in this instance, secure cooperation from Republicans, but also by demonstrating that, at least so far, this bipartisanship isn’t costing him support from the party’s left flank." It's costing Biden plenty and is likely to split open the festering hatred of conservatives-- like himself-- inside the Democratic Party.
"The anti-establishment fervor among Democrats that pushed the party leftward in 2018 and 2020 isn’t going away," wrote Jacobs, "but with Trump finally out of office and progressive policies being enacted in Washington, it doesn’t seem to succeed when it turns against Biden. This year’s low-turnout off-year Democratic primary elections will likely continue to favor candidates loyal to the president. It’s Biden’s party for now."
First of all, which progressive policies have been enacted in Washington? I don't recall any. The Biden wing won the New Orleans congressional primary given up by conservative Democrat Cedric Richmond when he joined Team Biden, against progressives Karen Peterson and Gary Chambers who split 44.2% of the vote between them to Troy Carter's 36.4%. Carter spent $1,317,619 to Peterson's $965,793.
Back to Burgis' Jacobin article: "[I]t's no surprise that so many of the worst things that have happened in the last twenty years have been bipartisan. The invasion of Iraq was deeply bipartisan. Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and a long list of other prominent Democrats voted for it. The Patriot Act was almost unanimously bipartisan. (Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold was the only senator who voted against it.) The beginning of the forever war in Afghanistan was so bipartisan that there wasn’t a single 'no' vote in the Senate."
There’s nothing wrong with seeking out bipartisan support for beneficial reforms when it’s possible and will make such measures more likely to pass. Bernie Sanders, for example, has done so in situations ranging from improving health care for veterans to ending US involvement in the war in Yemen. But your default reaction to hearing that some new bill is bipartisan should be to worry about how the two parties of capital are ganging up to screw the rest of us this time.
After the spiraling series of catastrophes that have ravaged the working-class majority of society, we need far more than the original infrastructure bill ever promised to make things right. Instead, we’re being told we should cheer for getting much less than it promised because the process is bipartisan.