Literally every liberal and conservative activist watching this clip is thinking, “Time for a revolution then, I guess.”
Biden has given variations of this answer repeatedly over the last month, insisting that bipartisanship in Washington is still possible, all conventional wisdom to the contrary notwithstanding. I … kind of think he believes it. It’s the sort of thing he would say even if he didn’t believe it since he’s counting on centrists to be his base and centrists love hearing well-meaning claptrap about reaching across the aisle. But after decades of writing legislation in the Senate and buddying up to Republicans to do it in a past era, he may really believe that his dealmaking prowess and friendly relationships with the GOP on the Hill make him the man to end the new era of fierce of negative hyperpartisanship.
His former boss famously believed this too. Win reelection, Obama thought in 2012, and the Republican resistance would crack and finally get down to the hard business of compromising with him on policy. He did win reelection — but the GOP dug in and won a Senate majority in 2014 which they have yet to relinquish. I bet Trump believes the same thing about 2020. Democrats won the midterms and are confident about their chances next year, so they’re waiting him out on major policy deals right now. But once he’s safely reelected and Pelosi realizes he’s the only game in town until 2024, she’ll come around.
She won’t. Activist organizing and partisan media cocooning on both sides in the Internet age are irresistible forces.
I think Biden’s going to get shredded for this at the debates. There are all sorts of policy issues he can and will be challenged on, but policy is complicated. His apparent belief that Republicans are basically good at heart and want to compromise is, by contrast, very easy for the average left-wing voter to grasp and verrrrrry likely to elicit a strong reaction. “You can shame people to do things the right way,” he insists at the very end of his answer here, ignoring the fact that the very first commandment in the modern Democratic creed is that Republicans are shameless.
The smart answer here, which he should have given, happens also to be the truth: The filibuster is not long for this world regardless of how the 2020 elections turn out. Elizabeth Warren gave that answer at this same event this afternoon, in fact, not long after Biden spoke.
. @ewarren on how she implements a wealth tax, goes to killing the filibuster:
“If we’re in the majority and Mitch McConnell wants to block us … then I’m all for getting rid of the filibuster. We cannot let him block things the way he did during the Obama administration.”
— David Catanese (@davecatanese) June 17, 2019
It’s a mortal lock that the filibuster will be scrapped if either party ends up with total control of government next year. Each side has been frustrated legislatively for too long by the 60-vote rule. It must and will change.
I wonder if it might change even if government stays divided. What I mean is that right now seems like an opportune moment for both sides to agree to nuke the rule, sparing themselves from having to take sole responsibility down the road for a raw power grab aimed at ramming their agenda through. Odds are good that the House will stay Democratic and that the Senate will remain Republican on Election Day next year, with the presidency a question mark. As such, with Pelosi enjoying currently veto power over Republican legislation, the stakes are relatively low for Democrats in scrapping the filibuster. If they agreed to do so and then electoral fortunes shifted their way next year, they’d be in position to retake government and enact ambitious programs with the filibuster already long gone by the time they’re sworn in. Same goes, of course, for the GOP if Trump is reelected and they reclaim the House majority.
If Biden were wise, he’d push that idea now. “I believe in bipartisanship,” he might say, “but bipartisanship shouldn’t demand supermajority thresholds. As president, I can bring together majorities in the House and Senate. Let’s move America forward by moving past the filibuster.” Instead Warren’s going to end up saying that at the debates. And it’ll be a big hit when she does.
Exit question: What planet is Uncle Joe on here when he insists that Obama had no time to explain ObamaCare? He explained it for literally six years, bro. His “explanation” was the 2013 lie of the year!