Politico’s evolution into Bizarro World Babylon Bee took place so slowly that we hardly noticed it. On Friday, they tried to make an argument that Congress had only left Joe Biden a “shoestring budget” for COVID-19 management just 14 months after Congress appropriated $1.9 trillion in off-budget funds that Biden demanded. Today, after Biden has insisted on spending his entire first sixteen months pushing a hard-left progressive agenda, Politico now reports that Biden has tired of … bipartisanship.
To the frustration of many Democrats and some of his closest advisers, President Joe Biden has steadfastly spent more than a year in office insisting on trying to work across the aisle with Republicans.
Ahem. Would this be the same President Biden who accused supporters of the legislative filibuster and opponents to his plan to federalize elections of being purveyors of “Jim Crow 2.0”? Repeatedly?
Remember when Biden demanded a filibuster end as a test whether people stood with liberty or with George Wallace? Or when Biden even accused Senate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin of choosing the side of Bull Connor?
Joe Biden says Americans who are opposed to his radical election overhaul bills are domestic enemies. pic.twitter.com/Lv31JYUk29
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 11, 2022
That was only four months ago, and yet — just like Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID bill — Politico seems to have been born yesterday:
To many Democrats, the admission was long overdue. Even some in Biden’s orbit had been urging a far more aggressive response, according to four White House officials and Democrats close to the White House.
Steve Ricchetti, Biden’s senior adviser and the primary liaison with the GOP during the infrastructure talks, told Biden after that infrastructure bill passed that he didn’t think the GOP would bargain anymore. Much of the communications staff, including just-departed press secretary Jen Psaki, advised a more aggressive stance. And first lady Jill Biden told confidants that she was urging her husband to be less scripted and more on the offensive.
But that approach did not come quickly or naturally for Biden, who chose to largely hold back, even telling senior aides that, setting aside any personal feelings, he felt he could still work with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Calling people racists and accusing them of supporting Jim Crow laws is “holding back”? This part made me laugh out loud, though:
As a candidate and since taking office, Biden would fondly recall working with Republicans and even arc-segregationist Democrats during his 36-year Senate career. And even though he witnessed firsthand the vicious GOP attacks on former President Barack Obama, he pointed to his role as vice president in successfully spearheading negotiations around tax cuts and spending reductions with McConnell as evidence that he possessed the right temperament and skills to make deals amid the histrionics.
But Biden also believed that after four tumultuous years of Trump, the nation was hungry for unity — and that even some Republicans, horrified by the Jan. 6 riot and weary of the 45th president’s divisive approach to the office, would be willing to spend some time working across the aisle.
They may have, too, had Biden shown the slightest inclination to lead from the middle. Biden certainly campaigned on a promise to do just that. Once in office, however, Biden instead shifted hard over to the Left to attempt sweeping and expensive changes to federal government. The attempt to federalize elections was only one part of that; Biden also flirted heavily with demands to pack the Supreme Court, although eventually tempering that to a more ambiguous “reform.” Biden demanded an end to the legislative filibuster to allow his bare majority to force the progressive agenda through the Senate, including another $5 trillion in spending that would vastly increase the welfare state just at the same time that inflation began running away.
The only really bipartisan effort that Biden allowed was the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. And even then, Biden championed the effort to hold that hostage for months in an attempt to force the Senate to pass his bloated progressive spend-o-rama, the Build Back Better bill, or to jam it through reconciliation. That didn’t fail due to a lack of Republican cooperation, either, but because Biden didn’t bother to negotiate with Sinema and Manchin before drafting the plan — and didn’t bother to seriously address their concerns later.
Even Bernie Sanders understands that Biden invested his whole presidency in the progressive agenda, and that it’s Manchin and Sinema who thwarted it:
“It should not be a head-scratcher. You’ve got two members of the Senate, Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, who have sabotaged what the president has been fighting for,” Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, said.
“You’ve got 48 members of the Senate who wanted to go forward with an agenda that helped working families, that was prepared to take on the wealthy and the powerful,” Sanders said. “You got a president who wanted to do that.”
Senate Democrats struggled for much of last year to cobble together spending legislation that could pass on a party-line vote and make it to Biden’s desk.
Manchin and Sinema have opposed key elements of the Build Back Better package, with Manchin delivering a death blow to the massive package late last year. The pair have also opposed changing the 50-50 Senate’s 60-vote threshold for advancing legislation to allow Democrats to pass other legislative priorities.
If Politico wonders why Biden hasn’t gotten anything accomplished other than the inflationary American Rescue Plan and the infrastructure bill, they should ask themselves in what else Biden has invested serious effort. They’re still pushing the election-federalizing bill, still pushing Build Back Better, and now they’re pushing Chuck Schumer’s radical abortion-federalizing bill that only about a third of Americans would support at best.
Biden hasn’t offered Republicans any form of bipartisanship other than “vote my way or else you’re racist.” All along the way, Biden has demagogued Republicans for opposing his radical proposals, trying to steamroll them into compliance. Now the White House claims that this is somehow “bipartisanship,” and pretending that Biden hasn’t spent the last sixteen months betraying his pledge to govern from the center. And Politico is dutifully providing stenography for that spin.