But New Dems Can Always Blame the ‘Left’

And the Left, in this case, apparently includes the program put forth by noted leftist Joe Biden (boldface mine):

Both bills were moving through Congress until, during the summer, several members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus threatened to derail the social policy package unless the House took an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill, which had been negotiated and passed by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate…

Ironically, it was this letter — and similar statements from Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — that brought the Democratic Party’s momentum to a sudden halt. Democrats would spend the next three months negotiating the two-track process and struggling to meet the shifting demands of moderates and conservatives over the substance of the social policy bill.

The immediate effect of this split within the Democratic Party was to undermine Biden, whose popularity was already on the decline. He took one hit from the Afghanistan withdrawal, another from the ongoing pandemic and still another from the chaos and division in Washington.

If there was one goal in mind among the moderates and conservatives who froze the Democratic Party’s agenda in place, it was to pass their priorities in law while distancing themselves from their progressive colleagues. What happened, instead, is that they weakened Democrats across the board, as candidates struggled to overcome a sense of failure that had settled over the party. Terry McAuliffe, a moderate former governor of Virginia, couldn’t clear that hurdle. In November, he lost his bid for a (nonconsecutive) second term to Glenn Youngkin, a conservative Republican.

…moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress demanded that the House pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill so that the party would have something to tout on the campaign trail. Having made concession after concession in an effort to secure votes for the president’s social policy package, progressives now agreed to end the two-track process and hold a vote on the infrastructure bill.

The House voted, and the bill passed. Moderates had their win. But rather than go on the offensive, infrastructure spending in hand, they sat quiet. There would be no publicity blitz, no attempt to capture the nation’s attention with a campaign to sell the accomplishments of moderation, no attempt to elevate members who might shine in the spotlight and certainly no serious attempt to push back on the right-wing cultural politics that helped Republicans notch a win in Virginia

Instead, they’ve used their remaining political capital to kill the most popular items on the Democratic Party wish list, from tax hikes on the richest Americans and an increase in the minimum wage to a plan for price controls on prescription drugs. They couldn’t even be bothered to save the revamped child tax credit, one of the most effective antipoverty measures since at least the Great Society…

Specifically, it looks as if moderate and conservative Democrats are doing everything they can to obscure the fact that, under their leadership and following their agenda, the Democratic Party has run aground and can’t get back on course. They sense a blowout in November and would rather play the blame game than do anything concrete to regain the ground they’ve helped lose. Their refusal to either pass popular economic legislation or fight the cultural battles of the moment have left them with only one option: find a scapegoat.

The problem is that the leadership who enabled the moderates and conservatives (and who often choose them to run in the first place) won’t suffer any consequences: they will still have their seats. In what is some sort of justice–though the rest of us will suffer for it–the conservative Democrats will be the ones who pay a price at the polls. And, of course, those lost seats will be laid at the feet of the squad, not the moderates and conservative who got exactly what they wanted, and then were unable to win with it.

Really, what they–and those of us faced with the choice between craven, gormless incompetence and active malevolence–must hope for is that Democratic voters, once again, will save them from themselves. I’m not sure they can this time.

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2 Responses to But New Dems Can Always Blame the ‘Left’

  1. jrs says:

    The Dem voters saving them from themselves, is unlikely to keep working because it’s contra human nature almost. Dem voters vote for them, Dem voters get kicked around and have little (not nothing but indeed little) to show for it. Then they are supposed to turn the other cheek and vote for them again because the Republicans are crazy and fascists and against democracy and worse, which they are. So then even if they were to do the right thing against all their instincts not to, and turn the other check and vote again for their enemy basically, but a less bad enemy. But how long can that realistically continue? Before everyone is out of cheeks to turn.

  2. John says:

    Mark my words, we’re going to see a replay of 2010: the Republicans will rise phoenix-like from the ashes of defeat. Their defeat wasn’t as bad in 2020, so they have all the more to gain.

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