In terms of the upcoming two years, President Joe Biden must decide between being a successful leader of his country and guiding his party to victory. These objectives, sadly, can't simply be merged.
Biden demonstrated that he has chosen to run for office above leading the country in his State of the Union speech last week. Republicans weren't invited to work together on areas of agreement and pursue small steps toward improvement wherever feasible. He primarily intended to provoke and humiliate his opponents, and he was successful. There were ritual cries for bipartisanship, but they were obviously hollow.
The terrible aspect is not only that Biden made this judgment; after all, he is a politician; it's also that it makes some logic. Committed liberals and conservatives are competing in US politics more and more. I am in the reasonable middle of the country with the majority, unimpressed by either side and utterly disinterested in the game. To win over this middle is not the core objective of either party. It's more effective to excite your fans and, similarly, infuriate your detractors for what may be sound tactical reasons.
There are many similarities between good governance and pragmatic centrist compromise. Both are not particularly appealing to politically active people.
The charade that Biden pulled on entitlements' future was illustrative. Republicans, according to him, aim to "sunset" Social Security. A misrepresentation that elicited mockery and criticism from the GOP side was the claim that any Republicans, much less the majority of Republicans, wish to stop the program. Then Biden used his yelling opponents to force applause by saying, "Let's stand up for seniors. Show them by getting up. We won't make Social Security cuts. Medicare will not be slashed. Officials appeared to be high-fiving one other in the White House as they observed the president taking the adversary to the task.
Thus, campaigning prevailed over executive action. Unfortunately, the Social Security and Medicare systems are headed into technical insolvency. This is an issue that can be easily solved as long as it is identified and addressed right away. Biden supported the Greenspan Commission's recommended changes to Social Security in 1983 under fairly same circumstances, which included raising the retirement age gradually in order to balance the budget. It will once more be necessary to find a similar solution, one that combines revenue hikes with spending reductions. It will be less disruptive if it is started sooner.
A new panel to research the possibilities for sustaining the programs may have been offered by Biden. He decided that it would be preferable to ignore the issue, maintain the state of paralysis, and laugh at the Republicans' embarrassment.
The president also praised his accomplishments in negotiating a number of bipartisan deals during his first two years in office, including the $1 trillion infrastructure program (which progressives held hostage for months before it was eventually passed). But Obama presented these initiatives less as genuinely collaborative successes than as progressive triumphs against Republican opposition and as first steps toward more radical tax and spending plans, he still intends to pursue.
He kept insisting, "Finish the work." Bipartisanship is obviously irreconcilable with what he appears to intend by this, which is an endless list of additional expenditure obligations and restrictions to restrain the predatory private sector. That is the key idea. Now that the Republicans are in control of the House, he is aware that legislation cannot advance his agenda. However, if the political center is unwilling to get involved, there is a political benefit to making irrational requests, receiving vehement denials, and accomplishing nothing.
Democrats will question: What good is trying to reach a deal with the Republicans of today? a valid query And the opposite side follows the same logic. Both parties are content to accept the outcomes for the manner in which the nation is, or is not, governed, and neither truly wants to make a compromise.
Without a certain, we moderates are to blame in the end. Don't expect the government to function as you would want if you can't be bothered to participate, the politically active can legitimately advise disgruntled centrists without strong partisan loyalties. That, in essence, is the issue. The center lacks confidence, which has contributed to this disenfranchisement. As its influence wanes, politics heats up, the standard of governance declines, and the cycle is repeated.
Politicians like Joe Biden were once a countervailing force who truly sought cooperation. Those times seem to be behind us.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in