The chaos that is the defining feature of the Biden presidency is not the result of one man’s incompetence. Nor, by itself, is it the consequence of his intellectual shallowness, advanced age, cognitive dissonance or general mediocrity, though all of these factors have played a role.
The chaos is the result of Biden’s choice to align himself with the progressive wing of his party. And since the party has pretty much been captured in toto by said progressives, group think reigns supreme. Consider the reaction to Senator Joe Manchin’s refusal (thus far) to buckle under and support the “Build Back Better” bill.
The headline in the Washington Post sums up the story: “Democratic bitterness, rage follow Manchin’s ‘no’ on Biden bill.” According to the Post, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accused Manchin of a ”betrayal of working families across the country… and an egregious breach of the trust of the president.”
After accusing Manchin of being a liar, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki went on to say “Senator Manchin will have to explain to those families paying $1,000 a month for insulin why they need to keep paying that, instead of $35 for that vital medicine. He will have to explain to the nearly two million women who would get the affordable day care they need to return to work why he opposes a plan to get them the help they need. Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone—we cannot.”
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, looking over his shoulder at a potential primary challenge in 2022 by Squad leader AOC, announced that the Build Back Better Bill would be subject to a vote on the Senate floor. Schumer is taking this extraordinary step even though the bill has no chance of passing and will damage the prospects of Senators in swing states in the upcoming mid-terms. Then again, Senator Bernie Sanders (I. Rolling Stone) demanded the vote.
Senator Sanders reportedly said “…that Manchin should have to vote publicly and that he would “have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia” about his opposition. So it appears that Senators Sanders and Schumer along with AOC actually believe that Manchin, a fellow Democrat (which by the way Sanders, the self declared democratic socialist is not) will be punished by West Virginia’s voters. This, even though Donald Trump carried the state by 40 points in 2020, and recent polling indicates that upwards of 70% of West Virginians oppose the bill.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in by saying “Well, we never give up,” Pelosi said. “This will happen, it must happen, and we will do it as soon as we can. There are conversations that are ongoing, but we cannot walk away from this commitment. The Build Back Better [Act] is about transforming our society.”
It has apparently not occurred to Pelosi et.al. that the American public is not at all interested in “transforming our society”. What the American public wants is stable prices, good schools, safe streets and reasonably competent public administration. The Democrats, have delivered none of these.
In fact, progressive policy, with a large assist from Republican Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell, has set off an explosion of inflation that shows no signs of abating. Parents across the country are protesting the take-over of the public schools by woke activists while school test scores (where they still have tests) continue to deteriorate rapidly. And the murder rate in big cities has skyrocketed 30% year-over-year, a record. And we haven’t even broached foreign policy.
The reason for the chaos is the underlying (and preposterous) progressive conceit that not only can the administrative state micro-manage a dynamic free-market economy and local institutions; it can also do so competently and efficiently. Which is to imply that bureaucrats know better than you how you should live your life. And they have the regulations to do the trick.
Except that all they have created is economic and social destruction. The one major policy success of the last few years is the astonishingly rapid discovery and deployment of vaccines to fight the COVID pandemic. And that success was brought to you compliments of those creatures of the free-market, the drug companies.