• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump says he’s been indi…
    William on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Propertius on “Why should you go to jail for…
    thewizardofroz on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    riverdaughter on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    campskunk on Ping me when there’s news
    William on D-Day -1
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    July 2022
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

  • Top Posts

They Didn’t Even Give Biden Two Years

Not even a year and a half. What an appalling testament to foolishness, stupidity, dogmatism, grandstanding, on the part of the…so-called Democratic Left.

Oh, I am not ignoring the Far Right, which is the entire of the Republican Party, except for the people who are even further Right than that, if possible. Or the media, which has this unerring propensity to focus on the worst polls for Biden, the state with the highest gas prices, etc. Or the mainstream Democrats in states who insist on “fair districting,” and give it all to bipartisan commissions, while the Republicans keep it to their Far Right legislatures to draw up the most gerrymandered districts possible, thus inevitably costing Democrats 10-30 House seats which they would have if both sides did things the same way.

But it is the Left, which thinks that they were so generous to give Biden a few months before spending every day complaining about him, who are doing inestimable damage which the party and the country cannot afford in the desperate fight to keep from becoming a permanent fascist state.

At least some of us are fighting against that. The Republicans want the fascist state, while the Left thinks that any President other than Bernie Sanders is the same as a fascist–well, except for Obama, whom they put up with because of his race, and because he was not Hillary Clinton, who is a liberal who voted with Sanders 96% of the time in the Senate (most of the 4% were the gun control bills which she supported and he opposed).

Am I being unfair? I do not think so. Am I painting with too broad a brush? Yes, perhaps, but the general themes should not be obscured by looking at an exception here or there. We’ve got polls which are reported on by the media every day, which now have Biden at as low as 33% Favorables. Of course the media focuses on the worst polls, but there are others in the 30’s. And the only possible way that he could have a number that low, is that there are many Democrats who happily vote “Unfavorable!” when asked.

Now of course the Republicans unanimously disfavor Biden on everything. But that would not account for 65% Unfavorables. That is being padded by the Left. If you doubt that, all you have to do is to read each day about complaints from legislators like Cori Bush, or turn on a news channel, and see various “Democratic strategists,” usually minority, who go on television to ‘counter” the obligatory Republican strategist, by loudly complaining about Biden doing things wrong.

He doesn’t make strong enough statements. He is not supportive enough of abortion. He is not strong enough on gun control. He hasn’t done enough on the environment. He is traveling to Saudi Arabia. He is not expanding the Supreme Court. He is not impeaching The Right Wing Justices.

This never stops. It mostly comes from people who have no idea how the government works. That the nature of the Senate is such that they can block almost all bills from the House, as they did under Obama. Unless the Democrats could get rid of the filibuster, for one or more specific votes, which they would need 50 votes to do. But they only have 48, Manchin and Sinema will not budge. Whether they were bought off, or protecting their later careers in corporate lobbying, or what, we’ve seen categorical evidence that they will never vote to stop the filibuster or change the rules.

So none of the fine bills which regularly pass the House, including those to curb corporate price-gouging by the oil companies, are passed by the Senate. And then people get mad. We all are angry, but it would be very useful if more people understood the mechanisms, so that they would blame the right people.

But hammering away at Biden, telling everyone that you are disappointed in him, he is not doing a good enough job, does no good at all for the Democratic Party as a whole, or the country that you say you care about–unless your goal is to elevate yourself, raise money, be another in the parade of “working class heroes” who seem to get more publicity when the Democrats are out of office. Or maybe they would just as soon have Biden gone, some Republican win, and then they can “highlight the differences,” in the infamous words of Susan Sarandon. And maybe Nina Turner can run again.

Here is what loyal Democratic strategist Paul Begala just wrote: ” I have a radical proposal for progressive friends. Stop attacking Biden, and start attacking Republicans. If you think he is too weak, don’t weaken him further, for goodness sake. Strengthen him, so he can lead the way forward.” This sentiment was echoed by Adrienne Elrod, who has loyally supported the Clintons, as Begala has.

Now, I am not a great fan of Biden, never was, but I think he is a decent person who is on the right side of most important issues. I don’t want to now debate this or that thing that Biden has done as President, though I support most of them. I think he is perhaps too mild, too gentlemanly. And I think that the response on the overturning of Roe probably could have been better–except that the decision, made by a Far Right-stacked Supreme Court, cannot be undone at this point, no matter what he says. So yelling about it because they are angry and frustrated, does not do anything good.

And I could go on about some of the Left refusing to support Hillary in 2016, because they preferred to see her or paint her as a “neoliberal,” “a warmonger,” “a corporate handmaiden.” She voted with Sanders in the Senate 96% of the time, most of the 4% being gun control bills which he kept voting against. I repeat what I just said above, for emphasis. Any person who wants to call himself or herself a “progressive,” or a Democrat, could not possibly be so obtuse or spiteful not to support her, but they were, and many are still proud of it.

Now they hate Biden, or in their words, they are “deeply disappointed in him.” They voted for him, that should be enough! Now he should do what they want! Or they will sit out another election! They will only support people they really like!

I think that many of us who have grown up following or working in politics, learn that one has to compromise sometimes, and try to focus on the long-range good. I couldn’t vote in 1968, but I thought that I would not vote for Humphrey if I could, because I was so upset that he vociferously applauded Mayor Daley’s dreadful work at the Chicago Convention.

My parents, who were supporters of Eugene McCarthy, as I was, and who did like Humphrey back in his earlier days, ended up voting for him, saying that they knew how awful Nixon was, and just could not fail to vote against him. Looking back, they were probably right, but I still might not have done it. I thought that one lost election would probably not be that devastating, maybe McCarthy could run again when the liberal forces had taken over some of the state parties, as they had.

My mother told me that in her first vote in a presidential election, in 1948, she voted for Henry Wallace, not realizing, as many liberals did not, that there was some connection to Communist elements. I read a fine novel by Benjamin Appel which illustrated how angry many Roosevelt Democrats were at some of Truman’s moving away from New Deal policies. One often votes out of a more purist position when a young adult. but then one usually learns that the greater good must be kept in mind.

It seems to me that the Left of the last thirty years has rigidified, has viewed intransigence and purity as a badge of pride. And I could write about how this got Nader enough votes to cost Gore the election, and it almost certainly cost Hillary the three key states in 2016. I already have, it should never be forgotten. But what we are focusing on here, is what some of them are doing now.

I didn’t support Biden in his past Democratic runs. I was not a fan of the Obama presidency. I did not support Biden in the early primaries in 2020, though I could not find a candidate who I thought both could be an effective President, and actually win. I started supporting Biden when it was clear that only he or Sanders could win the nomination. And I certainly strongly supported him against Trump.

And as President, I think that Biden has done pretty well, particularly given all the difficulties the country has faced. Could someone else out there have done better? Perhaps, but they weren’t going to win, or in some cases even run. Would someone out there do better in 2025? Maybe; who knows,; we should not be thinking much about that now, not with the fate of the country in the balance.

If I thought that Biden’s policies and efforts veered far from classic Democratic principles, I would say that, but they don’t. I do wish he were a more dynamic presence at the microphone, but some who are, are more mercurial and even erratic, or they can’t get elected, in my view. And most importantly, they are not in the presidency, and thus it is academic ego-massaging, to put it delicately.

I do know that Democrats attacking Biden, hurts us. The poll numbers are in some sense self-perpetuating. People hear that most disfavor Biden, so it is easier for them to want to be one of the majority on that. I will say that the number of 30% approving of his handling of the economy, is ludicrous. I think he has basically done a good job on the economy. Never perfect, what president is that?

We do know that the Left hated Clinton’s deficit reduction focus (I didn’t like it, either, but it worked). They blame him for the Crime Bill, and gave him no credit for the assault weapons ban. They were angry at him for cutting welfare. They didn’t like that he was not strong enough on gay rights. They really don’t like any Democrat who gets elected to a high position, and Biden is another one.

I wish I didn’t care what they thought, but in another comment of Begala, he likened it to a lifeboat where all the passengers had to learn to work together for survival. We need the Left, or at least some of it, to work with the moderates, and to at least stop scorning them, and disparaging every one of them who will not eliminate all student debt, and legalize marijuana, which “Gen Z pollsters” tell us are two of their biggest demands.

We have midterms coming up whose importance can not possibly be overestimated. Can people focus on those, and on what will happen if we do not win? Do some people think that daily attacks on Biden, and voting “unfavorable”in the polls, is actually going to advance their policy goals, as they purport to have them?

Can the Left ever “grow up,” and act like responsible adults;, and can they actually try to learn about how government and lawmaking works? Perhaps they never will. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” some like to moralize. It is also filled with markers of those who simply would not give up one iota of their political purity, and seemed to revel in their ability to scorn and disparage anyone who did, as if they themselves wanted to carry the tattered flag of defeat like a trophy, while blaming everyone whom they would not join when there still was a chance to win a desperately needed victory.