The problem is they’re on the Left.
When is a President not a President? When seventy percent of Republicans believe that Biden stole the election from Trump, accepting without reservation Trump’s astonishing, brazen lie that he lost only through deliberate and massive voter fraud — which every election official, right or left, affirms did not and could not have happened.
The case against fraud includes interminably drawn-out, expensive, Republican-sponsored freak shows such as the Arizona audit, conceived and run by partisan hacks, that, despite zealously digging for the most arcane details — bamboo paper showing links to China, anyone? — still found zero evidence (in fact, they found more votes for Joe!). That’s one way to delegitimize a democratically-elected leader.
There’s another way: When disgruntled progressives vocally and publicly undermine Biden’s every move, victim-blaming him for the obstruction and game-playing of bad-faith DINO Senator Joe Manchin, and making no effort to disguise their disgust that he’s in the Oval Office instead of — well, guess who?
Yes, it is hard to credit, but the Bernie bros are still man-crushing on old Birkenballs himself, Bernie Sanders.
Now, let me be clear what I’m saying. There is no moral equivalence between, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example. A O-C isn’t calling for Republicans to be hanged or denying reality.
And it’s not the so-called “Squad” who I’m criticizing, not at all, because they, at least, are engaged in the day-to-day business of governing. I’m sure it’s been an intense, frustrating, eye-opening experience of learning, holding back, getting strategic and above all compromising. (Remember compromise? Yeah, neither do I).
My beef is with the rank-and-file podcasters, commentators and bloggers, mainly men, who waste no time in tearing down everything that Biden is attempting to do. They effectively de-legitimize his Presidency as surely as those True Trumpers who buy the Big Lie, and they give endless ammunition to the Right.
When was the last time you heard anyone in the Republican Party criticizing Trump? When was the last time you heard any of the common or garden Republican Senators or Representatives badmouth, say, Marjorie Taylor-Green and Matt Gaetz (who, in the good old-fashioned American vaudeville-cum-revivalist tradition took their bizarre comedy show on the road)? What about apostates Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger? When did you last hear a chorus of outrage over their defection from the True Way?
Never. Never is the last time. You haven’t heard because it doesn’t happen. The Republican party faithful don’t have time for that. They’re busy. They have things to do. They know where their loyalties lie and what’s at stake.
Do the Democrats?
Hateful as the Republicans have become, and I could pop a vein in my temple straining for comparisons that don’t involve armbands or anything from the 1930’s, you honestly have to admire their sleazebag singleness of purpose. They pay no attention to Trump, even. They openly admit he’s just a cudgel they use when they need. Trump’s supporters are booing him at rallies! The Republicans’ strategy is generational and they’re busy as the Borg executing it: from stacking the Supreme Court — which affirmed that gerrymandering is ultra vires, a cop-out ruling that’s resulted in new lows of voter exclusion, to enacting anti-democratic legislation enabling the rejection of outcomes they consider unacceptable, and installing officials sympathetic to their needs in positions of authority ready for election time.
I’m not even American, yet I find them terrifying in their relentlessness and clarity.
The Democratic blogosphere has become a shambolic, dysfunctional frat house of disgruntled Bernie bros who despise Joe Biden almost as much as the Right does. It’s ugly, it’s immature, it’s poor sportsmanship, and above all it’s leading to certain defeat in the mid-terms if it continues.
Take The Humanist Report, Mike Figueredo’s brash progressive channel and hard-left platform (not to mention winner of my award for manicured bro-beard showcase most likely to revive ‘tache rides for cash). I’m right behind him when he sticks to the issues — and frankly, I wouldn’t say no to a manly good-night hug, either, or even the occasional chance for a shirts ‘n skins arm-wrestling match, best two out of three—but my luscious Latino’s not happy to stay plain, he has to get fancy.
His disgust and disdain and contempt for Biden are palpable. Over and over he states, “Yes, you should be mad at Joe Manchin for killing Build Back Better, BUT — !” (BUT it’s Biden’s fault — for being weak, for being slow, for, and here’s the kicker, for maybe not really being behind his own progressive agenda.)
What the goldarn Figueredo fuddle-duddle? This makes no sense and sows dissatisfaction rather than unity, sour dissatisfaction which taints the air, confuses and scares off voters, guaranteed. Progressives sound angry and it’s off-putting and actually frightening. Younger progressives are becoming as angry and judgmental as Republicans, but when that happens progressives are no longer progressive.
When the left hates and gets angry at its own, they’ve lost the battle for the soul of the electorate, because progressivism is about inclusion, empathy, solidarity, caring, justice. They’ve become what they hate and they are squandering the biggest chance they’ve had since Obama was tied to the railway tracks by Mitch and forced to practice his comedy routines instead of governing.
Build Back Better? Who was negotiating that? Bernie Sanders! Was he able to complete the task of compromise to get the bill passed? Apparently not. How much better would he have done as President, if you can even humor that idea for more than a minute? (When I attempt that feat of imagination, I’m reminded of the skit in which Tracey Ullman, as Angela Merkel, tries to master not rolling her eyes at Trump, only to discover that the urge is so strong her eye muscles flip her off the sofa.) And how did he leave it? More negotiating? As far as I can see, just a querulous demand that Manchin be forced to a vote in the Senate so he’d be on the record as opposing the bill. We don’t need proof he’s against the bill, Bernie. We have you for that.
To repeat: Bernie couldn’t handle the negotiations on ONE bill with ONE obstructionist Senator. Yet you wanted him to be running the country?
How would Bernie have reacted to the threat of Russia invading Ukraine? How would he have responded to attacks on science, and Dr Fauci? How would he have dealt with the gleeful obstructionism of Mitch McConnell et al?
Biden gobsmacked everyone with a progressive agenda right out of the gate. He was like Bernie Lite, in a better suit. He’s moved forward with more that anyone had a right to expect. But now the progressives are feeling betrayed? At an agenda they couldn’t even have foreseen?
Progressives with a platform are determined to paint, and experience, Biden’s presidency as “failing.” Jeezus Farley Holy Christopher, guys. The man’s got two advantages over the United States’ previous choice. (Emphasis mine).
Advantage 1. He walks and talks like a human being, a pretty emotionally connected and intelligent human being, too. That’s a whole bunch of predictability right there, instead of the unending scrambled horror show of “what, dear god, will this day of Twitter infamy bring?” that derailed any attempt at normal governance (including, I might add, in Canada, with Justin Trudeau putting out endless diplomatic fires and fighting distracting guerrilla warfare to the detriment of our own agendas and concerns).
Advantage 2. He got elected. In your system, at that time, he was the only possible choice. I guess that’s what everyone resents, that you kind of HAD to vote for him. I honestly hate it, too, and I feel your pain, but that’s not Biden’s problem. Fix your system!
Biden’s a big boy, but seriously. What’s he dealing with? Biden was elected in an anti-elitist, anti-intellectual climate of disbelief in science, alienation, a total breakdown of common ground between Left and Right, an era of post-truth, the worst state of economic inequality since the Robber Barons, rabid Trumpism, emboldened white supremacy, false moral equivalence and social unrest, leading to the breakdown of the rule of law, with the Department of Justice enlisted as the President’s rubber stamp, all of this fed by and encouraged by the party that’s not in power but wants to be, whether by election or other means, specifically, violence and mob rule. In short, a Republican party that no longer considers any other party as legitimate.
He passed a massive infrastructure bill. He’s working on shoring up the middle class with Build Back Better. His decisive and massive injection of funds into the economy stopped the country from tanking. He withdrew from Afghanistan, a shit show that was never going to be anything but a shit show thanks to Trump’s amateur play sessions with the Taliban and an ineffectual leadership for over twenty years of slow attrition. He has consistently modeled responsible behavior during this pandemic without end and has been forceful in his insistence on vaccination mandates at great political cost and to the great ire of “freedom-loving” right wingers.
Exactly one year ago, two weeks before Biden’s Inauguration, as we are remembering currently, there was a violent, deadly, armed insurrection at the Capitol, incited by your previous President promulgating the lie that he is still your President, a naked power grab that we now know without a shadow of a doubt was carefully planned months in advance, from the inside, by major lights in the Republican Party and their unofficial goon squads, with supporting propaganda from the Fox News Network, the intent being to steal the ballots from the 2020 election to prevent the vote being certified — an outcome only thwarted by the the out-of-control forces they had unwittingly unleashed!
He should get the Pulitzer Prize and a ticker-tape parade for just waking up and getting dressed every morning.
Don’t do that usual thing of laying everything at his feet that’s gone wrong with the US for the past forty years.
Because progressives are not happy unless they’re unhappy. If you’d somehow managed to elect Bernie, what would you be doing now? The very same complaining, because what the Republicans did to Obama they would have done to Bernie, a thousand thousand fold. Look me in the eye and tell me that it wouldn’t be so. The most progressive, perfect program in the world would never go straight down the line, because governing in the system we all have involves debate, hassling, compromise. No one, not even Saint Bernard, is exempt from this truth.
Here’s the bottom line: Biden is the President. You don’t spend your energy complaining he’s the President. You thank god it’s not Trump. Then you rally behind your leader and support him. Sure, push him, lobby him, don’t let him off the hook, but don’t tear him down and delegitimize him, because I assure you that word gets around that the Democrats don’t believe in their own party and their own policies. The optics are that the Democrats are in disarray.
I hate to go full-bore Dad, but: As far as Bernie goes, as far as the perfect progressive agenda goes, you’ve lost that one. Shake hands and congratulate the winner. It’s your duty to rein in your disappointment, be bigger, and support your legitimately elected, progressive leader.
Now do what the Republicans do: Take all that energy that’s being wasted on in-fighting and “I told you so”, accept the very fine leader that you actually have, and focus like laser beams on your goals of passing progressive legislation that the people will love, and securing democracy.
Time is running out. And since Canada has to be in bed with this elephant, please — let it not be a blind date.