Biden’s own goals – The American Conservative
Ironically, President Joe Biden’s post-election progressive turnaround seemed to inspire many people to reject far-left politics. Who would have thought, on the eve of Biden’s inauguration, that a year later, parents across the country would be attending local school assemblies to challenge critical race theory? Or that a record number of Democrats would walk out of Congress because they felt their constituents’ anger at progressive spending proposals like the Build Back Better Act?
Just months after the end of the 2020 campaign, medical researchers who had previously backed down to the government’s Covid leadership began to confess their long-held reservations. At the same time, academics such as Williams College political scientist Darel E. Paul and NYU Stern professor Jonathan Haidt began to ramp up their attacks on “awakened” ideology. And though an anxious MIT administration still withdrew its invitation to speak to geophysicist Dorian Abbot on the excesses of diversity politics, he delivered the same talk at Princeton, where thousands eagerly registered to hear it.
Even within the notoriously liberal entertainment industry, entertainers’ reluctance to sound politically incorrect has eased significantly since Biden’s sharp left turn. While comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and Chris Rock had previously concluded that waking up culture made it almost impossible to poke fun at progressive sensibilities, Bill Maher did just that on his night realtime show, to the apparent delight of the studio audience.
It would, of course, be an exaggeration to give President Biden sole credit for the growing public opposition to progressive thinking. Any self-righteous political philosophy espoused by only 7 percent of registered voters will inevitably lead to popular opposition, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. But by promoting left-wing economic and environmental policies from the start of his tenure, Biden exposed, albeit unintentionally, their damaging consequences to even the most casual observer.
Take the US President’s $1.9 trillion bailout plan, now acknowledged even by some liberal economists, which has contributed to a burst of inflation not seen since the late 1970s. Similarly, Biden’s crackdown on fossil fuel production, ostensibly aimed at triggering a compensatory increase in green energy, has only pushed up the price of gasoline while funding the ambitions of petrodictators like Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs and those of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro.
Combined with foreign missteps — a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and a failure to either prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or adequately arm the resistance — Biden’s domestic policies resulted in poll numbers that made it easier for critics to vent their fears of “cancellation.” overcome racists or climate change deniers when they speak up. At the very least, risk-averse conservatives, disillusioned independents, and even many traditional Democrats had the assurance that a large majority of Americans agreed with their rejection of far-left ideas.
Nor has it helped the cause of progressivism that since the beginning of his tenure, the president’s instinctive response to any policy failure has been to fabricate blatantly transparent lies about how claiming that Build Back Better is fully paid for is our withdrawal from Afghanistan a great success, more spending on social programs will tame inflation, and Russian sanctions should never stop the country from invading Ukraine.
Whatever the shortcomings of progressivism prior to Biden’s endorsement, it benefited from at least the semblance of an idealistic crusade — a sincere if misguided attempt to right past racial injustices and preserve the natural environment for future generations. But once a dissolute president became the movement’s most prominent advocate, its public image inevitably suffered.
As Larry Kudlow recently put it, “What the President is doing is devastating…. the collapsing public opinion about Biden’s character and honesty [has completely undermined] Confidence in his agenda.”
The interesting question now is what Biden’s presidency will do with the long-term prospects of the progressive movement, which not too long ago seemed to be riding into high gear following the Black Lives Matter protests. Has the unpopularity of the President’s policies and distrust in his character provided leftist ideology with a temporary setback, or is it on course to become a historical footnote?
The left appears destined to deal a major – perhaps historic – blow in November’s midterm elections. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Republicans enjoy an unprecedented 10-point advantage among registered voters on what is called the “general vote,” indicating polled parties prefer to represent them in Congress.
Some observers, like Arthur Herman, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, believe that if the President remains as committed to a left-wing agenda as he indicated in his State of the Union address, two decades of partisan infighting could finally end in definitive change Nation has indicated the right. Just as the Great Depression shattered voters’ confidence in free markets and pro-regulatory, redistributive Democrats took the lead in Washington, Biden’s policies could bring about a once-in-a-century policy shift.
On the other hand, as George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen recently argued, numerous institutional imperatives will continue to provide the progressive movement with safe spaces from which to theoretically recover. The fear of labor lawsuits, e.g. B. will discourage most companies from abandoning their risk-averse policies and rhetoric for diversity in hiring.
Similarly, the tenure system in US colleges and universities means that today’s younger faculty, who tend to be more left-leaning than their older counterparts, will remain in control of their schools’ academic programs for some time to come. “The simple march of retirements will make universities even more left–and even more out of touch with mainstream America,” says Cowen.
One factor that will clearly determine the influence of progressivism by the end of Biden’s presidency is the degree to which the far left feels embarrassed about it. For if liberal elites value something more than their politics, it is their ability to flaunt their sense of wisdom and moral superiority.
To be taunted on Saturday Night Live for dropping eloquent attacks on critical racial theories from Black and Hispanic parents, or conceding panicked Democrat politicians that the need to start drilling and halt spending would at least require that progressives be a time-consuming facelift of their agenda.
Whatever the future of progressivism, Joe Biden has clearly become its greatest current liability. We may never know the real reason for his abrupt turn from a moderate campaigner to a staunch leftist — his guilt toward Bernie Sanders supporters or genuine conviction — but the president has politically damaged the progressive brand in a way no other figure has of public life could.
Lewis M Andrews was Executive Director of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy from 1999 to 2009. He is the author of the new book Live spiritually in the material world(Fidelis books).