As a sign of how relatively little I have to complain about when it comes to national politics, I’m going to complain about a recent Washington Post headline above an article that explained why I have relatively little to complain about.
Key word in that sentence being relatively.
Here’s the headline: “How Joe Biden tamed the left—at least for now.”
It appears above an article authored by three Post reporters: Annie Linskey, Jeff Stein, and Ashley Parker.
With that headline, the Post hits the trifecta. It’s patronizing, demeaning, and sorta, kinda accurate. All at once.
Let’s start with the so-called accuracy. It’s true, as a leftie, I’ve never felt so much love from the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. It’s not just President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill, which comes on the heels of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief legislation.
It’s also the way Biden proposes to pay for it—by soaking the rich. Or at least, hitting corporations with higher taxes.
Think about that. Dumbass voters in Illinois—a blue state—just rejected the Fair Tax. And now here comes old centrist Joe making like the second coming of Eugene Debs.
What the hell is going on? Did someone drop some acid in my corn flakes this morning? ’Cause I don’t recognize this world.
The Washington Post turns it around. And somehow when they’re done explaining, it’s all part of a larger plan by Biden to tame the left by cooing sweet nothings into our ears. And now we’re little kitty cats—excuse me while I rub against Joe Biden’s leg. OK, that didn’t really sound right.
Consider this line from the article that alludes to Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff. Here we go . . .
“Klain returns emails and calls from top liberal groups and regularly brings in small groups of liberal lawmakers for meetings, taking care to be sure they feel there’s been a meaningful exchange, aides and lawmakers say.
“And, nodding to a favorite platform of the liberal elite, Klain frequently uses his Twitter account to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ messages even from lesser-known activists—a move that takes less than a second of his time but is noticed and widely discussed among liberal networks.”
OK, where to start?
Clearly, we need to teach the Post about the difference between lefties and liberals. As they seem to use the terms interchangeably. All right, so pay attention Linskey, Parker, Stein—because this will be on the final exam!
A liberal is a Dem who may donate to the Sierra Club or Planned Parenthood but is really uncomfortable with Bernie Sanders’s class-based rhetoric.
Think of someone who watched the Democratic debates and came away saying: You know, I really like that Amy Klobuchar!
On the local level, think north lakefront voters who really like Mayors Daley, Rahm, or Lightfoot but get a little nervous when the teachers union demands more nurses in the schools. For that matter, think Mayors Daley, Rahm, and Lightfoot. Classic liberals.
I realize these definitions get complicated by the term progressive. Think of progressive as a label liberals have adopted because they’re embarrassed to be called liberals, ever since Republicans made that a disparaging word. It’s like Republicans who are too ashamed to admit they love Donald Trump. So they call themselves Libertarians.
In contrast, a leftie is someone who eagerly voted for Bernie in the primary and then grudgingly voted for the Democratic nominee on the lesser-of-two-evils theory.
In real life, lefties and liberals hate each other almost as much as they hate Donald Trump. And maybe even more.
Many liberals still blame Bernie for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, even though Bernie had almost nothing to do with it.
And speaking of Clinton, let me tell you what real lefties think of Bill.
They think he’s a fraud who’s virtually indistinguishable from George Bush, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and most of the other Republicans of his time.
And they have a point. Afraid of being written off as a pot-smoking, draft-dodging hippie—which he kind of was, just saying—Clinton moved right on crime, immigration, welfare, drugs, and trade.
Plus, on a personal level—what a sleaze! And when he got caught lying about Monica Lewinsky, he demanded that all Dems fall in line to support him.
Which they did. Making them look like hypocrites who don’t care about sexual misconduct unless it’s Republicans who are in the wrong.
Radical lefties responded with disgust. In 2000, Ralph Nader, running as the Green Party candidate, got roughly 2.8 million votes. Including more than 97,000 in Florida, enabling George W. Bush to win the state and ultimately the election.
To this day, I know many liberals who curse Ralph Nader and his voters. But, liberals, did you ever look into the mirror and ask yourself—what can we do to make sure the lefties in our party do not feel so alienated?
Nope, you just told us to shut up and fall in line. Then you acted surprised when you lost the House in 2010, the Senate in 2012, and the White House in 2016.
Hold it, just saw this headline in the New York Times as I’m writing this . . .
“New York State is Set to Raise Taxes on Those Earning Over $1 Million.”
Damn! Even Governor Andrew Cuomo, who’s Rahm-like in his disdain for the left, is embracing leftie policies.
I don’t know what brought on this centrist embrace of leftie policies—OK, in Cuomo’s case, it’s probably to divert attention from his own Bill Clinton-like predator scandals.
And I have no illusions that the Dems won’t back down at the first sign of resistance—say from Senators Kyrsten Sinema or Joe Manchin.
That’s why I urge real lefties not to let up the pressure, no matter how many times Ron Klain likes your tweets. v