Moderate Democrats Discover Joe Biden Isn't a Moderate

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

There’s a battle going on in Washington that’s wrecking the facade of unity that Democrats have long tried to keep standing. With today’s vote on the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill, itself a high-cost boondoggle no Republicans should be supporting, falling through because of far-left threats to vote it down, more “moderate” Democrats are getting antsy.

But what’s so satisfying, if you are on the right at least, is that the moderates in question are discovering with a shock that Joe Biden himself…isn’t a moderate. Apparently, these Democrats expect Biden to be pragmatic and competent, and I have no idea why.

After nearly a year of Biden being the most leftwing, radical president in modern history (I say modern because it’s hard to top Woodrow Wilson), no one should be expecting him to suddenly turn into Bill Clinton. He’s not whipping support for the bipartisan bill separately or pushing the progressives to let the reconciliation bill lie for a few weeks because he supports the progressive position.

He’s been clear about that since the beginning. In fact, he was so clear that it made it inexcusable for Republicans to make a deal in the first place. That was something I relentlessly harped on at the time (see here and here). Biden has been saying all along that he doesn’t want the infrastructure deal without his $3.5 trillion, inflation-inducing budget bill. So why would he suddenly bend to the sensibilities of Joe Manchin?

But past that, you also have to take Biden’s mental state into account. Does he look like a man who is capable of getting people in a room, burning the midnight oil, and leading an effort to get everyone on the same page? This is a guy who doesn’t even know what the page is half the time. Even if he wanted to moderate and work the phone lines, he’s often not awake enough to make that happen. This is a guy who has continually shown us he’s not in any condition to be president. He’s certainly not in any condition to be an active president who takes a hands-on approach to pass a major spending bill.

So while the moderates may feel betrayed here, they should feel worse about the fact that they voted for a guy while apparently not knowing who he is. Joe Biden has never been anything but a rabid liberal. He wants his name in the history books and has delusions of grandeur about being the next FDR. That’s why he’s not content to get a bunch of left-wing priorities passed via the bipartisan bill. The reconciliation bill is his legacy, at least in his eyes, and the progressives have his ear.