Completely gone are the odes to objectors and dissent common when a Republican is in office. Loyalty at all costs is demanded to pass a progressive agenda, and even President Biden says following women into the bathroom and filming them in protest is just “part of the process.” Didn’t everyone claim this guy was a moderate?
A funny thing happens when a Democrat President is in office and their agenda is at risk from members of their own party. Rather than waxing eloquent about the importance of dissent and debate, the media suddenly rediscovers that party loyalty is critical to the very functioning of American Democracy with a capital “D.” Completely absent are the odes to the objectors, the brave souls who stand in the way, putting country before party, at least in their minds.
In 2001, for example, Republican Senator Jim Jeffords, infamously put then President George W. Bush’s entire agenda in jeopardy when he announced his plan to switch to the Democrat side of the aisle. The Associated Press framed Senator Jefford’s quandary as “In a time of huge surpluses and so many unmet needs, he asked, why was everyone in the GOP deaf to those needs and so eager to give tax breaks to the wealthy?” They were certain everyone was aware that, despite any squabbles with his own party, he remained “extremely popular” in his home state of Vermont. This was because “he drew much of his support from Democrats and independents, and he was increasingly concerned that the Republican Party in the state was moving to the right.” The lovefest for Senator Jeffords continued until passed away in 2014, The New York Times and The Washington Post were still singing his praises as the man who “single handedly bent the arc of politics.” You still see occasional articles about the impact of his brave stand.
The late Senator John McCain was similarly praised for his outspoken opposition to then President Donald Trump, not to mention President Bush before him, culminating in a dramatic, surprising thumbs down vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare. The ailing Senator had traveled back to Washington, DC for an emergency session, supposedly to vote in support of the bill. All his Republican colleagues in the Senate were present, counting on him to deliver. He was the last vote needed to secure passage of a goal Republicans had sought for eight long years, but when all eyes, and the media’s cameras, were on him in the Senate Chamber, he literally gave the repeal effort a thumbs down, betraying a President from the same party and everyone of his colleagues, including those like Mitch McConnell whom he had a long relationship with. The Washington Post chose not to comment on that, however, referring to it as an “iconic” moment that summed up his maverick career. CNN described it as his “lasting Senate legacy.” The New York Times said he provided a “dramatic finale” on healthcare. They were giddy with the betrayal, and there wasn’t a word written on why he’d have misled Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, or anyone else in the Republican Party that was counting on him to fulfil his promise, one issued many, many times over, to repeal and replace Obamacare.
A Democrat is now in office, however, and Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the objectors. They are standing in the way of a $3.5 trillion spending spree and social engineering experiment, and no one in the mainstream media is writing any odes to them. Instead, loyalty to the party over any personal convictions is paramount. CNN actually claimed this out loud in a recent editorial by Lincoln Mitchell. The entire premise of the piece is that “Manchin and Sinema are hurting their party more than any Republican ever could.” Mr. Mitchell claims that “being in a political party means sometimes doing what is best for the party even if you do not entirely agree — and this is one of those times,” adding “In Washington, once the President and the leaders of his party in both houses support something, members should get behind it if the vote is close.” Throughout, Mr. Mitchell is dismissive of their concerns about the largest spending bill ever passed in US history, calling them “abstract.” He questions their honesty by noting “even if” their “concerns are taken at face value,” and insinuates they’re doing this just for fun, claiming they “may enjoy the attention they are receiving.” Ultimately, Mr. Mitchell concludes that “Washington needs some party cohesion to function” and “any legislator who claims to be a Democrat must put personal concerns and support the bill.”
Incredibly, CNN’s position is relatively mild compared to more progressive outlets. The New Republic is urging other Democrats to “stop negotiating with traitors.” The source of their concern is far more than a single spending bill, however massive. Nothing less than the future of democracy is at stake, as “more than 100 scholars of democracy have signed a new public statement” claiming “the future of our democracy itself” is at risk. (Side note, what precisely is a “scholar of democracy?”) After laughably framing President Biden as a “kindly old moderate,” writer Alex Pareene starts with a broadside against Republicans, claiming the modern party is “opposed to majoritarian democracy.” Of course, he failed to mention that a “majoritarian democracy” is actually not our system of government, the formation of one being explicitly rejected by the Founders themselves when writing the actual Constitution and creating a Representative Republic. Anyway, these rascally Republicans are “straightforwardly engaged in undermining or dismantling many democratic elements of our system of government.” For their part, Mr. Pareene laments that Senators Manchin, Sinema, and others in the House are embracing a “false history” and making “logically absurd” arguments before he makes the completely false claim that the filibuster was “invented to delay and obstruct liberal reforms.”
The filibuster, of course, was introduced in the United States in 1806 and first used in 1837, long, long before Mr. Pareene was around to preen about liberal reforms. None other than former President Barack Obama, current President Joe Biden, and current Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have used it repeatedly and praised it extravagantly, back when they were blocking more right-wing portions of a Republican agenda. The filibuster serves two purposes. First, it promotes stability in the government by preventing a small majority from implementing the more outside the mainstream aspects of their agenda, exactly as it’s doing right now. Second, it encourages Senators to work together to forge a consensus, also exactly as it’s doing right now. In order to push their lies, Mr. Pareene and others are asking you to ignore what happened just this summer: 19 Republican Senators joined Democrats in passing a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. This bill is being blocked, solely by progressives, because it doesn’t go far enough, as no bill ever would.
Progressives, you see, wanted $6 trillion, as in more money that has ever been spent in the history of the world. They “compromised” with themselves down to $3.5 trillion, and are now livid that the two moderates in the Senate and a few in the House are still refusing to get on board. The real question, of course, is why should they? Who in their right mind would support a $3.5 trillion bill that’s packed with tax increases, loaded with pork, supposedly covers everything from free childcare to the climate, but still hasn’t even been written yet and no one on this planet knows the details? Progressives support it only because they don’t care about these niceties at all. They want the spending and the expansion of government, and the details themselves along with the impact of a massive influx of government dollars and tax increases are completely irrelevant, as if they don’t even exist. According to Mr. Pareene and others, that’s the way the government is supposed to work, just load up a bill and let it rip?
I can’t be the only one that finds this position completely absurd, even more so when you consider that progressives have largely created this foreseeable impasse entirely by themselves. The right way to pass legislation, what used to be known as regular order, is to debate each bill on the merits of that particular bill. There are likely provisions and goals even in the current monstrosity that could garner Republican support, but they’re packed in with practically everything under the sun as they say, including hiring tens of thousands of more IRS agents and enabling them to check out the average person’s bank account anytime they want. Progressives knew Republicans were never going to support anything like that, but they loaded up the bill anyway because even attempting to get a single vote from the other side of the aisle was never part of the plan. This is true even though there are elements worth considering such as the payment of child tax credits monthly, a strategy to deal with rising child care costs so astronomical they place huge burdens on even middle income families, and expansion of home healthcare for seniors which might be cheaper than a nursing home. That they didn’t even bother to try to do this the right way speaks volumes.
At the same time, they say that actions speak louder than words and every moderate, sensible Democrat in the country should be paying close attention to the ire, scorn, and harassment being heaped on Senator Sinema in particular. Over the weekend, the Senator from Arizona was heckled at a class she was teaching in her home state, followed into a public bathroom and berated while being filmed, then confronted again at the airport and on the plane itself on her way home. Incredibly, such clearly unacceptable behavior has been regularly excused by the mainstream media and even President Biden himself. CNN’s Ana Navaro seemed to blame Sinema for objecting to being filmed in a bathroom, noting that chasing someone into the bathroom is “beyond the pale,” but then dutifully adding “Maybe if @kyrstensinema spent less time in fundraisers with corporate donors and held town-halls to listen to constituents and answer their questions,” they wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics. The President took a similar tack, saying “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. The only people it doesn’t happen to are the people who have Secret Service standing around them. So, it’s part of the process.”
Translation: It’s not going to happen to me as I’m so special I have Secret Service protection, so what do I care if a sitting Senator’s right to privacy is violated? I’m a proponent of holding elected officials accountable via making our voices heard, but there’s a time and a place for everything. People should not need to be told the bathroom isn’t it. These sorts of tactics began with Trump, of course, but many of us believed they would fade once he was out of office and some sense of decency and decorum might return. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case and we can expect more to come in the future as the progressive left becomes increasingly unleashed and unhinged.
President Biden’s own role in this should not be glossed over either. The “kindly old moderate” is certainly not acting like one, giving tacit approval for harassment and intimidation, and refusing to back his own bipartisan bill. Last Friday, he went to Congress to meet with Democrats and some observers expecting he’d demand a vote on infrastructure given he was elected on the promise to unite the country and bipartisanship is supposed to be his bread and butter. Instead, he sided whole-heartedly with progressives and shutdown moderates, reiterating the notion that the bipartisan bill was held hostage to the partisan one, dead until further notice.
Is it any wonder progressives took their ire out at Senator Sinema over the weekend? Biden himself is to blame along with the rest of the mainstream media. This is what they want and what they will get until sensible people come together and demand better.