It’s customary for the opposing party to give a formal response to the sitting president’s State of the Union address. Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has been selected for the task this year.
But there is another formal response being made, and it in every way feels like a critique from an oppositional faction. Squad member Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is giving a progressive retort to Joe Biden’s address, and it speaks volumes about the inter-party rift still deeply dividing Democrats two years after the political left swallowed hard again and grudgingly embraced a career establishment Swamp creature as its 2020 presidential nominee.
“In the speech, given on behalf of the left-wing group Working Families Party, [Tlaib] is expected to hammer moderate Democrats who have stymied Biden’s social spending and climate change package,” Politico reports. In other words, the Democrat left is expressing its immense frustration that Biden, the man it never wanted as president, is not proving to be the vehicle for its agenda to a satisfactory degree. This is important to note for a couple of reasons.
Perils of Transactional Relationships With Radicals
First, it is the stuff of a business relationship rather than the sign of any true unity within the party. Two very different political groups decided to work together to achieve distinctly separate but at times overlapping goals. Tlaib’s address is meant to remind the establishment side that its partner is very unhappy.
Second, this lets careerist Democrats know that just capturing office is not what the progressive left is about. It wants to implement radical change. Getting Biden into the White House was a means to an end, while for the Democratic National Committee elites, it was all about defeating the despised President Trump and returning the Swamp to the good old days of living high on the hog at taxpayer expense.
Both camps have good reason to be dissatisfied with how the pact has worked out. Only wanting to cling to power so they can serve their donors and enjoy the spoils of political office behind the scenes, establishment Democrats have found themselves embarrassed time and again by the radical causes they have been forced to identify with in the name of fulfilling their part of the 2020 bargain.
Criminal justice reform has proven to be an absolute nightmare for the Democrat who only has electability on his or her mind. Every day, stories of lurid carnage in blue-run urban areas and the outrageous antics of radical local district attorneys drop that make the lifers visibly squirm in their cushy Capitol Hill seats.
For a hardline wing that demands systemic change in the immediate now, this constant calculating at the expense of ideology is tiring and infuriating. Interestingly, the liability that comes with progressive radicalism may be the very thing opening the door for more Squad types to win in 2022.
Too Crazy a Climate For Anyone But Them
Blue political animals realize the bill is coming due for 24 months of roiling antipathy towards the populist grassroots in America that still solidly supports Trump. Calling Americans domestic terrorists for questioning the electoral integrity of mail-in voting or daring to confront their local school board officials on what they are teaching their children comes at a steep price.
The harshest of coronavirus social curbs, now clearly seen by tens of millions of citizens to have been of no public health benefit whatsoever, were driven by Democrats. Runaway crime, transgender athletes making a mockery of girls’ sports and other hot-button social issues embraced by the left all hint at political doom.
In light of this, an astonishing number of incumbent congressional Democrats are giving up the fight. Thirty Dems have announced they will not seek re-election as of this writing; that marks a 30-year high for the party.
With establishment candidates opting out of the race, the lanes become clear for the very type of Democrat that is not driven by the machinery of campaign politics but by revolutionary belief.
“When we run in a primary, the incumbent has this huge baked-in advantage. When we run in open seats, it allows our ideas and principles to go head-to-head with establishment neoliberal ones, so it’s more of a fair fight,” Maurice Mitchell, national director of the progressive Working Families Party, the very caucus Tlaib is speaking on behalf of in her SOTU rebuttal, told NBC News on Feb. 20.
“A smaller but more progressive Democratic Caucus would be a more functional and healthy and coherent caucus,” Mitchell continued. “And because of how significant the power of incumbency is, this is not just a proximal play for this election. When they’re in office, they will shape the conversation for the next 10 or 20 years.”
It’s an intriguing point to ponder. The conventional wisdom had it that the hardline left was making a deal with the devil when it signed off on Uniparty drone Biden. Two years later, it appears a party establishment that allowed these radicals to control most of the public blue narrative even as they were driving the bus may have drawn the true muddy end of the stick.
~ Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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