Moderate Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ) captured the essence of President Biden’s intraparty woes when he criticized Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) decision to give a “progressive response” to the State of the Union address. “It’s like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” Gottheimer declared. That’s an apt metaphor for a party dominated by identity politics at the grassroots. Progressives wedded to various particularist interests all see Biden as a vehicle: a cold, metallic object that serves a functional purpose. And nothing more.
The man in the Oval Office has little genuine popular support even within his own blue ranks. The political effects of this must be noted. It limits his ability to drive an agenda, and it causes his own party cohorts to constantly feel a need to express their disappointment and disillusionment when they believe the car is not taking them where they were promised they were going to go. Tlaib was one unhappy passenger on March 1.
Attacking the Center
“No one fought harder for President Biden’s agenda than progressives,” the Michigan firebrand exclaimed in her rebuttal to Biden’s speech, given on behalf of the left-wing Working Families Party. “We rallied together with our supporters, held town halls in our communities, engaged new people, and we even played hardball in Congress … But two forces stood in the way: a Republican Party that serves only the rich and the powerful and just enough corporate-backed Democratic obstructionists to help them succeed,” she said.
Tlaib repeatedly took aim at what progressives believe are moneyed interests within the party that are blocking the systemic change they desire. “The majority of the Build Back Better agenda is stalled, Mr. President. Our work is unfinished. We are ready to jumpstart our work again,” she said.
“We still have time to lower costs for working families and preserve a livable planet for our grandchildren, but we must act now.” “The super-rich got richer during the [coronavirus] pandemic,” she continued. “I want us to imagine, just imagine a government where corporate donors don’t drive health care, climate, education and poverty policies. Where the working families of our nation really call the shots. It’s time. It’s time we had a majority in Congress to fight for us – A Working Families majority.”
Tlaib voiced the pro-illegal alien extremism that makes her form of progressivism toxic to moderate Democrats every election cycle. “Our people” includes illegals, the U.S. congresswoman asserted. “We would provide a real path to citizenship for our people who want nothing more than to contribute to our nation. We would transform our broken immigration system into one where immigrants are welcomed, not vilified,” Tlaib declared.
Another Blue Rebuttal
Another wing of the blue menagerie also saw fit to give a response to a Democrat president’s State of the Union address. Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) spoke for the Congressional Black Caucus. Allred strongly backed the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman ever tabbed for the High Court, and honed in on Republican electoral integrity efforts, which he labeled “voter suppression.” “As a former voting rights attorney, I’ve never seen anything like what we’re seeing now, the blatant attacks on Americans’ right to vote,” Allred stated, referencing new restrictions on mail-in voting in his home state of Texas.
While nothing Tlaib or Allred said was particularly surprising or even very challenging to Biden, it all adds an additional dollop of discordance to a party that is not united behind the sitting president heading into crucial 2022 midterm elections.
Biden is sinking in the polls, and Republican voters are highly motivated to turn out and rebuke his administration in the sharpest possible degree this November. Meanwhile, inside his own party, he has become subject to a cacophony of voices squawking in his ear, “are we there yet?” like unruly kids in the back seat of the car on a family road trip. The Democrats most assuredly don’t look like much of a family these days. And Joe Biden is not remotely a strong central point in the White House that these disparate characters can rally around.
What’s worse for the unhappy coalition that begrudgingly accepted his establishment-enabled anointment as party standard bearer in 2020, he is proving to be a sputtering vehicle for all they had envisioned during the starkly leftist presidential primary climate of 2019 and early 2020.
~ Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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