Election Coverage / Opinion / Politics

Dear Biden Supporters: We Can Read, You Know

bidenThe Democrats’ pundit class has a Joe Biden agenda problem. On the one hand, they are devoted to reassuring centrist voters that Biden is a soothing moderate because of things he did decades ago (say, the 1994 crime bill), because he talked down some of the most ridiculous of the left wing’s policy proposals (notably “Medicare for All”) in the primary, or because he does not speak the language of the woke “defund the police” faction. But at the same time, they are hard at work loudly telling the Bernie/Warren/AOC wing of their party: Don’t worry, Joe won’t stop you from getting what you want. He’s actually going to help you.

The problem is: We can read. This stuff is all out there. And voters who are being sold the “moderate Joe” line need to understand that the people selling it are simultaneously building support to govern with a much more radical agenda.

Let’s walk through some samples — the headlines, the arguments, the quotes from Democratic sources, some of the policy examples they cite, and the smug certainty that most voters aren’t noticing. This is all out in the open. Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, “Biden Goes Big Without Sounding Like It. Perceived as a moderate, he has embraced strikingly progressive goals without facing any political backlash”:

Despite embracing an agenda that is further to the left than that of any Democratic nominee in decades, he’s avoided the specific policy proposals and catchphrases that Republicans find easiest to attack. As a result, he appears more centrist than he actually is . . . on issue after issue, he’s adopted policies that are strikingly progressive while stopping just shy of the specific formulations that might leave him vulnerable to Republican attack.

Paul Waldman in the Washington Post, “How Joe Biden is moving left while still being seen as a moderate”:

When Sen. Bernie Sanders said recently that if Joe Biden implements his policy agenda, the presumptive Democratic nominee could be “the most progressive president since FDR,” he was probably right. In fact, something extraordinary is happening: Biden is getting more progressive in substance, yet it has done nothing to change his image as a moderate. . . . [This is] pretty clearly the product of a careful strategy on Biden’s part . . . the continuing evolution of Biden is a fascinating story, and one most of the public is probably unaware of.

Take, for instance, the climate change plan Biden released this week. . . . The average voter — who right now is paying attention to the presidential campaign on only the most superficial level — probably heard next to nothing about it. But the reaction from progressives and climate activists ranged somewhere between surprise and joy. As one co-founder of the Sunrise Movement tweeted, the plan is “a VERY BIG DEAL, and is a huge victory for the #GreenNewDeal movement.”

. . . . There’s a kind of shift we expect from presidential candidates: In the primaries they appeal to their party with pledges of ideological fealty, then when the nomination is secured, during the general election, they head back to the center. Biden, however, is doing the opposite, in substance if not in rhetoric.

Oh, that silly, superficial, “average voter,” blissfully unaware of Biden’s agenda.

Jonathan Chait in New York magazine, “Joe Biden’s Platform Is More Progressive Than You Think”:

[T]he truth is that Biden has a domestic agenda that, while nowhere near as radical as the Bernie Sanders platform, is almost certainly to the left of anything even a Democratic-run Congress would pass. . . . There is plenty more liberal meat on the bones of Biden’s program. He is proposing more generous subsidies and Medicaid funding along with a public option in order to achieve universal health care; a combination of $1.7 trillion in clean energy investment and a suite of tighter regulation to bring emissions to zero by 2050; a combined $2 trillion in new spending on early education, post-secondary education, and housing, a $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan, and a $15 minimum wage.

Matt Yglesias in Vox, “Progressives don’t love Joe Biden, but they’re learning to love his agenda”:

His platform is in many ways a surprisingly progressive approach to policy that the left sees as a triumph of their own work in trying to change the terms of debate in American politics. Biden “envisions a massive public sector role for job creation,” points out Faiz Shakir, who managed Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign. . . . It’s “the most progressive platform of any Democratic nominee in the modern history of the party,” [said] Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats . . . Biden is proposing a substantial expansion of the welfare state . . . as Ezra Klein and Roge Karma wrote in December, the dynamic of the 2020 primary was that on economic policy, “by the standards of the Democratic Party in 2008, the moderates look like leftists.”

Ella Nilsen in Vox, “How the coronavirus got Joe Biden to think much bigger. Biden knows there’s no pre-Trump ‘normal’ to go back to”:

Biden’s campaign was defined early on as a return to “normalcy” — the time before President Donald Trump took office — but now he is thinking much bigger. . . . Biden’s rhetoric has shifted as well, increasingly laying out a transformational vision for the country. . . . [Many progressives] sound a lot more hopeful that he now shares their goals. . . . “Biden’s been very clear: To get back to where we were sets the bar way too low,” Biden campaign adviser Jared Bernstein, who served as Biden’s chief economic adviser in the Obama administration, told Vox. “Much like FDR faced a structural crisis of economic insecurity, we’re at a similar place. The vice president recognizes that the extent of market failure here is not something you can fix with a Band-Aid and that structural reforms are necessary.” . . .

Biden now envisions a much larger role for government in his administration if he wins than past Democratic presidents have been comfortable with . . . Biden realizes he needs the left wing of his party. And to bring in the progressives, he recognizes that collaborating with them on meaningful policy is a way to gain their support . . . “I think the compromise that they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR,” [Bernie] Sanders said on a recent MSNBC appearance.

More from Nilsen, “How Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders joined forces to craft a bold, progressive agenda”:

Progressives see a list of ideas “that goes beyond a status quo and goes beyond where Biden had campaigned in the primary,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s presidential campaign manager in 2020 and an integral member in creating the task forces, told Vox. “If you look across all these documents, you’re going to see a massive public sector investment in job creation.” Numerous people Vox interviewed said Biden’s thinking about how bold to be is being pushed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the resulting economic woes, and the national conversation around systemic racism in America.

Nilsen also notes the delight of special-interest activists:

On education, American Federation of Teachers president and task force member Randi Weingarten, a Biden pick, told Vox she thinks the task force recommendations could encourage Biden’s education plan to go much further than either the Trump or Obama administration did. “It’s a paradigm shift from the tearing down that you have right now with Trump and [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos and their defunding, destabilizing, undermining philosophy,” Weingarten said. “But it’s also different than ‘accountability is the be-all, end-all’ of the Obama administration.”

We certainly wouldn’t want anything so moderate as accountability in education, would we?

Former Obama-era State Department speechwriter Michael A. Cohen in the Boston Globe, “Democrats are no longer a party in disarray — The party approaches its convention united behind the Biden-Harris ticket — and a progressive agenda”:

Joe Biden, who will accept the Democratic nomination for president this week, has taken a very different approach. He ran to the center to win his party’s nod and has since pivoted to the left. . . . It’s precisely because Biden is seen as a pragmatic moderate — and not a controversial liberal — that he was able to capture the nomination. But since then, Biden has moved increasingly leftward. He is pushing for $4 billion in higher taxes; has rolled out a $2 trillion plan to fight climate change; has a $700 billion plan to invest in US manufacturing; and has even hinted that he would support an effort in the Senate to scrap the filibuster. He endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy reform plan and worked out a compact with Sanders to back a host of progressive policy priorities. If Biden follows through on his plans he would be, as Sanders has argued, one of the most progressive presidents in American history.

Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post, “Why Biden may follow through on a bolder agenda”:

[T]he Democratic policy community has dramatically shifted left. From Paul Krugman acknowledging that he and his colleagues were wrong in discounting the misery and dislocation caused by corporate-led globalization to pro-austerity voices (temporarily) hibernating in the face of the current crises, a new generation of economists is legitimizing ideas once considered verboten in establishment debates.

Yascha Mounck in The Atlantic, “Biden’s Agenda Is Plenty Bold. There is a large constituency for a racially inclusive form of social democracy that is not democratic socialism”:

What should be heartening for Americans who want their country to be more economically just is not only the fact that Biden has won on a social-democratic-policy program that (while sharing his general view of the world) is significantly bolder than Barack Obama’s, but the kind of coalition he has been able to unite behind it.

What about staffing this agenda? Kara Voght in Mother Jones, “Joe Biden Is Promising Progressive Policies. Who’s Going to Hold Him to It? Inside the scramble to fill the Biden administration with liberal wonks”:

[T]he Progressive Change Institute—an affiliate of the [Warren-aligned Progressive Change Campaign Committee]—has set about creating a “personnel power map” of the executive branch, showing which appointed positions have the authority to enact, or thwart, various policy ideas. “The goal is to have people throughout the federal government who know how to exercise power,” says Stephanie Taylor, a PCCC co-founder.

Let that last line sink in.

Finally, it’s not just Biden, and it’s not just print outlets. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau on the Pod Save America podcast:

Favreau laughed at media outlets on Thursday for calling Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) a moderate, pointing out that Harris has one of the most progressive records in the Senate. “It was hilarious to me that she is being called in all this coverage a moderate, like Joe Biden has found a fellow moderate or centrist,” Favreau said on an episode of his podcast, “Pod Save America.” “She supports something extremely close to Medicare For All, which Bernie Sanders acknowledged in his statement supporting her. She’s for the Green New Deal. She has one of the most liberal records in the U.S. Senate.” “If you want to call Kamala Harris’ record in the Senate and her policies that she’s supporting now centrist or moderate, great. If that’s where the Overton Window has moved, then congratulations to all the progressive activists because you have f***in’ moved the s*** out of that window, that supporting the Green New Deal and, basically, Medicare For All is now moderate and centrist. Fantastic, I’ll take it,” Favreau said.

His Obama-alum co-host joined the fun:

Dan Pfeiffer, another former Obama staffer and cohost of “Pod Save America,” joined Favreau on Thursday’s episode and advised progressive activists disappointed with Biden’s pick for vice president that progressives “are going to have an opportunity to have a real influence on the agenda in a Biden/Harris administration.” “He’s really the first candidate that I can ever think of that wins a primary and moves left,” Pfeiffer said, later adding, “Biden has made real, fundamental, substantive shifts on issues like climate and student debt and taxes and other issues.”

We have written plenty on the radicalism of Biden’s policy agenda, such as this editorial on what his race and gender plans explicitly promise. The quotations above, however, are not the words of the Trump campaign, or of conservative columnists, or any other critic of left-wing ideas. These are the people who like these ideas, are champing at the bit to implement them, but are also hoping that voters won’t notice until the election is over.

I just have one question for all these people: You do know we can read, don’t you?

Reprinted with Permission from - National Review by - Dan Mclaughlin

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2 months ago

As I’ve been saying, Progressive is an adjective and should be used as such! Today’s Democratic Party can ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS: Progressively Communist and NOT just because of their policies! … Again, the American Communist Party which in it’s long history has NEVER ENDORSED ANY REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Until BARACK OBAMA twice, HILLARY CLINTON and NOW JACKASS JOE BIDEN! Do you need any more proof?

2 months ago

Like most leftists the DNC is delusional. Placing this very old codger into office as POTUS is as cynical as it gets. He will not serve even a few months before the 25 is invoked. Your voting for Headboard Harris for POTUS make NO mistake about that. She is a three faced power hungry “do anything to get ahead” phony. Trump is many, many things but he seems devoted to making government better and more efficient.

Patriot Will
2 months ago

If only more Americans would read! Tragically, too many Americans consider themselves too busy to carefully study the facts! Personally, I’m mystified that so many citizens of this country will spend hours with their technology, yet ignore the very tools that could easily connect them to the truth. They foolishly assume the lefty press actually gives facts and the news!

Last edited 2 months ago by Patriot Will
Paul W
2 months ago

biden’s mental faculties have declined to the point that he is essentially an empty slate. A puppet. A dummy mouthing the words of a ventriloquist. His ventriloquists are the hardcore leftists of the dnc, globalist elitists and china. Only a fool would see this puppet as a moderate, but there are, unquestionably, an awful lot of fools out there. Hopefully not enough of them to get this overtly corrupt career politician that is battling serious mental decline elected. EVERYONE MUST VOTE. In person, if at all possible. Fraud will be running rampant.

2 months ago

Trump will blow Biden out of the water if the debates are allowed to happen. Get a backbone, Biden, debate and show us where you REALLY stand ( more likely, where you fall.) You follow the Obama playbook very well. Fortunately, some of us remember those lies.

Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Were locked away due to a political virus lockdown & see ALL on local TV etc day & night
Were NOT lame or 2 busy elsewhere Your Lockdowns give us 24/7 news feed to see who Biden really is
(save those watching CNN ABC NBC PBS NPR, CBS news)
More brazen U go the better.& then add social media time.
( I avoid Facebook)

David Spade
2 months ago

Slow Joe has no real reasonable plan for the economy, energy, taxes, boarder protection, education or national security. He has been the front for the most progressive people ever seen in this country. He will actually hamstring the country from growth that would help nearly every American. His tax policies would lower investment in plant and equipment that would create jobs. His commitment to the green new deal would wreck industries that provide high paying and quality jobs. His so-called move to the center is a myth. He has a long history of wrong decisions and affiliations within the Marxist… Read more »

Alicia Leaving Liberals
2 months ago

Speaking of the ‘Democratic Party’; ‘sugar doesn’t melt in their mouth’. All the while, they are throwing President George Washington under the bus, burning the American Flag, burning the Bible, and burning pigs heads with police hats. Their only response to these disgusting activities: “People will do what they do.” Quote from Pelosi.

2 months ago

Hidin’ Biden has sold himself out. In order to get the backing of Bernie supporters, Biden had to move farther to the left. He had to adopt Bernie’s platform. In order to get the backing of the extreme left (other communists) the likes of AOC, Biden had to pimp himself even farther yet. God help us if these crazies are ever elected!

2 months ago

The current version of the DNC is nothing but a bunch of self absorbed “community organizers” who proclaim that they are forward looking “progressives” when they are truly the most draconian backward thinkers this country has ever seen! A vote for Biden/Harris is a vote for Americans kneeling to a new Woke future where Climate Change, and 1619 lies are the basis of reparation taxes that will drain any economic potential we might have.

John A. Fallon
2 months ago

Socialist/dems have spent decades taking over the teachers unions and corrupting the educational system, the evidence is obvious as so many people in this country have lost the ability to read and comprehend, one of the top things on PRESIDENT TRUMPS AGENDA is to clean up the school corriculum and actually EDUCATE our children in the future, AMERICA USED TO HAVE THE BEST EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ON THE PLANET!!! WHAT HAPPENED? ( the dems)

Ray Valley
2 months ago

I understand Bidan and the democrat Party’s attempt to appear more centrist than they are. I will vote for Trump. He has arrwmpred all along to do the things he promised when he got alected. I hateto live under the present democratice agenda.

Brenda Blunt
2 months ago

The demoncrats are so wrong for the USA! Praying that All legal Americans get out and vote! Praying that God will appoint those He wishes and just those He doesn’t want in. Lord, please help!!

2 months ago

Biden is merely the talking head for the Wizzard of Doze DNC Leftists pulling the levers behind the curtain.

Glenn Lego
2 months ago

We can read. Biden supporters can’t. They don’t teach that in preschool. 😬

2 months ago

The whining soap opera I gave time to was pretty much what I expected. Too much Hollywood to appear authentic and unscripted. I heard too much about Joe’s tragedy’s. Not enough sympathy for the families of the eight children shot down in their cribs, strollers, car seats and on their bicycles. Not a word about burned down liberal cities and what he would do about Marxist BLM Movement and Antifa brutality in our streets. Murder at an all time high in Chicago and New York. Looted businesses and graffiti covered streets in Portland and Minneapolis. However since the main stream… Read more »

R.J. from Arizona
2 months ago

The national socialist party is alive and doing pretty good here in US.
I have an actual fear Biden is going to win. Heaven help us.

2 months ago


Carol Jenkins
2 months ago

The Emporer has no clothes.

Josephine pooley
2 months ago

Just WOW!

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