It’s no coincidence Democrats waited for a Biden Presidency to finally embrace the “progressive” label.
Everywhere you look, you learn how President Biden has transformed at 79-years old from stodgy conservative-lite to FDR Democrat. CNN and NBC have called him the most progressive President in decades. Other pundits like NYT’s David Brooks argued his legislative packages made progressives “extremely happy.”
He may even be right. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even heaped praise on Biden, now 150 days into his Presidency.
“The Biden administration and President Biden have definitely exceeded expectations that progressives had,” She said, followed by, “I think a lot of us expected a much more conservative administration.”
Meanwhile, Fox News and the right wing have accused Biden of being a Bernie Sanders in Iraq-warmonger clothing. That shouldn’t surprise anyone though. Even if someone reincarnated Reagan, conservatives would still call him a socialist if he ran as a Democrat.
What makes this so interesting though is that, for once, Democrats aren’t running away from the progressive label. Ever since the Reagan 80s, Democratic politicians have strayed far from the left wing.
For some reason (money), Democrats slithered into corporate hands while letting the working class fight for themselves.
Back when Barack Obama first became President, progressives and moderates alike celebrated. Finally, we would see the “change” his campaign slogan preached. Embarrassingly, he slowly showed his true colors as another Clinton-esque Democrat. That itself appears to be a watered-down Reagan as time goes by.
In one infamous instance, the truth even slipped out showing the façade of Obama’s “change” persona. “Criminal justice reform was treacherous waters in the first term,” said Van Jones, who served in the Obama administration in 2009. “Pre-Trayvon [Martin] and Black Lives Matter, these issues were considered to be ultra-liberal and African American.”
According to Jones, Obama “did not want to be seen as excessively black or liberal in his agenda”.
But ultimately, “the African American community got more insistent in its claims, and the Republicans got more reasonable in their own critique and set of concerns about criminal justice”, Jones said
Eventually, Obama did do some things for criminal justice reform. But given they had the House and Senate at the time, it’s telling that Democrats immediately tampered down expectation. The world didn’t want to see the first black President help the black community apparently.
Similarly, Biden’s done some good domestically. He signed the bill to get more stimulus checks in the hands of Americans. His administration helped vaccinate millions of Americans. He also has an impressively-sized infrastructure agenda.
But look past those hallmarks, and you’ll see he’s barely more progressive than Trump. For one thing, he lied about the stimulus checks. Biden promised for months that every American would get a $2000 stimulus check. Instead, he gave Americans $1400. Notably, less Americans received the checks than under Trump.
Secondly, pundits praised Biden for the package’s whopping $1.9 trillion price tag. However, that was a Trump administration leftover too. You’ll never guess where Biden’s successful vaccination campaign came from too.
So, he’s more progressive than Donald Trump. Not much of an achievement. When you see how he’s dealt with actual progressive policies though, it’s clear that’s where the achievement ends.
For one, Biden recently removed student loan debt forgiveness from his annual budget. Debt forgiveness was a cornerstone of the progressive platform. It was also a cornerstone of Biden’s platform, albeit to a lesser degree. Savvy pundits merely claimed that debt forgiveness was coming at a later date. Y’know, like Obama’s prison reform.
Others, like Forbes contributor Zack Friedman, pointed out how that’s probably wishful thinking. “If he wanted to, he would have done it already,” Friedman writes, because Biden could’ve done so with a simple executive order.
Putting debt relief aside guarantees it’s not a priority. No progressive would agree with that assertion. Neither would 66% of Americans.
Biden’s early foreign policy decisions are another indicator that he’s far from progressive. Just look at his response to the Israel-Gaza crisis.
Despite Israel’s continued war crimes towards Palestinians, Biden still doesn’t care Palestinian rights. An awkward conversation with a journalist and a member of Biden’s team recently highlighted the situation.
When a reporter asked White House Communications Director Jen Psaki if the Palestinians have a right to self-defense, she refused to say yes or no. Instead, she gave a vague non-answer about how “any loss of life, any threat to life, which we’ve certainly seen, is a tragedy.”
More than their hollow words, the Biden Administration’s horrifying actions show their “progressiveness.” As Israel launched airstrikes on civilian infrastructure, including media and residential towers, Biden stopped a UN resolution urging a ceasefire. Three times in a row. Biden finally relented the other day, but only after over 200 Gazan civilians and 12 Israeli civilians died.
Right on cue, the media praised Biden for his hesitancy in calling for a ceasefire. His administration “banked on quiet leverage and negotiation to bring a quicker end to hostilities,” Politico wrote. Apparently, the quickest way to end hostilities is to do nothing until Israel decides it wants a ceasefire.
At the very least, Biden is using his “quiet leverage” to reprimand Israel now, right? Of course not. Biden approved a $735 million weapons deal to Israel after Israel’s bombing campaign.
Now, a few Democrats are trying to stop Biden’s weapons deal. We’ll see if it happens. You can guess who the Democrats are though. They’re the same brand of Democrat the media claims Biden is cut from the same cloth from.
The media will continue pretending Biden is some transformative, progressive vanguard. Someone who the progressive base can nod their head in approval of, even when they disagree. This doesn’t present the real Biden as he is, and the media understands that.
Maybe people will start taking the media seriously again when they start taking themselves seriously. For now, they’re treating someone who wouldn’t stand up to Israel as a serious progressive.
For anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s clear who Biden really is. Nothing more than who he’s always been; Joe Biden.