Doubtless it is true that my sympathies go out to Joe Biden in times of crisis because, like the former Vice President, I too am a liberal, white guy who talks too much and happens to be in his 70’s. Of course, Mr. Biden’s choice of words in his remarks during a fund raiser left quite a lot to be desired. But what I ultimately heard Mr. Biden say was that the nature of effective government is the art of the compromise, which means that sometimes you have to deal with people who can best be described as reprehensible in order to get things done.
The key word, of course, is effective. I understand that some people in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party hear Mr. Biden’s words as nostalgia for the good old days when the Senate was entirely white. They read the quest for civility as a sign of naivete, which while commendable did not work too well for the Democratic Party during the Obama years. They see that Biden’s desire for more comity in our political life as nothing short of misplaced faith. They see that his belief in his ability to negotiate successfully with a Republican Party that is nothing if not totally intransigent on any issue is naïve in the extreme. I understand this but my question is, what is the alternative?
Perhaps the reigning icon of the Far Left of the Democratic Party is Bernie Sanders. It’s true that Old Bernie is extremely adept at standing on the floor of the Senate and venting his spleen with impassioned speeches about the failures of modern American capitalism. What Bernie’s minions on the Far Left fail to recognize, however, is that Senator Sanders throughout his entire Congressional career has never passed one truly significant proposal of his into law.
There is an old saying, “if wishes were horses beggars would ride”. This seems to be the underlying principle of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. They seen to think that a pretty speech delivered with a soupcon of passion and a significant amount of indignation will somehow make things happen in a Congress that is dominated by partisan stubbornness. The last six years of the Obama Administration should have disabused them of this fanciful notion. The only things President Obama accomplished during the last six years of this term of office were brought about not through legislation but by executive orders, almost all of which have been reversed by President Trump.
Yes, Joe Biden’s choice of words was regrettable but his point should be well taken. Democrats can either stand on the Senate floor shooting their mouths off, or they can roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of government and actually achieve meaningful legislation based on sound compromise. This country faces a myriad of problems that are just begging for a solution. But there’s no way they can be solved without the difficult task of moderating one’s point of view with members of the Republican Party and coming up with meaningful compromise. If Congress cannot come to some sort of mid-point on the critical issues of the day, then it won’t matter much what Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren decide to wail about on the Senate floor because our days as the leading country in the world will be extremely limited!
Filed under: Politics