Democrats Shelve Build Back Better, Effectively Forfeiting Biden’s Presidency

It’s been a week that could arguably described as the effective end of the Biden presidency. Over a span of just 72 hours, the administration announced that the student loan payment freeze would expire at the end of January, that they would defer to Congress to deliver the $10,000 in student debt forgiveness they promised on the campaign trail, and that they’re shelving Build Back Better until 2022.

Permitting student loans to continue as one of covid’s most virulent variants descends upon us in the dead of winter is bad enough. Punting to a dysfunctional Congress on debt forgiveness is tantamount to abandoning it altogether. Delaying further negotiation on Biden’s would-be signature legislative accomplishment is itself an admission of defeat.

But the bad news didn’t stop there. The cherry on top came courtesy of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who defiantly asserted her and her colleagues’ rights to buy and sell stock, citing our “free market economy” as justification.

This avalanche of self-inflicted wounds coming at a time when Democrats’ midterm prospects are already historically dark and the economy is looking increasingly precarious as inflation soars and coronavirus surges. That a party with control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, elected precisely to provide relief and guidance through the pandemic, would portray this level of indifference about delivering on their most basic of promises, begs the question of whether or not at this point, they even want to remain in power.

After all, it’s been a common refrain on the Left these past five years that the Democratic establishment would rather lose to Republicans than win with progressive candidates. The events of this week are simply a manifestation of this very priority set.

Extending the loan payment freeze and forgiving student debt would certainly be a boon to their electoral prospects in November of next year, as would coming out against the idea that one can appropriately be a public servant and a private investor at the same time.

Of course, the party isn’t willing to do any of these things, because, as we’ve been saying for years now, they would rather lose to Republicans than upset their apple cart in this way. And so instead of seeing Democrats try and right the ship, we’re seeing more a resignation to the fate they’ll soon be the minority party again, which to them is just the price of doing business.

We discuss the implosion of Build Back Better, Pelosi’s defense of stock trading by herself and her peers, and more, on episode 129 of our podcast. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Democrats’ Shameful Betrayal on Student Debt Will Doom Them in 2022

by Keaton Weiss

Even Joe Biden’s insultingly meager campaign promise of $10,000 in student debt relief for borrowers in exchange for public service seemed dubious at the time he made it. After all, this is the guy who deemed it impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy, and has been a lifelong prostitute for credit card companies and big banks, both of whom profit greatly off the interest from their clients’ crippling debts.

Sure enough, his administration dealt student borrowers a brutal one-two punch this week, when it was announced that the federal student loan payment freeze will expire at the end of January, and no executive action will be taken to deliver on his pledge to cancel the aforementioned $10,000 in debt.

Regarding the former, Press Secretary Jen Psaki made it clear to reporters that “a smooth transition back into repayment is a high priority for the administration.” Given Biden’s decades-long aversion to debt relief of any kind, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. His home state of Delaware has long been a sort of Guantanamo Bay for parasitic money lenders, having drafted tax codes in their favor in order to lure them away from New York.

Disgusting as it is, at least Biden’s plan to restart student loan payments in February is being straightforwardly stated and spelled out. When it comes to his broken promise of debt forgiveness, the White House’s betrayal of student borrowers is sleazier and more dishonest.

When Psaki was pressed on the issue this week, she responded by saying, “If Congress sends him a bill, he’s happy to sign it. They haven’t sent him a bill on that yet.”

Three things are made clear by this answer.

First, that the Biden administration would defer on this issue to an obviously and demonstrably dysfunctional Congress shows they have no intention whatsoever to deliver on their promise of debt forgiveness.

Second, they trust that the portion of their base who needs whatever relief they can get, even $10,000, which for many borrowers would barely make a dent in the interest, much less the principal, is too stupid to realize they’re being strung along.

Third, they’ve assessed that the true power base of their party, upper middle class suburbanite Morning Joe junkies drooling over Sean Hannity’s texts to Mark Meadows on January 6th, don’t very much care about student debt or those affected by it. These are the last of the die hard “Blue No Matter Who” faithful, who see the Democratic Party as all that stands between us and a fascist takeover of our government, even as their beloved Democratic administration tortures Julian Assange to death in broad daylight for publishing truthful information about our military crimes.

These MSNBC-addled bimbos are endlessly loyal, and their monthly donations to ActBlue may keep the Democrats’ delusions of viability alive through the summer of next year. But come November 2022, the Democratic Party is in for the rude awakening that their sycophants may have deep pockets, but they can only vote once, and there aren’t enough of them left to save them from political annihilation.

Most of the country aren’t naked partisans, and much of the country stopped giving a shit about January 6th on January 7th, because much of the country understands that the real coup has long been over, and that the true “insurrectionists” are those like Biden, Pelosi, Manchin, and Sinema, who keep the door open for corporate donors to storm the Capitol much like the police let the rioters in.

And so, most of the country sees no reason to vote for these ghouls ever again. Their stab in the back on student loans is the latest, but almost certainly not the last, betrayal between now and Election Day next year. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The real fascists have already won. The Democrats’ new base of affluent white cable news addicts are the last ones not to realize this, because they’re the last ones not to have their “rights” trampled upon by America’s true oppressors: banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and the like.

Dark days ahead for Democrats and their supporters – they deserve every minute.

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The Left Should Embrace the Primal Catharsis of ‘Let’s Go Brandon’

by Keaton Weiss

Yes, 90% of the “Let’s Go Brandon” chanters have politics that are pretty different from mine. After all, the phrase was born at a NASCAR event. During a TV interview with winning driver Brandon Brown, an NBC reporter nervously interpreted the crowd’s chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” as “Let’s Go Brandon.” Ridiculous as her attempted coverup was, she deserves credit for thinking on her feet.

In the weeks since the video surfaced online, “Let’s Go Brandon” has gone viral as a G-rated stand-in for the saying’s actual sentiment. As an added bonus that the Trump base is sure to enjoy, “Let’s Go Brandon” also serves to call out the media for its willful and absurd misrepresentation of reality (or, as they would put it, “Fake News.”)

While the Left has mostly responded negatively to the phrase – some have dismissed it as juvenile and classless, while others have hyperbolically (though if we’re being honest, somewhat predictably) compared it to a Nazi salute, I, for one, love it.

It’s everything the Left used to be: it’s mass politics, it’s grassroots, it’s transgressive in ironic and humorous fashion. But perhaps more importantly, it’s cathartic in its simplicity and emotional honesty.

As a Leftist who’s spent the past few months holding out hope that House progressives would hold the line on infrastructure negotiations and not capitulate to the “moderates” as they always have in the past, this last week has been incredibly frustrating. I should have known all along that it was only a matter of time before Pramila Jayapal and the rest of the holdouts in the Progressive Caucus would cave under pressure.

And so after months of digging through the weeds of political gamesmanship, analyzing intra-party negotiations, and fruitlessly attempting to predict the fates of both the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better add-on, it seems that we are destined for yet another massive disappointment. In the end, once again, it all adds up to nothing. Progressives fold, centrists win, the media continues to propagate the narrative that the moderates are the “adults in the room” who “get things done,” and that Lefties are “pie in the sky,” “all talk, no action,” blah, blah, blah.

It all makes you want to just throw your hands up and say ‘fuck it all.’ Fuck the craven “moderates” who withhold even the smallest plate of crumbs from their constituents so as not to upset their corporate donors. Fuck the feckless progressives who were never willing to tank both bills in order to stand up to their corrupt centrist counterparts. And also, for showing little to no leadership on these negotiations, Fuck Joe Biden – or, in the parlance of our times, Let’s Go Brandon.

For NASCAR fans and the MAGA faithful, “Let’s Go Brandon” is a subversive rallying cry against the Biden administration and its media propagandists. For the Left, it ought to be a sort of mantra; a squishy stress ball we can all squeeze when the dysfunctionally corrupt Democrats become too infuriating to think about without losing our minds altogether.

For example, you might find yourself getting riled up over Ro Khanna’s disgusting cowardice on CNN when he explained that after all of this chest-pounding, he’ll be taking a “leap of faith” that Joe Biden can twist Joe Manchin’s arm into supporting BBB. When you feel your heart rate spiking, just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and as you exhale, whisper a soft, gentle, “Let’s Go Brandon.”

You may come across a clip of Don Lemon blaming the activist Left for the defeat of Terry McAuliffe, the insider’s insider and moderate of all moderates. Rather than excite yourself trying to formulate a retort that will surely be wasted on anyone brainwashed enough to care what Don Lemon has to say about anything, simply breathe in, breathe out, and, nice and quietly: Let’s Go Brandon.

Or, if you’re more from the Frank Costanza school of meditation, you can even scream it:

Say it soft, say it loud, say it fast, say it slow – anyway you want. You do you. But seriously, try it. I think you’ll like it. It’s comfort food; chicken soup for the soul; self-care for the embattled Leftist.

We discuss the ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ phenomenon, the 2021 election results, and more on episode 125 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, subscribe to our podcast and listen on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

(election recap begins at 4:25, Let’s Go Brandon discussion at 38:11)

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Alexander Sammon on the Unmasking of Centrism’s Emptiness and Corruption

Alexander Sammon, staff writer at The American Prospect, wrote a recent article entitled “The Undignified Demise of Centrism.” In it, he concludes:

“Centrism, now, is imperiled as a political orientation not for its competitive viability, but for the emptiness and corruption that has been exposed at its heart. Not a single young voter, or someone politically up for grabs, can look to the leadership of Kyrsten Sinema or Scott Peters and see a politician with a positive vision for governance and society, one they could believe in, knock on doors for, or turn out to vote for.”

As negotiations continue over the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, so-called “centrist” Democrats in both the House and Senate have raised objections to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package championed by both progressives and the White House.

Moderates holding up the legislative process by insisting that plans be watered down is nothing new. But Sammon argues in his piece that what is unique to this particular fight is that this time, centrists aren’t even bothering to disguise their obstructionism as anything but what it is: hollow and nihilistic corruption.

Kyrsten Sinema is teaching a college course on fundraising (yes, that’s right) while refusing to offer any rationale for her objection to the Build Back Better Act.

Joe Manchin is steadfastly (and successfully) chipping away at Biden’s climate proposals while raking in huge amounts of money from the fossil fuel industry, and having gotten rich off his own coal company which he founded in 1988.

Congressman Scott Peters, as Sammon cites in his article, all but openly admitted the corrupting influence of pharmaceutical donations on his decision making process, insisting that refusing their donations would be tantamount to “defunding” his campaign and “let[ting] Republicans win.”

Unlike most intra-party fights where centrists play an active role in negotiations and submit their own counteroffers to more progressive proposals, this time they’re making no such effort. They’re simply saying no for the sake of it, offering the American people no explanation other than the one many are arriving at themselves, which is that centrism as a governing philosophy is both morally and intellectually bankrupt, and bolstered by nothing more than the undue influence of corporate money in politics.

Alexander Sammon joined our podcast for a deeper dive on this topic. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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After Years of Courting Affluent Suburbanites, Democrats Deserve Kyrsten Sinema

by Keaton Weiss

As you’ve probably observed if you’ve been paying any attention to the ongoing negotiations over infrastructure spending, Democratic lawmakers and voters are growing increasingly frustrated with Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She is one of two Senators currently preventing the passage of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill which would finance long overdue additions to the social safety net, including universal pre-K and expansion of Medicare.

Whereas her partner in crime, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has at least gone through the motions of making a counter-offer, Sinema has been defiantly silent throughout the process, dodging the media and her own constituents, and instead meeting behind closed doors with her corporate donors.

Her silent obstructionism has many Democrats upset that she is inflicting further damage upon an already embattled Biden White House by denying the administration a sorely needed legislative win. Progressives always knew Sinema would be a problem, even if many did support her challenge to Republican incumbent Martha McSally in 2018, but even her fellow “moderates” seem to be catching on to the fact that she’s an enemy of progress.

And while moderate liberals’ increasingly open disdain for Sinema is a positive development overall, these same Democrats ought to remember that their party, since the 2016 election, has tailored its messaging and policy positions specifically to court affluent white suburban voters – the very people who elect Senators like Kyrsten Sinema.

Progressives were told in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns that Bernie Sanders, while exciting to the young, progressive base of the party, couldn’t win a general election because his ideas were too “radical” to be embraced by this emerging cohort of upper-middle class suburban voters – or, as Rahm Emanuel branded them, “Biden Republicans.”

And so, in both primary contests, the party brass put its thumb on the scale against Sanders’ candidacy, in favor of centrists who they felt would deliver them this new coalition of well-to-do suburban centrists who were liberal on social issues, but economically more conservative. These kinds of voters were critical to putting Sinema over the top in her 2018 Senate bid, as well as to the Democrats’ overall success in those midterms. They’ve been been explicitly catering to them ever since.

It therefore stands to reason that the party would eventually face the very crisis in which it now finds itself. Sinema is a newly elected moderate sent to Washington by fiscally conservative independents, and she’s acting accordingly. Democrats can be upset about this all they’d like, but they have only themselves to blame for their current predicament. Because Sinema, an eccentric bisexual who votes against minimum wage increases and the strengthening of social programs, represents the exact kind of voter Democrats welcomed into their party with open arms these past three election cycles (2020, 2018, and 2016).

And so, the current stalemate within the party between progressives and centrists makes perfect sense. The very premise of the Democratic Party – a party “for the little guy,” funded by wealthy donors and corporate interests – is a laughable self-contradiction. Should anyone be surprised that it’s having trouble unifying behind even the most modest of public investments like hearing aids for senior citizens?

Comedian and political commentator Graham Elwood aptly describes the Democratic Party as “Goldman Sachs with a rainbow flag.” Tell me that isn’t spot on, and tell me it doesn’t describe Kyrsten Sinema to a tee. If you can’t (and you can’t), then it should come as no surprise that the party of corporate wokeness and virtue signaling neoliberalism is eating itself alive in a doomed effort to negotiate its way out of its own inherent and inescapable paradox.

The Democratic Party had a chance, in 2016, to become the kind of party that would have no problem passing legislation like the Build Back Better Act. Party leadership vehemently opposed such a shift, and a majority of Democratic voters followed their lead. This embarrassing public implosion in which the party “for the people” can’t even unify behind measures as basic as adding dental coverage to Medicare, is just punishment for their disgraceful behavior these past five years.

Unfortunately, we’re all collateral damage.

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Progressives’ True Test Arrives as Biden Signals Major Infrastructure Compromise

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that President Biden, in meetings with House Democrats, has significantly lowered his goals on additional infrastructure spending. Until now, he has thrown in with progressives who insisted on passing a $3.5 trillion package in addition to the $1 trillion bipartisan bill.

Biden’s new ceiling is apparently $2.3 trillion, a drastic reduction from an already compromised number (as Bernie Sanders has repeatedly stated, progressives initially wanted a $6 trillion deal).

Up to this point, House progressives have wisely touted their support from the president, and attached themselves to Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. Perhaps it was their legitimate claim to Biden’s allyship that emboldened them to hold firm at their $3.5 trillion price tag, as they have maintained their position over the past several weeks despite pressure from moderates in the party and their corporate backers.

Now that Biden has essentially caved (editor’s note: surprise, surprise), progressives’ true test has arrived. They now must have the courage to remain steadfast in their demands without the cover that comes with attaching themselves to the leader of their party, the President of the United States.

Now that Biden has signaled that the high end of the settlement will be more like $2.3 trillion, the same progressives who banded together to block the $1 trillion package last week will have to publicly defy party leadership – including the president – if they want to drive that amount higher.

Whether they have it in them to do that remains to be seen. In the American Rescue Plan negotiations, House progressives didn’t put up a fight to keep Bernie Sanders’ minimum wage provision in the bill after eight Senate Democrats teamed up with Republicans to defeat it. So if past is prologue, there’s little reason for optimism.

If there is cause for hope, it’s that they have publicly dug in already on this infrastructure fight, and that caving now would be seen as yet another humiliating defeat for the Left. Pramila Jayapal instantly rejected at Joe Manchin’s ludicrous $1.5 trillion offer, saying plainly, “That’s not going to happen.” Whether she and her caucus can maintain that same level of confidence without clear support from party leadership is now the big question regarding the fate of the infrastructure bill.

Lauren Steiner, activist and host of The Robust Opposition, joined us on our podcast for a deep dive on the state of these negotiations. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Biden’s Failing Presidency is a Tragic Reflection of America’s Decline

by Russell Dobular

These days Joe Biden is a tragic figure and also a symbolic one. As he dodders and mumbles his way through the rare press conference and occasional speech, it’s hard not to feel like we’re into the final scenes of King Lear, with the monarch’s mind crumbling under the weight of too many cruel realities arriving at a time in life when he is least able to manage them. Watching him try – and fail repeatedly – to master situations from Covid to Afghanistan to a dysfunctional Congress, gives one the uncomfortable feeling, no matter your politics, of catching a glimpse at our own national reflection. 

If Trump represented America’s wounded Id having a tantrum, Biden is its increasingly out of touch Ego, seeing a man of 35 in the mirror, even as everyone around him prepares to fight over the estate he’s going to be leaving behind very shortly.

As in any great tragedy, the seeds of Biden’s destruction were sown in the very moment of his triumph. Having resoundingly lost the first three primary states, he was rescued only by divine intervention, or the Democratic Party equivalent: an intercession by his old boss, Barack. But there are consequences for foisting a candidate on the public that no one particularly likes, trusts, or believes in. In exit polls, 44% of Biden supporters saw their vote as a rejection of Trump. Only 54% saw it as a vote for Biden. For Trump, those numbers were 22% and 75% respectively.

It could be a case of Yeats’ lines regarding the lack of conviction among the best while the worst are full of “passionate intensity,” playing out in real time, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Trump’s voters actively chose Trump. 

Biden, on the other hand, was never anything more than a hastily constructed bulwark against the party’s rising progressive wing.  That’s a flimsy premise for a presidency and was never going to hold up for very long to the scrutiny that comes with the job. It’s also a weak hand to play in negotiations with both official Republicans and the unofficial ones within his own party.  

Manchin has so little care about incurring the historically unpopular Biden’s wrath (only Trump was more disliked at this point in presidency) that he literally talked down to his own voters from the stern of his yacht this week as they demanded he support $3.5T in infrastructure spending. And Sinema seems to take a special delight in defying him, as if she’s fantasizing about all the lucrative board memberships she’s going to accumulate when her public service is done and she’s able to cash in her chits.   

If we get an infrastructure bill at all, it’s going to be even more woefully inadequate to meeting the needs of the moment than the one currently under consideration.  

It’s often been observed by his opponents on the left that Biden turned out to be better than anyone expected, but that’s only because the bar for his presidency had been set at a subterranean level. This is the man who gleefully incarcerated a generation of black men, while bragging that his crime bill would “do everything but hang people for jay walking.” Anything short of riding up to the White House on a horse in full Grand Wizard regalia to take the oath of office was going to look like a miracle of late-in-life progressive conversion.

Yes, Biden is better than anyone expected him to be. But he isn’t nearly as good as we needed him to be. We needed the FDR, or failing that, at least the LBJ that Biden reportedly sees himself as. What we got is a walking, talking, daily reminder of just how far we’ve fallen as a country. His befuddlement, frustration and ineffectiveness are our own, as is his nostalgia for a time when we had more turns left in the game, and our possible moves seemed infinite.  

A serious nation that is qualified to lead the world, even in a lets-start-pointless-wars-in-order-to-enrich-our-corporations kind of a way, would never have elected Biden or his predecessor. Our allies and enemies alike have noticed and their way of dealing with the United States is now along the lines of the way one deals with a crazy, rich uncle.  Think about the inheritance. Smile and nod. Remind yourself that he won’t be around for much longer.

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The Taliban Was Always Going to Take Afghanistan, But Biden’s Withdrawal Was Still a Disaster

In the wake of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent usurpation of the Afghan government by the Taliban, there seem to be two competing widespread opinions. Predictably, the corporate media, essentially an arm of the military industrial complex itself, has been nearly unanimous in its messaging that the turmoil in Afghanistan is a cautionary tale for why America must remain the World Police, and that the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw was a disastrous one.

Ironically, many on the Left are finally praising President Biden for sticking to his guns and defending his decision to pull out of Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation. Kyle Kulinski went as far as to (half seriously) brand himself a “Biden bro,” lauding the withdrawal of troops as “the best thing he ever did.”

What most in both the mainstream and independent media are missing here is that the decision to withdraw, and the manner in which the US went about its execution, are two different issues. Many would scoff at this, as Kyle himself has, and point out that no matter how long we remained in Afghanistan, this outcome was inevitable, and therefore it’s petty to critique the way in which the withdrawal was carried out.

Is he correct? Yes and no. But mostly, no.

He, as is almost everyone on the Left, is undoubtedly correct that the political outcome itself – i.e, the Taliban reclaiming Afghanistan – was a foregone conclusion no matter how the withdrawal was executed. But what wasn’t inevitable was the extraordinary level of chaos that ensued during this “transfer of power.”

Just six weeks ago, Biden expressed confidence that the Afghan army was ready to defend its country, insisting that a Taliban takeover was “not inevitable” (a prediction which directly contradicts his latest statements in which he emphasizes that it was). Had he and his administration been better prepared for this outcome that they now claim was inevitable from the beginning, surely a safer, more orderly evacuation of personnel and equipment would have been prioritized in anticipation for what was certain to unfold.

Instead, we saw horrific images of Afghans clinging to the sides of airplanes and then falling out of the sky from 2,000 feet in the air. We saw traffic jams of desperate people trying to flee at the last minute as the Taliban took over. And now, the Taliban has control over stockpiles of military equipment that we left behind.

So the questions of whether or not we were right to get out, and how do we go about doing so as safely and responsibly as possible, are obviously two different questions, and the latter is just as important as the former. Many have said that to obsess over the execution of the plan without acknowledging the overall merit of the decision to withdraw is to somehow nitpick and split hairs. This is absurd.

When the Seattle Mariners built their beautiful new Stadium, Safeco Field, they decided to demolish the Kingdome, its unsightly and retrograde predecessor; a decision almost everyone agreed was the right one. But if the demolition took place during a game, with 30,000 people inside, then of course it would be apropos to emphasize the extraordinary recklessness and incompetence with which the decision was carried out.

This is common sense. The way in which Biden’s administration went about this withdrawal was obviously a complete disaster that could have and should have been mitigated by ample preparation, if it could not have been avoided entirely. Acknowledging this in no way suggests that the decision to withdraw is itself a bad one.

We discuss the Afghanistan withdrawal and more on episode 118 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Blue Pilled: The Left Should Take Credit for the Progress Being Made, Not Deny It

One day into Joe Biden’s presidency, Liza Featherstone published a piece in Jacobin entitled “If Joe Biden Moves Left, You Can Thank the Left.” The thrust of her argument was that the Left should take credit for any progressive actions Biden takes, pointing to years of Left organizing and activism against all odds that brought progressive economic policies into the mainstream, particularly since the 2016 Presidential primaries.

After Biden’s first 100 days, however, much of the online Left seems committed to doing just the opposite. As the Biden administration passed a $300 per month, per child UBI, and has recently proposed plans for funding guaranteed paid leave and universal pre-K, many on the Left seem determined to minimize the significance of these plans, going as far as to accuse progressive House members of “gaslighting” their supporters by acknowledging and applauding such progress.

On the one hand, this should come as little surprise. After all, a great many podcasters and YouTubers have built their brands around criticizing the Democratic Party from the Left. We’re among them. And there is undoubtedly a wealth of material for critics of Joe Biden to sink their teeth into. His failure to lead on the minimum wage, neglecting to explicitly and unequivocally endorse the Amazon workers’ union efforts in Bessemer, Alabama, deception surrounding the ongoing role that the U.S. will play in the Saudi war on Yemen, are three important and legitimate criticisms among a plethora of others.

But to deny the significance of programs like children’s UBI, paid leave, and universal pre-K, is to deny reality. Currently, the average American family spends 23% of its income on childcare, while family benefits account for an embarrassingly low 0.64% of GDP. UBI for parents combined with universal pre-K and paid leave will obviously have a tremendous positive impact on the ease of family rearing in a country that has fallen woefully behind the rest of the developed world in this respect.

By pretending otherwise, the Left not only appears bitter and delusional, but worse, they project their own powerlessness and irrelevance to the rest of the country. If Leftists disavow these programs and accuse those who tout them of being compromised “gaslighters,” “sellouts,” or “careerists,” we signal that we want nothing to do with the proposal and passage of the very policies we have been advocating for so long.

Is this really the road we want to go down? Do we want to cut off our noses to spite our faces, just because we don’t like the president or the party in power? Do we want to project our own irrelevance by denying our role in promoting these popular Left policies that are finally seeing their day in the sun?

A much better approach would be to tout these accomplishments as our own. The Hill recently published an article entitled “We must thank Sanders for Biden’s success.” That sounds a lot more like it. It’s not about giving Biden credit, it’s about giving ourselves credit for forcing these ideas into the mainstream.

We discuss this and more on episode 112 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

Subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player!

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Rainbow Bombs and Broken Promises: Things are Finally Getting Back to Normal

by Russell Dobular

I’ve been holding my fire, ’cause fair is fair; we had to give Biden a little time to either break his previous mold or prove to be the war mongering corporate stooge he’s always been. The latter was always more likely but there was a slim chance that a man of his advanced years would want to be remembered for something besides mass incarceration and making it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. I know exactly two voters who thought Biden should be the president on his own merits, and not just relative to Trump, but I know a lot of people who got caught up in the “Dear Leader,” state TV style coverage of the inauguration. Those folks are mostly silent now as Biden demonstrates the kind of bait and switch “leadership” that’s made the Democratic brand so toxic since the Clinton era. Let’s take a look:


Silence on the Amazon Union Vote, Then a Half Endorsement

The self-described “union man” remained entirely silent as Amazon workers voted to unionize in Alabama, until under pressure from even friendlies in the press, he finally issued a lukewarm statement supporting the vote.  Not the union necessarily, just the vote. This is inarguably an improvement over his old boss, who took $400 million from organized labor then screwed them over for 8 years like it was his job (which, along with a 22% spike in Obamacare premiums in several swing states right before the 2016 election, is a criminally under-examined element of Trump’s victory),  but it seems like a union man might want to be a little less ambiguous about his support for the most important union drive since the 30’s.  The fact that Jay Carney, Biden’s communications director in the Obama White House, is now doing the Lord’s work as Amazon’s chief PR flack, ain’t helping the optics among those who are paying attention. Like the workers taking the vote.

Hiding Behind the Senate Parliamentarian to Avoid Increasing the Minimum Wage.

This is a classic Democratic Party maneuver: pretending that you can’t do something that you actually can do because of procedural obstacles or Republican opposition. That’s how Barack got away with dropping the promised public option from Obamacare, after making a secret backroom deal with insurance and drug companies. In reality, Harris can overrule the Parliamentarian.  So why doesn’t Biden have her do it? It goes back to the General Unifying Theory of the Democratic Party: the donors wouldn’t like it.  Most of the time when Democrat politicians say one thing and do another, all you have to do is follow the money to figure out what they’re doing and why.  

Bombing Syria

‘Cause why not? Especially on a Friday. Just a little TGIF love to all the defense contractors.  And let’s face it, nothing says, “America’s Back Baby!” like bombing the fuck out of a Muslim country.  And when you pluck a Defense Secretary right from the board of Raytheon, you’re kind of telling people straight out that we’re going to be finding lots and lots of pretexts over the next four years for making lots and lots of bombs. At least we’ve got a black man bombing brown people now, which is surely a great comfort to them.

Going Small on Student Debt

Biden claimed at a town hall that he can waive $10,000 in student debt, but not $50,000, once again using the procedure excuse. There’s actually no legal basis for that claim. He just doesn’t really want to waive student debt. Which should come as no surprise, given that Biden is as personally responsible for the system of student debt peonage we have today as any living politician.

Going Big on Neera Tanden

While soft-pedaling it on every key policy promise, he’s still pushing corrupt political hack and professional asshole, Neera Tanden, for a job which she is completely unqualified for, while hiding behind claims of racism and sexism as the nomination blows up in his face. Someone told me after the election that the “smart money” was on Biden appointing some progressives to his cabinet in a spirit of reconciliation. Given that Biden wouldn’t even hire them for his campaign, the real “smart money” knew he wouldn’t put any in his cabinet. Instead, they’ve tried to rebrand people like Tanden, who in the past has advocated for cutting social security and Medicare, and invading Libya for their oil, as progressive. Not like the Blue MAGA’s are going to argue.

Turning $2,000 Checks into $1,400 Checks

When you stand up in the middle of Georgia and loudly declare that if the voters elect Democrats to the Senate, they’ll be getting $2,000 checks “immediately,” most of them think that means they’ll be getting $2,000 checks immediately. Not $1400 checks eventually. If you don’t understand why that might piss people off, you’ve probably never really, really needed money right away, or been in a position where $600 was all that stood between you and homelessness. That being the case, your political opinions here are about as useful as fishing tackle in the Mojave. For the sake of not making more Republican voters, you might wanna sit this one out.


That’s an incomplete list of some of the lowlights of the new administration. I ain’t gonna go so far as to say that the new boss is the same as the immediately preceding boss, but the new old boss is definitely shaping up to be the same as all the Democratic bosses we’ve had from Clinton on down. Which is disappointing, but shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who looked into Biden’s record before they voted for him, a group that presumably excludes most of the people who did so in the primaries.

The difference for Biden from the most recent Democratic presidents is that he has assumed power in a much poorer, sicker, and more desperate America, with an organized left that’s paying attention. Sure, the suburban base would watch Biden take a shit on the desk in the Oval Office and call it ice cream, but the number of people who are that mindless has dwindled in direct proportion to the share of national wealth that ends up in the hands of the citizenry. That’s the thing about crooks: they never know when to leave well enough alone. They always have to push it, until they break it. America has been driven to a breaking point by its oligarchs and a corrupt political system whose primary purpose is to serve their interests, and Biden is the last person to summon the imagination or political will to either understand what America finally snapping is going to look like or do what would need to be done to prevent that from happening.

‘Sides that, unlike Slick Willy, and Barack, Biden is a congenital moron, with the speaking skills of an angry drunk two steps into the program.  Imagine Uncle Joe trying to sell people on the idea that the meaning of “is” is up for debate, as Clinton did, or fake-drinking poisoned Flint water to convince people that its safe, as Obama did in a bit of black-on-black prop comedy violence. While the press has been applying the same kind of obscurantism that critics deploy to convince us that crappy modern art isn’t crappy to Biden’s God-awful speeches and town hall appearances, there’s only so much they can do to cover for a man so intrinsically dumb that he had to drop out of his first run for the Presidency after getting caught plagiarizing a speech, without even bothering to change its biographical details.   

Given that he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer in his prime, putting a sundowning Biden in charge of a crumbling America was always bound to look something like this. Cabinet appointments that often feel like they were produced in a process that involved shaking up two paper bags, with one labelled, “Donors We Have To Fellate” and another labelled, “Members of an Identity Group,” then affixing the results to a corkboard; identity politics deflections from all questions about or criticisms of said appointments (the real purpose of the aforementioned corkboard selection process); bullshitting about what he can and can’t do without Bill and Barack’s ability to really convince anybody; picking the kinds of pointless fights that angry drunks pick, like the one currently unfolding over Tanden.

And we haven’t even crossed the 100 day mark yet, after which things always get a lot harder, even for a President who didn’t Forrest Gump his way into the job.  We’re rushing quickly towards the day when the North Korea-style press coverage, can no longer credibly paper over Biden’s deep flaws and personal defects.  Which is why reports of the demise of the Republican Party should be regarded as greatly premature.


We discuss these topics and more on episode 108 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

Subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player!

Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters