Axios is once again giving a platform to Democratic centrists to whine about colleagues who actually support Biden’s agenda:
Centrist House Democrats are unloading on Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her plan to give a response to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
“It’s like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) told Axios.
There is, in fact, a small group of Democrats who are repeatedly keying the car and slashing the tires of the Biden administration, and Gottheimer is their ringleader:
Both bills were moving through Congress until, during the summer, several members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus [extreme sic] threatened to derail the social policy package unless the House took an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill, which had been negotiated and passed by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed,” read a letter from Representative Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and like-minded Democrats in the House. “We disagree. With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delay sand risk squandering this once-in-a-century bipartisan infrastructure package.”
Ironically, it was this letter — and similar statements from Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — that brought the Democratic Party’s momentum to a sudden halt. Democrats would spend the next three months negotiating the two-track process and struggling to meet the shifting demands of moderates and conservatives over the substance of the social policy bill.
The immediate effect of this split within the Democratic Party was to undermine Biden, whose popularity was already on the decline. He took one hit from the Afghanistan withdrawal, another from the ongoing pandemic and still another from the chaos and division in Washington.
The House voted, and the bill passed. Moderates had their win. But rather than go on the offensive, infrastructure spending in hand, they sat quiet. There would be no publicity blitz, no attempt to capture the nation’s attention with a campaign to sell the accomplishments of moderation, no attempt to elevate members who might shine in the spotlight and certainly no serious attempt to push back on the right-wing cultural politics that helped Republicans notch a win in Virginia.
Nor have moderate and conservative Democrats tried to devise an agenda of their own. Instead, they’ve used their remaining political capital to kill the most popular items on the Democratic Party wish list, from tax hikes on the richest Americans and an increase in the minimum wage to a plan for price controls on prescription drugs. They couldn’t even be bothered to save the revamped child tax credit, one of the most effective antipoverty measures since at least the Great Society. Its expiration in December pushed millions of children back under the poverty line.
Now, having immobilized the president’s agenda and plunged their party into disarray, the same Democrats are casting around for someone to blame. Not surprisingly, they’ve settled on their progressive colleagues. Axios’s Mike Allen, summarizing the view from “top Democrats,” writes that “the push to defund the police, rename schools and tear down statues has created a significant obstacle to Democrats keeping control of the House, the Senate and the party’s overall image.”
It’s just amazing that the Problem Creation Caucus is still trying to blame others when they’ve gotten their way. Their top priority was passed. They refuse to pass the top progressive priority, including its most popular elements. They have no further ideas but tax cuts for the affluent and no positive message at all. To the extent that the midterms go worse than expected, it hangs on them, and trying to blame the Squad is just pathetic.