Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Is Biden Lying About Bipartisanship?

Kevin Drum makes an interesting point, regarding Joe Biden's oft-mocked paeans to bipartisanship and the supposed willingness of Republicans to "work with him" once the Trump era has passed.
I have no idea what Joe Biden “really” believes about working with Republicans. But I will say this: he’s a politician. There’s zero reason to think he truly believes what he’s saying here. There’s also zero reason to think he doesn’t believe it. The fact that he said it is simply a null input. 
At the same time, Biden isn’t an idiot. Of course he knows what the modern Republican Party is like. But like Obama before him, he also knows that lots of people really like to hear paeans to bipartisanship. We political junkies may hate it, but ordinary people who don’t inhale cable news are suckers for the idea that we can all get along if we just give it a try—and there are way more of them than there are of us. Biden knows this, so that’s what he tells people. Whether he really believes it or not matters not a whit.
It is strange, when one thinks of it, that the possibility that Biden is simply mouthing a platitude that appeals to Joe Average Voter but which he knows full well is probably BS doesn't even occur to us. After all, I myself have talked a bit about the importance of being earnest -- of keeping a straight face and talking about bipartisanship and norms and neutral rules of procedure, even if one really is planning to string the opposition up by its entrails.

I'm not saying Biden is making this play. He's certainly the sort of beltway lifer that could be convinced that the modern GOP can be bargained with. But he also might be the sort of savvy inside player who understands that's now impossible. The whole problem is that either possibility should observationally yield Joe Biden singing the praises of bipartisanship.


Infidel753 said...

It certainly occurred to me, and I think it's actually obvious. Biden was right there as Obama's VP for eight years and saw how the Republicans obstructed and defamed Obama for all that time. He must know better than anyone that bipartisanship is impossible. There's a certain segment of the electorate who are tired of partisan rancor and haven't been paying close enough attention to realize that it's entirely the Republicans' fault. Biden is just telling that group what they want to hear, and he's far from being the first politician to do so.

Glen Tomkins said...

Whether or not he believes it, saying it now binds him to future action premised on it.

I can say all sorts of things, things I believe and things I don't, the latter presumably for effect. If the effects of the latter are beneficial, that's great, because it's all gravy. I am never going to be dog catcher, much less president. Nonsense that I spout today will never bind my actions in public office, so any benefits of spreading misinformation will not be counterbalanced by my lies putting chains on the next president.

This is important because the overriding problem this country faces right now is that one of its two major political parties has become a political machine at the national level. Lord knows we've had political machines in the past controlling large cities and big states. They could get a hold of the legislature, executive, and courts of their states and cities, and then there was no stopping them, no matter what illegality they got up to, right up until some combination of outside intervention and voter disenchantment allowed reformers to win an election, or secure some convictions, and clean up the rat's nest.

We've never before had a political machine at the federal level, a machine that turns the courts and law enforcement into a tool of the ruling party. The Rs have been working assiduously on packing the courts for some time, and now Barr is at work purging DoJ of those few Ds it might ever have had in the ranks of its civil servants.

If disgust at their stupidity and lawlessness does give us back the trifecta, there must be no "looking forward, not backward". The machine must be destroyed before it has time to consolidate its power. We're going to have to unpack the courts and de-purge DoJ, at a minimum. We might find as well that we have to get rid of ICE via some sort of Truth Commission. In the armed services, the Air Force at least will need purging of the many Christopaths among its leadership, and God knows how extensive the less overt rot has gotten.

Bipartisanship? Working with Rs? Hell, no. Throw the bums out. Someone who spouts bipartisanship nonsense now, to get elected, will never be able to engage in the necessary eviction of the bums once in office.

Unknown said...

We're fighting American history's greatest liar, so why not muddy the message with some worthless pandering? No biggie 'everybody' lies.
Smiling Joe's reason for being VP was he could "handle" the Senate due to his decades of experience there. And.. Nothing but obamacare passed, and that was done sliw and stupid, cuts to real services via sequester, and last and worst the stolen scotus seat.

Maybe Biden IS an over rated incompetent moron.