Why Is Everyone So Shocked That Biden Did Exactly What He Said He Was Going To Do?

[ Posted Monday, October 4th, 2021 – 16:21 UTC ]

Far too often, I find myself getting irate with the mainstream political press for being intentionally obtuse and refusing to remember what happened only a short time ago. This weekend was one of those times. The chattering classes on the Sunday political shows tried to frame what had just happened at the Capitol as some sort of plot twist -- some unforeseen development that was simply unprecedented and shocking. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. When President Joe Biden went to the Capitol and informed Democrats not only that he wanted to see the budget reconciliation bill pass but also that he would be willing to wait -- and that he didn't care that the infrastructure bill would be delayed -- you would have thought by the reaction that he had somehow changed his mind or "thrown his lot in with the progressives." This was the refrain I heard all Sunday morning, in fact. Biden had surprisingly sided with the progressives, when many people had expected him to join the moderates in their demand that the infrastructure bill be passed before any action was taken on the reconciliation bill. But this is narrative is completely false.

The truth of the matter is this was Biden's position all along. Don't believe me? Here is how I wrote about the situation back at the end of June, when the "two-track" deal was first unveiled:

The trouble erupted right after the deal was publicly announced. Everyone has known all along (don't believe the fake Republican histrionics now, they knew just as well as everyone else) that there would be two bills. The first was designed to gain GOP support so everyone could bask in the wonderful glow of bipartisanship. "Kumbaya" would be sung at the signing ceremony, and all of that sort of thing. The second piece of legislation was designed from the start to contain all the things Biden thought no Republican would ever vote for (higher taxes on high-income earners, social spending, etc.). The only real question was how much of the first bill would have to be shifted to the second one. Republicans drove a pretty stingy bargain, coming up with a magic definition of "infrastructure" that they insisted everyone must swear allegiance to. So a lot got shifted to the second bill. These bills were always designed to pass in tandem, as two legs of a three-legged "Biden economic agenda" stool (the third leg, the COVID relief bill, already passed).

So the deal was announced. The GOP would deign to accept $579 billion in new spending, down from the $2.25 trillion Biden had sought. But the problem among Democrats is that progressives are worried (and not without cause) that if the bipartisan bill passes, their own members (Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, for the most part) would balk at voting for it. This would have left only a two-legged stool at the end of the day -- which progressives (and Joe Biden) do not consider a viable outcome. The quandary was how to ensure Manchin's and Sinema's votes on the partisan bill if the bipartisan bill had already passed.

And then Nancy Pelosi stepped in and provided the perfect answer. She would not introduce the bipartisan bill for a House vote until the Senate also delivered the partisan second bill. Period. This perfectly and brilliantly fixed the problem progressives were having.

But then, a few hours later, Joe Biden needlessly inserted himself into this elegant solution, and in answer to a question said that both bills must be passed "in tandem" or he wouldn't sign the first one.

Got that? Biden himself said he would never sign one bill without the other. He took some heat for this position, and intelligently stopped talking about it (since, as the rest of the article points out, Nancy Pelosi was fully capable of taking the political heat for this all by herself). But there was no doubt about where Biden stood. He wanted both bills on his desk at the same time. Someone should remind pretty much every political reporter on television of this salient fact, since they all seem to have completely forgotten about it.

The moderates have been pushing a narrative that is equally false: "Joe Biden campaigned as a moderate. Bernie Sanders didn't win the nomination, Biden did! He ran on moderation and now he's giving in to the progressive's far-left wish list!" This gets both what happened in the campaign wrong and what is happening now. True, Biden wasn't as far left as Bernie. Bernie, to give just one example, was for all state colleges to be tuition-free. Biden would only go as far as tuition-free community colleges (not four-year colleges). Guess which one ended up in the reconciliation bill? Biden's version, not Bernie's. Sure, Bernie was for a much more robust agenda, but Biden's agenda -- the one he campaigned on, mind you -- was the most progressive platform of any Democratic presidential nominee in decades. Biden was pulled to the left during the primary campaign and (to his credit) he then kept to his agenda and didn't water it down for the general election. And the reconciliation bill is Biden's agenda, not Bernie's. This is what most of the pundits are failing to remember. Biden campaigned on this stuff. He promised it to the American people in order to get elected. It is not some radical shift in his position, it's what he fully intended to deliver. He didn't "give in" to progressives at all. He didn't have to, because his campaign platform was so progressive to begin with.

What changed, over the summer, is that the moderates tried to box Pelosi in with a made-up artificial deadline. They held a procedural bill (which started the whole budget reconciliation process) hostage and threatened to kill it if Pelosi didn't immediately hold a vote on the infrastructure bill. Pelosi instead promised them that she would hold the infrastructure vote by the end of September. The crisis was averted, and the procedural bill passed. And then Pelosi ignored this artificial deadline last week because the progressives would have killed the infrastructure bill without the Senate voting on the reconciliation bill. But the moderates never really had any reason why the infrastructure bill had to pass first, since their real motive was to kill the reconciliation bill altogether.

All Pelosi did last week was what she has been promising all along. She is refusing to hold a vote on the infrastructure bill until the vote can also be held on the reconciliation bill. Just like she promised she would do. Back in June. The progressives are also doing exactly what they promised they would do -- nothing has really changed at all, in other words.

The Democratic moderates (conservatives, really) were downright shocked that Biden agreed with both Pelosi and the progressives. He refused to insist on the infrastructure bill vote happening immediately and said he didn't care how long the whole process took -- in his own words: six minutes, six days, or six weeks. The congressional moderate Democrats somehow thought that because Biden's political persona is moderate that he'd do what they wanted him to do. This completely ignores the fact that the reconciliation bill is not some wild scheme dreamed up by progressives, it is instead Joe Biden's own agenda. Why would he risk a major part of that agenda by insisting on a meaningless artificial deadline?

Again, nobody should be shocked by any of this. Pelosi, the progressives, and Biden himself are just doing what they promised they were going to do all along. But you certainly wouldn't have known this by the way the political commentators talked about it yesterday morning. They acted as if this was all some grand plot twist instead of exactly what everyone had been saying for months.

The pundits should know better. Seriously, the end of June was not that long ago. They should remember what Biden said back then. And what Pelosi said. And what the progressives said. Do a minimal amount of research, and it's all there plain as day for anyone to see. The only thing that is shocking in all of this is how much the political press is shocked by developments that should have been completely expected all along.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


19 Comments on “Why Is Everyone So Shocked That Biden Did Exactly What He Said He Was Going To Do?”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    This is exactly the kind of MSM foolishness that pisses off many lefties. I mean, I looove Rachel Maddow, but from time to time I wonder if she and MSNBC (owned by General Electric, hint hint) exist to take the edge off of Progressivism.

    Started especially suspecting that after they fired Ed Schultz (requiescat in pace) and Keith Olbermann (very much alive. (1:58)

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    On an unrelated matter, the Repugs are blocking the debt limit vote via Filibuster.

    Never waste a crisis is good advice,, so why not march Congress right up to the brink of World economic meltdown...and use that to force fucking Manchin and Sinema to finally dump the Filibuster?

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Sunday Night Dance Party Theme deman-- er, request:

    The Blues

    Hosanna, Board Mother, Hosanna!

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    ...cuz I know all kinds of tasty Blues tunes!

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Next Sunday night will be the CW Sunday Night BluesFest!

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Caddy, did you ever see the movie Elevator to the Gallows?

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You would love the score ...

  8. [8] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Nope, but as you're recommending it maybe I can find it on YouTube.

  9. [9] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I'm counting on you to expose me to some Canadian Bluesmiths just like you've turned me on to PRiSM, April Wine and the like. (Okay, I already knew April Wine, but only a couple their songs.)

    I DO appreciate it that you figured out how to post the song titles because I've been known to pick a random Sunday and check out a couple of tunes.

  10. [10] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    And I can recommend the score from OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

  11. [11] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    HERE'S a little Comedic Video Interlude for the "need catch up on the headlines" crowd:

    The Pandora Papers Trevor Noah (7:04)

    Trump Defended "Toadstool" Penis Seth Meyers. Leave it to Seth to pair this lead story along with the main story…

    (wait for it…)

    Manchin and Sinema. Spot on.*smh*

    Last Week Tonight John Oliver -- with biting, yet hilarious Danny Devito BigChem ad takeoff. (28 and coin. And wall to wall, Baby)

  12. [12] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Careful, Kemosabe! Many natives are restless over Manchin and Sinema.

  13. [13] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    In answer to your question, to tell the truth I can't think of one time yet where I stopped enjoying the sight of

    MtnCaddy print, nope.

  14. [14] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Don't all speak out at the same time, or nothing. Harumph.

  15. [15] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Ladies and Gentlemen


    ...has left the you know what.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, my Caddy ... I've been suffering this evening ... pulled a muscle or something in my back and I can't find a confortable position ... so, I drank a little sambuca and, I'm feelin' less pain now, so ...

  17. [17] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Whoa, I'm sorry to hear that. SMongo have song feelings for Sambuco. Sambuco is Friend of Mongo, indeed.

    Although I am prescribed pain meds I prefer cannabis. Way less harmful side effects, like, almost none. No doubt it actually cuts pain for many, but not so for me. Rather, it makes my pain easier to negotiate with. And I'm a good negotiator. I recommend you take some right away, preferably via the fast acting smoking or vaping approaches. Edibles are wonderful but they take at least half an hour to kick in.

  18. [18] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Remember that you only need hold in the hot, poisonous smoke (er, maybe I'm a teensy little bit better at negotiating then sales) for three to five seconds. Exhaling out your nose captures a little more of the medicine on its way out and, more importantly, reduces the urge to cough your lungs off.

    Some know me as Cadillac. Some as MtnCaddy and yet others as Supreme TaxDoctor. Mayhaps I should add Supreme Weed Professor to my imaginary world of personal greatness, no?

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    G'Nite, Elizabeth Miller

Comments for this article are closed.