The Current False Biden Narrative Making The Rounds

[ Posted Monday, November 8th, 2021 – 16:54 UTC ]

Republicans have never been particularly scrupulous about the fantastical political narratives they adapt in order to bamboozle the voters -- and that was even before the champion and master of lies came along and hijacked their party. Donald Trump may have driven the GOP to Crazytown, but it wasn't that far of a journey for them to take (to put this another way). Now conservatives in the media are attempting to do this again, and it really deserves some pushback.

Here is the emerging narrative, which has been fed by Republican resistance to both of President Joe Biden's big economic bills, and which got even more acute after the election returns came in last week: "Joe Biden ran as a moderate. He ran on bringing the country together and meeting in the middle. He didn't run to dramatically change the federal government or be F.D.R. or anything -- that's not what his voters were voting for." Instead, they'll tell you, Biden's voters were voting for an end to the chaos and destructiveness of the Trump era, but also merely to install a sort of caretaker president who would do nothing more than repair all the damage to our institutions of government that the Trump administration left in its wake. That's it. Nothing more -- just fix all the problems Trump left behind, get us back to where we were before, and the entire country could just move on and begin to heal.

The big problem with this narrative is that it is just not true. Not in the slightest. Joe Biden's two big bills -- the infrastructure bill now on his desk awaiting his signature and the Build Back Better bill still stuck in the congressional sausage-making -- were exactly what he ran on. In fact, they are now just a smaller subset of what he ran on. He was actually much more ambitious as a candidate.

Joe Biden didn't get elected "to be a moderate." He didn't get elected because the voters "didn't want him to do anything." That's just not true, no matter how many times conservative talking heads try to sell this false narrative.

The reason for their confusion, or (more like) the one kernel of truth they're trying to exploit, is that Joe Biden was sold to the Democratic base -- during the primary race for the party's nomination -- as being more moderate than most of the other people running. That much is true. Biden, for instance, refused to support the concept of "Medicare For All," instead saying we should build on Obamacare and add a public option. That was a more moderate position to take than the one taken by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But it was only "moderate" by comparison.

Think about it -- Biden hasn't pushed for the public option to be added to Obamacare since he became president because such a position is probably too radical to make it through Congress right now. What was relatively moderate in the Democratic primaries is now seen as too radical to have any chance of succeeding. But a whole lot of voters voted for Biden's approach. Indeed, it was one of the biggest issues in the primary -- the debate moderators brought it up in almost every single debate, often as the first subject of the night. The differences in the other candidates' stances were relatively minor (most of them did indeed support Medicare For All, and were unashamed to say it), but the difference between Biden and the rest was what the moderators wanted to explore -- over and over again, in fact.

To his credit, after he had secured the Democratic nomination, Biden continued to campaign on exactly the positions he had taken during the primaries. Sure, he had been pulled significantly to the left during the primaries -- Biden took several positions that he probably never would have if the other (more progressive) candidates hadn't been such a threat to him in the early races -- but he never really "tacked back to the center" in the general election campaign. He still ran on a very ambitious agenda. Biden had sensed something -- that due mostly to the pandemic, America was ready for some foundational changes and that he could indeed become the agent of that change if he won the White House. Biden might even eclipse the record of his former boss, Barack Obama. You could see the change in his thinking, in what he started to say to the voters, when he realized this.

Once again: he ran on being a transformative president. He did not run a campaign that essentially said: "Elect me and everything will go back to normal but nothing's going to change in any big way." He just didn't, no matter what conservatives would have you believe now.

Democrats should really push back on the false Republican narrative. Start circulating clips of Biden from the campaign, where he originally made the promises that are now coming to legislative fruition. "Look, see? He ran on this stuff!" That would be the best way to counter and debunk this falsehood.

The media have been trying to paint a picture of all the congressional infighting among Democrats as a simple story of "the reasonable moderates versus the wild-eyed progressive radicals." Because Biden is so obviously a moderate (to their way of thinking), of course he would side with the "moderates" in Congress. Lost in this ridiculous (and incorrect) oversimplification was the fact that Biden was actually on the side of the progressives in the fight. Why shouldn't he be? They were the ones fighting hard to make Biden's campaign promises reality. The "moderates" were fighting to kill off as many of them as they could. So why on Earth would Biden side with them?

The Republicans are merely trying to pick up on this narrative and move it further along, really. Since, by their definition, Biden "is a moderate," then of course he would have to be against all this crazy socialist stuff coming from the Bernie Sanders-A.O.C. crowd. It neatly fits right in with the media's narrative on the sausage-making, after all.

The only problem with it all is that it is completely wrong. Biden didn't run to be some caretaker. He didn't run to be Gerald Ford, in other words. He might not have done so from the beginning of the primary campaign, but Joe Biden finished his general election campaign truly believing he might join both F.D.R. and L.B.J. in the pantheon of Democratic presidents who ushered in dramatic and foundational changes to the federal government that would benefit as many "average Joes" out there as possible. That is what he really ran on, and that's why millions of us voted for him. Sure, he "wasn't Trump" which probably motivated other voters, but the narrative of Biden's campaign being: "Elect me and I promise there will be no big changes" is just flat-out false.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


17 Comments on “The Current False Biden Narrative Making The Rounds”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:


    Good point, media-watching wise. And once again we wonder why 1) the media and 2) the Democrats don't call out Republican spin and BS for what it is, when it is directly contrary to documented facts.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    From the piece above,

    He did not run a campaign that essentially said: "Elect me and everything will go back to normal but nothing's going to change in any big way." He just didn't, no matter what conservatives would have you believe now.

    Don't even think about it! :)

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    John, do you want me to answer that? Heh. I mean, how many times do they have to learn and re-learn the same lesson, over and over and over, again??

  4. [4] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    A pretty good argument can be made for the idea that Biden did not really ever GET elected, but rather that Trump got UNelected!!

  5. [5] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:


    That would only be true if we were able to cast a vote AGAINST a candidate if we did not want to vote FOR a candidate. If I didn’t want to support Biden, but hated Trump, I could cast my ballot in opposition of Trump’s campaign and he would get a -1 vote while Biden’s numbers would not change.

  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Yep. I read that 70% of Joe's 80 million votes were against Trump. I was one of them.

  7. [7] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    2020. The "I'd have voted for a tuna fish sandwich" election.

  8. [8] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (2)-
    How could I not?

    So Joe Biden DIDN'T say "Nothing will fundamentally change." ?

    Still trying to put lipstick on the defecating pig?

    But thank you for an excellent example of a Deathocrat using a fantastical political narrative adapted in order to bamboozle voters.



  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Can't wait for parts two and three in this series when you explain how the Native Americans committed suicide and blacks volunteered to be slaves.

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Why would Biden side with the [alleged] moderates?

    Because he is following the script provided by the big money interests.

    You know, that return to normal that you touted over and over again until it became convenient to change the narrative for an article like this.

    What is wrong with you?

    If you are looking for someone to list Biden's campaign promises and compare that to what Biden is doing you should check out Jimmy Dore. He has done plenty of those.

    But some reason you only want to concentrate on the superficial attempts to bamboozle voters into thinking that Biden has kept some campaign promises.

    Shame on you.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Really. You hate Biden that much?

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Not surprised. Disappoionted but, not surprised. That is Biden's lot in life, after all ... :(

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "70% of Joe's 80 million", eh? Well, they wouldn't know a good thing if a good thing stepped up and slapped them upside their heads. Ahem.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    As they prove everytime a new poll comes out!

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, don't START ME UP! Heh.

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (13)-
    They deserve to be slapped upside their heads for letting Biden and the Deathocrats screw them in the ass.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Citizens cab cast a vote against candidates by writing in their own name.

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