Ben Boyce


The Biden presidency heads into the iceberg  

Posted on December 3, 2021 by Ben Boyce

The yearlong slow and painful whittling down of the initially ambitious Build Back Better bill – which at full strength could have saved Biden from the impending midterm demolition by providing quick material benefit to millions of stressed, precarious households – now hangs by a thread. By the time this article appears, the Senate may have voted on the bill, but it is unlikely to survive the centrist Democrats’ Mansinema wrecker faction.

 Whatever shriveled remnant of the bill that’s left will not stop the political bleeding. If even a 1% milk version manages to squeak by in the Senate, the political damage is irreversible. The months of low-grade political theater, bargaining endlessly with bad faith GOP counterparts, and a general aura of impotent incompetence hang over the Democratic Party like a familiar stench.

The predicted midterm massacre of the slender Democratic majority looks almost inevitable..

 The historical trend of a first-term midterm shellacking has only been bucked when a President, like FDR, delivers the goods for the working class. The current crop of Democratic leadership shows no signs of having that level of political imagination. 

 The national Democratic leadership is fumbling the ball, again, thereby effectively ending the Biden presidency. Young leftists that I correspond with are convinced that the whole spectacle demonstrates that the Democratic Party is the designated loser in a WWE-style kabuki theater that is always won by the party who best represents the interests of capital at that moment.

 The thing that I find most amusing is how hard the MSM outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times are trying to sell the ever-shrinking reconciliation infrastructure package to progressives as a “transformational agenda.” It was disqualified for that appellation as soon as Sen. Sanders’ original $6T bill (which would have been big enough for the average citizen to feel the difference) was arbitrarily cut in half by Joe Manchin. The Democrats are duplicating the error made by the Obama Administration. Spend half of what is needed to succeed and then watch your party lose power. No learning curve.

 My nihilistic young lefty friends regard me as a sentimental old boomer who still believes in the fairy tale of representative democracy. This unsightly debacle is not making my case. They may be right.

 The bi-partisan infrastructure bill passed last week was the absolute bare minimum to upgrade our mid-20th century infrastructure to first-world status. While the U.S. bled out its wealth and prestige in ill-conceived wars in the deserts of the Middle East, China was building up the best national infrastructure in the world. Neoliberal capitalism has no answer. They are constitutionally incapable of thinking beyond their own narrow self-interest.

 Finally, on the local front the SDC project, on which many smart people have spent years preparing detailed planning options, has endured weeks of bad press due to a remarkably poor decision by the hired consultants to do a crank-magnet public Zoom session. I would have done the community outreach job by mailing out forms to vote on the three options they preferred. Bad move.


5 thoughts on “The Biden presidency heads into the iceberg  

  1. These are spot on observations about the state of our country and SDC. In some ways they are really about the same thing, our inability to face reality. As the earth heats up and is being destroyed we need bold changes to save it and our selves. But, the business as usual people in charge can not and will not change, they can not face reality that big changes must happen and happen fast. They label them selves progressives and pat themselves on the back on what great things they have done. On the local level we see words like “boutique hotel” used to describe another useless over developed destination for rich tourists and more wealthy home owners. Attending these SDC meetings over the past couple of years is painful, hearing lies and spin over and over again to justify business as usual, while our local leaders tell us how progressive they are.

  2. Well, after reading this issue, I’m surprised that more people have not commented on my SDC take. For the record, just because you participated in the Permit Sonoma Zoom call. There are smart people with way more money and social status than me who are deeply engaged in alternative proposals. I’m too broke to play at that high-roller table, so I leave it to the players who have a big stake in the outcome.

    From my vulgar Marxist economistic perspective, the ideal plan would be a high-end retreat resort surrounded by high-density workforce housing, with ecologically designed wildlife corridors, dedicated via mandated developer subsidy for the big staff required to run it. That’s my two cents worth of visioning for the SDC project.

  3. “For the record, just because you participated in the Permit Sonoma Zoom call does not necessarily mean that you are a crank”

  4. The National Democratic Leadership gave us NAFTA! Also, deregulation of Wall Street! I have a hard time deciding who was more destructive of the Middle Class!. Reagan or Clinton! Power is concentrated among the billionaires! The Democratic National Leadership spends too much time in Los Angeles, New York and Nantucket. They should drive around the Mid West and see all the hollowed out formerly prosperous towns gutted by off shoring, mergers and union busting! Toledo anyone?

  5. With regard to SDC, I bought my Sonoma condo in 2012. At first, it was fun! I could walk to the Plaza and and taste wine until, it was time to stagger home! I liked walking all over Sonoma! I made many local friends! But gradually, I learned about the other side! The exodus of young people who couldn’t afford Sonoma! The invasion of cash buyers who bid up property! Gradually Sonoma has become a rich white ghetto! The most important people who make it so delightful can’t afford to live near where they work! The fun is gone!

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