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.