Some people say Joe Biden is a moderate, but I’m not convinced.
It’s true that Biden doesn’t fit the radical mould. He doesn’t have Bernie Sander’s raspy voice; he doesn’t throw tantrums like Elizabeth Warren; he doesn’t gesticulate on Instagram like AOC or calm the world’s fears like Pete Buttigieg. He smiles like your grandfather. He looks like a moderate.
It’s also true that some of Sleepy Joe’s failures (such as the Afghanistan withdrawal) have more to do with incompetence than with radicalism. And Biden isn’t as radical as some of his colleagues. While Chuck Schumer wants to cancel college debt at an alarming rate of $50,000 per head, the President won’t ask Congress for more than $10,000 per student. Even here, though, Biden’s position looks extreme. $10,000 is a lot of money, especially since the administration keeps haemorrhaging dollars and cents (this year's federal budget adds up to 6.011 trillion, 25.6% of U.S. GDP). Schumer’s radicalism doesn’t make Biden moderate. It just makes Schumer more radical than Biden.
Overall, despite the grandfatherly smile, Joseph Biden is a radical. And the radicalism began during his first days in office, with immigration reform. On 20 January 2021, the new President halted work on the border-wall, even though Congress hadn’t used up its budget, and proposed issuing green cards to illegal aliens under the age of eighteen. Then, on 19 February 2021, the administration began helping ‘eligible individuals’ seek asylum—including migrants who had already returned to Mexico under the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP). Biden’s policies have spawned predictable results: 1.6 million attempts to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021. That’s four times the number in 2020, and the highest yet in U.S. history.
Meanwhile, Biden has suggested radical changes to the American system. He’s called on Congress to abolish the filibuster (an historic procedure requiring a two-thirds majority to pass most Senate bills), and his logic is explicitly partisan. ‘Let the majority prevail,’ he declared in early January. ‘And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.’ Biden has also meddled with the third branch of government, creating a Commission to study the Supreme Court, from its ‘membership and size’ to its ‘selection, rules, and practices.’ To any American who values the separation of powers, such a Commission looks pretty suspect.
But the President’s meddling extends to citizens, too. Biden overstepped his constitutional authority back in November, when he slapped together an OSHA mandate dictating that businesses with 100 or more employees either vaccinate their workers or require expensive weekly testing. The Supreme Court stayed the rule, concluding that ‘for at least five reasons, OSHA exceeded its power under this provision when it promulgated the Vaccine Mandate.’ Biden wasn’t protecting the Constitution; he was bending it for his own partisan purposes.
More recently, Biden put together a Disinformation Governance Board, headed by Nina Jankowicz—a Wilson Center 'disinformation fellow' who worked to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election. The DHS claimed that the board was benign and nonpartisan, focused on Russian misinformation and on threats to national security and election security. But election security is a slippery term, and partisan agents could easily twist such language to mean whatever they like. The Disinformation Board scared Americans, and Biden almost immediately paused the initiative.
But Biden isn’t just pursuing radical policy; he’s also promoting radical Left-wing ideology.
According to the President, today’s United States is rife with systemic racism. ‘We face an attack on democracy and on truth,” he declared in his inauguration address. ‘Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism.’ Around the same time, he praised America’s youth for ‘forcing us to confront systemic racism and white supremacy,’ and called the nation ‘morally deprived.’ ‘I ran for president because I believe we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation,’ Biden told the American people. ‘And the simple truth is, our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist.’ Two months later, he urged, ‘We must change the laws that enable discrimination in our country, and we must change our hearts.’ And after Derek Chauvin’s conviction in April 2021, Biden concluded, ‘Systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul.’ From his first days in office, the President has mouthed the radical talking point that racism lies at the heart of American republicanism.
Biden also supports radical views on abortion. Instead of condemning the Left’s cries for abortion-on-demand, he has affirmed Leftist outrage. ‘I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental,’ the President declared, responding to the leaked Supreme Court decision. ‘At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.’ Whatever Biden actually believes about abortion (anyone who talks about ‘choos[ing] to abort a child’ should rethink either his phrasing or his position), the President has chosen to speak like a radical Leftist.
I don’t know, though. Maybe Biden doesn’t actually believe what he says about race and abortion. Maybe he doesn’t really want rampant immigration. Maybe he doesn’t want to destroy the American constitutional system. Maybe he really is a moderate, but finds himself continuously yanked Leftwards by the famous ‘They’ who tell him what to do behind the doors of the White House.
Whatever the case, I wish—for his sake and for ours—that after this term Mr. Biden would retire to Delaware for a long-overdue vacation with his grandchildren.
Image Source: Creative Commons, Michael Stokes