Joe Biden is carving out his place in our history books, but it’s not the marble bust that he envisions. Opinion setter Axios today featured a readout of conversations President Biden is currently having with historians as he ponders pushing America into a fourth constitutional age. Biden was reportedly encouraged by the consensus of friendly historians to keep his foot on the gas pedal, as he intends “to go even bigger and faster than anyone expected” in what will essentially be the next New Deal. They tell us Biden feels buoyed by poll numbers in support of his initiatives and provided the mandatory warning from Minority Leader McConnell in defense of the inconvenient filibuster, but no other discussion of the risks involved. The above pattern has been repeated for the past 60 days or so by media figures. They mention Biden’s willingness to change the rules to make the minority party irrelevant, polls that avoid any mention of the payment mechanisms required to afford these plans, and then a cursory mention of Mitch and no other conservative politicians.
Here’s what they fail to mention as it dawns on each of us what these people are talking themselves into: this is extremely reckless. What Joe Biden is considering – with the slimmest majority in a generation – will quite literally risk our federal union. That point bears repeating, the union may not bear this aggression. Let that start sinking in. That he is considering avoiding the task of building consensus and jamming through the most aggressive changes in 60 years with the weakest majority position possible should tell you where we are headed: nowhere good.
Republicans are still playing catch up to the torching of our remaining institutions that is on its way. The president of the United States’ corporate allies have censored the man who would be his loudest critic and presumed head of the opposition party. Let that sink in, and let it sink in while troops are on active duty in our federal capital and major telecommunications companies like Twitter and Google stamp out other voices of the opposition party when they get out of line. This demands mobilization. We need a peaceful march on the Mall – troops or no troops – and soon. We can not be the generation that allows America to fall into this trap, and we can’t let Biden hear only approving Nods in a room full of sycophants and party activists. That echo chamber is more deafening that most outside Washington realize.
George W. Bush faced protests of 100,000 plus in the U.S. and Europe. Barack Obama’s abandonment of bipartisan consensus yielded a national outrage at town halls across the country and a peaceful and effective mass movement that elected dozens of legislators. Donald Trump faced immediate and widespread protests before signing a single piece of legislation. It’s now past sixty days into the Biden administration and the opposition is already behind the curve. There is plenty of tea to be thrown in the harbor.
Never forget that Biden can’t accomplish any of this via our regular rules. One party has simply decided to take every issue we’ve been arguing about for thirty years and ram through their preferred solutions. They consider not only changing the rules of the Senate, but how we conduct the very elections that will keep them in power to see this through. It may take the sweep of history for them to realize how destabilizing that is in a country not long removed from widespread riots in major cities and a storming of the capitol building, but we’ll have bigger problems by the time they figure it out.
America’s first constitutional order, the one reviled by so many of our countrymen, was replaced by a new deal between citizen and state. That second constitutional order saw a third as direct deposits and grants would supposedly transform us into the Great Society they envisioned. Here now we stand at the precipice of a fourth constitutional age, every formational or significant experience – from pre-K to college, to the medicine you take, to the conversations and gatherings that you have – will be directly funded or policed by the federal government and its proxies. Never forget that this new order depends on control. Debt and an outdated degree of freedom are the cost, if that sounds hyperbolic remember that we’re still waiting on Joe to tell us whether or not we can celebrate 4th of July.
Much political commentary these days wants to convince you to be shocked and alarmed, a stance easy to mock. This time around though: you probably aren’t alarmed enough. This is actually the one. In this great era of political warfare, these are the battles that will determine the next thirty years. They’ve embraced that already, we’ve been slow to catch up. Reagan’s legacy has been buried, but something bigger is at hand than even that. Where is our Resistance?