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Tags: politics | left | right

Will Biden Checkmate Both the Lunatic Fringe Left and the Reactionary Right?

chessboard with only a king piece standing

Ralph Benko By Monday, 12 April 2021 11:44 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

As I recently wrote here, Joe Biden is now advocating politically toxic tax hikes. He’s also pushing a feckless “infrastructure" bill that is only about 4% infrastructure. Conservatives, clutch your pearls!

Yet it's not what it seems. Biden is playing political chess, rather than, as we’ve seen recently, tiddlywinks.

Give Biden credit for avoiding Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) lunatic fringe wealth tax. Praise his avoidance of raising the top income tax rate to nosebleed rates as hinted at by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). He’s evaded future-NYC-Mayor Andrew Yang’s sly effort to slip a hefty Value Added Tax into the price of everything. And, so far, Biden’s dodged the left’s politically suicidal carbon tax.

Shrewd of Biden to be hippie-punching corporations, unsympathetic victims. Hard for working stiffs like me to get incensed about amorphous transnational entities raking in billions of dollars a year while paying a pittance in taxes.

Hiking death taxes? Hey, dead people vote only in Chicago. That’s already solidly Democratic.

So, yes, I get the political calculus.

But … tax hikes, even these, are toxic policy.

The evidence is that Biden knows better.

What’s he really up to?

Big reveal: by proposing to "tax the rich” Biden keeps his left wing from bolting. Confident that he will fail to get most of these little monstrosities actually enacted he calculates that he won’t pay an exorbitant political price at the polls.

The hard left considers Biden to be, at minimum, expendable and presumptively an Enemy of the People for his long centrist political career. The small, yet adored by the Establishment media, disproportionately influential lunatic fringe of the Democratic Party would sacrifice Biden to the revolution. With pleasure!

The Democratic Party’s Bolshevik Wing would gleefully pocket such immediate victories as can be rammed through this narrow window of Democratic control and devil take the hindmost from the loss of the House and the Senate in 2022 … and the White House in 2024. Fanatics will be fanatics. They’re playing the long game.

Joe Biden knows this. Biden is embracing what would be politically costly, perhaps politically fatal, measures such as tax hikes and a $2.1trillion “infrastructure” plan that’s actually 96% preposterous progressive pork to hold his left flank. Why?

Mystery solved! Annie Linskey, Jeff Sein and Ashley Parker recently gave away the game in a Washington Post article headlined "How Joe Biden tamed the left – at least for now."

"Joe Biden launched the early months of his presidency with a one-two combination that’s gone a long way toward taming the party’s restive left wing: Listen a lot, and back many of the policies that activists have long wanted.

"The embrace of sweeping liberal ideas is dramatic — with about $2 trillion in coronavirus relief spending passed and another $2 trillion in infrastructure spending proposed, along with new taxes focused on wealthy individuals and companies to help pay for this and additional spending."

I have the unfair advantage of having worked in a White House’s Executive Office of the President. Most of the White House policy staff spends all day asking just one four-word question over and over. “How will this look?”

Welcome to democracy!

A president, to govern, has to be able to “read the room,” to anticipate how powerful factions are going to react to proposed programs, actions or symbolic gestures. How will your party’s activist base react? Your party’s regulars? Donors? The other team? How will this and that committee chairperson and party leader react? The various media? The leaders of factions in business, civic and religious leadership? Even … us voters?

Consider the famous story about Clinton White House heavyweight James Carville saying, “I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody."

Fundamental to governing America toward the center left Biden must keep his fractious party’s base faithful. Biden knows how to strike a pose of enthusiastic solidarity with his left wing, keeping his base united. And he won’t pay a stiff price.

Biden can rely on the good Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to thwart toxic legislation, confident of a backup firebreak bulldozed by the great Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

The left’s most monstrous legislative darlings will die not at the hand of Biden but others. “It was not my knife!” Biden keeps his base intact while not getting punished by us voters for legislation never enacted.

As the fiendishly astute left wing bigfoot journalist Michael Tomasky recently observed, If Biden’s Senile Like They Say, Then Why’s He Running Circles Around the Right? The era of political tiddlywinks is over. Joe Biden, so far, looks on track to checkmate both the fanatical left and reactionary right.

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

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Biden is playing political chess, rather than, as we’ve seen recently, tiddlywinks.
politics, left, right
Monday, 12 April 2021 11:44 AM
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