Although Politico’s flagship product, Playbook, is still recovering from Ben Shapiro’s problematic guest appearance a couple weeks back, today’s iteration of the morning newsletter still managed to scrounge together some interesting quotes from a longtime Biden aide, who remains unnamed. Per the aide, the White House’s decision to move forward with a reckless $1.9 trillion relief package instead of pursuing a less frivolous bipartisan bill, runs counter to Biden’s instincts. Noting the harsh tone of the statement Biden issued on the Republican proposal, the advisor mused that “I think it sounded more like Ron Klain than Joe Biden.” Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, is reportedly still bitter over Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act a decade ago, and his governing philosophy was warped by the experience. Politico’s source explained “Ron has this whole thing: ‘Remember how they rat-f—ed us on the ACA!,’” the expletive standing in for “disagreed with.”
One of the Trump campaign’s favorite attacks on Biden was that he would be a Trojan horse for socialism. Neither Biden’s affect nor his record lent itself to this message. What is true is that Biden is susceptible to having his back-slapping instincts overridden by the technocratic partisans he’s surrounded himself with. Partisans who are irrationally vexed by any pushback on their agenda, and who believe any such pushback to be obstructionism for obstructionism’s sake.
Biden may not be Bernie Sanders with a grin, but his is likely to be the Vox.com presidency, and any illusions of “unity” or a return to regular order in Congress should be discarded after his outright rejection of a good-faith effort at bipartisanship.