The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Identity Defense, Again

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) speaks on Capitol Hill, December 1, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

As David Harsanyi and Rich Lowry noted on the Corner earlier today, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is facing accusations of racism and misogyny after announcing that he’ll vote against Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget.

This tactic is swiftly becoming Democrats’ only resource when defending Biden’s administrative selections and decisions. As I pointed out last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki routinely falls back on identity-politics rhetoric in lieu of answering substantive questions about the president’s policy aims.

“I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that [the president] is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly,” Psaki said, when asked whether Biden would undo the Mexico City policy, which forbids federal funding of abortions overseas.

“I’m also happy to repeat that we have the first female Treasury secretary and a team that’s surrounding her and often questions about markets,” Psaki told the press in response to a question about the administration’s approach to stock-market activity during the GameStop news cycle.

“First and foremost, he nominated a woman to lead the Small Business Administration, who formerly worked there,” Psaki said in reply to a Twitter user who asked how Biden will address the concerns of small businesses.

Neither Biden’s Catholicism nor the gender of the Treasury and SBA heads has anything remotely to do with the policy issues at stake — just as Neera Tanden’s race and gender have nothing whatsoever to do with Joe Manchin’s decision to oppose her nomination. With regular assists from the media, Democrats are being permitted to drown out substantive criticism by shouting that their critics are bigots.

Recommended

The Latest