Home Opinion OPINION: Biden’s obligation is to America, not Republicans

OPINION: Biden’s obligation is to America, not Republicans

As Democrats push to pass their agenda, Republicans are whining that Joe Biden promised bi-partisanship and they aren’t getting a say. Cry me a river.

The GOP has used whatever means necessary to either unilaterally block Democrats or ram through their agenda for the past decade. Now that Democrats appear to be playing hard ball, they are calling foul.

Biden ran on bringing the country together. He has said since the election that he wanted to unite the country and would reach out to Republicans in a bipartisan manner. He did not say that he would capitulate to the GOP. Democrats have an obligation to govern and fix the mess they were left by Donald Trump.

As I said in an earlier post, unity is not bipartisanship. We can unite the country around shared values and argue about the policies that uphold and promote them. With control of the White House and Congress, Democrats get to propose legislation, while Republicans can attempt to alter or block it. Otherwise, they get left out. That’s largely how the game is played. 

Biden has always been a bit naïve about bipartisanship. He yearns for a time when the country was less divided and the two parties more diverse. He served at a time when Republicans had northern liberals and Democrats had conservative Southerners. Those days are gone. 

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Congress today is shaped by Mitch McConnell’s scorched earth approach to legislating. He famously said that his goal as minority leader in 2009 was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. He rarely compromised and turned the filibuster into a routine legislative tool, instead of a procedure used on rare occasions. Then he scrapped it altogether to push through a Supreme Court nominee. He withheld Merrick Garland’s nomination for almost a year and jammed through Amy Coney Barrett’s in a few weeks, exposing his cynical approach to governing. On the heels of that record, Democrats in Congress should do what they believe is necessary to both relieve the country from the ravages of a pandemic and help the people who are suffering through the recession it caused.

We have a lot problems right now. Republicans caused many of them and allowed others to fester. They utterly failed to adequately address the coronavirus and they enabled anti-democratic conspiracy theorists to gain a foothold in their party, and now in our government. In other words, they had their chance and they blew it. They should spend their time trying to reel-in their seditious, conspiracy-addled right flank and taking back their party instead of appeasing them.

Democrats have an obligation to the American people to make government work again. They need to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.  They need to help people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and they need to pay for it by taxing the people who grew richer because they live off investments more than hard work. Bipartisanship is when Republicans get on board with that agenda and quit their obstructionism, not when Democrats start worry about offending them. 

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Mills spent 20 years as a political and public affairs consultant.