Biden’s next year of paralysis


The first business day of 2022 and already Washington, DC has been paralyzed by snow. That doesn’t mean much, considering that half an inch is enough to stop things around these parts. As a kid growing up in Connecticut, I remember countless snowy mornings where I would get up early, walk down the stairs, light the lists, only to be devastated to learn that school had only been delayed by a half hour. Cut to DC, where they will be closing schools because it’s cold outside.

So it is happening in the capital of our nation in cold blood. And in fairness, the fact that many federal employees are still working from home has eased the paralysis somewhat. Yet a city needs to move in order to function, and this is where the literal achieves something figurative. Long after the snow has melted, 2022 promises to be a year of cold political paralysis. It is a dearth of good political ideas; it is due to a president who seems to get lost regularly on the stairs; but our policy right now seems about as frozen as an unsalted block on Independence Avenue.

Let’s start with the most obvious example, Build Back Better. Joe Biden’s federal shopping spree hit a legislative roadblock just before Christmas when Senator Joe Manchin announced that he could in no way back the $ 1.9 trillion package. And while I’m guessing BBB could still resurrect – remember how Democrats found a way to crash into Obamacare even after Scott Brown replaced Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts – it just doesn’t seem likely that a guy from Virginia -Western is about to come aboard with a huge package of anti-fossil fuels.

Build Back Better seems almost dead. And that means the president is unlikely to rack up another major national achievement. Today, the US government operates roughly like this: one party gains control of the White House and Congress; Knowing that this control will not last, they set to work cramming as many priorities as they can into one or two gigantic and clinically insane packages; these bills pass amid discordant yodelling on cable news; and the public recoils in horror and votes for a divided government halfway through.

For Barack Obama, that meant a stimulus package and Obamacare. For Donald Trump, this meant tax cuts. For Biden, that was meant to mean infrastructure and the BBB, except the latter has failed and those midpoints are getting closer and closer.

BBB’s failure forces a question: What is Biden supposed to do now? Manchin would be willing to negotiate again, but Democrats may not like those chances. Chuck Schumer wants to hold a vote on electoral reform – in which he intends to abolish the Red State’s anti-fraud laws in favor of early voting based on carrier pigeons or whatever – but Republicans will not budge not. A reform of the filibuster is envisaged again, but Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema are both opposed. The court packaging was mocked. Biden’s commitment to personally hand-deliver one and a half Covid test to every American is proving slow and inadequate.

When presidents are stranded at home, they sometimes cast their eyes overseas. Yet until now, Biden’s foreign policy doctrine has mainly consisted of having people in Kabul and Jen Psaki killed by spelling out the words “leadership” and “alliances” with Bananagram letters. I’m the first to admit that it’s not all Biden’s fault. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was negotiated by Donald Trump, and it was a good idea. Attempts to renegotiate the deal with Iran were poisoned by the previous administration’s withdrawal from that deal.

But that doesn’t change the fact that our foreign policy now appears muddled and lifeless. (And it’s not like the Republicans are much better. Faced with Russia’s plan to build its Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Ted Cruz’s new idea is… more sanctions! It will crash Moscow’s bulbs. .)

There is an idea, popular among libertarians, that the best form of government is blocked government, because if the bastards bicker constantly, it keeps them from making mistakes and coercing the rest of us. We’re about to find out just how true this adage is. There is little reason to hope for our coming hilarious annus that the federal government will get our country back on track. This might not be a good thing, but it does raise the question of how we are going to solve our many problems.

The answer, I think, is to look to the local and state levels. It includes innovations such as a grassroots parent movement seeking to improve education and push critical race theory out of public schools. America may be a more nationalized place than it was a century ago, but the usual clichés still apply: Politics is local, Members of Congress bring bacon home, politics is downstream of culture. With Washington frozen over, maybe it’s time we all rediscovered that old fondness for the little one and the near – and took a more neutral look.


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