by Tiana Lowe · March 23, 2020
As every 77 year old in the country should be doing, Joe Biden is staying home. Since he all but clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, the country’s economy has crumbled thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, effectively shuttering political campaigning alongside every other industry in the country.
This shouldn’t be a problem for Biden. Even since his necessary pivot to treat the coronavirus with the seriousness it deserves, President Trump still can’t stop stoking the ire of the media and publishing tirades on Twitter. The chaos of the Trump administration in the coronavirus panic justifies the entire ethos of the Biden campaign, with the former vice president issuing mostly calm and confident videos reflecting on how the Obama administration handled Ebola and H1N1 and how the Biden administration would handle this pandemic.
Or at least it should justify the Biden campaign’s raison d’etre. Instead, congressional Democrats are squandering the opportunity, using a national nightmare to play partisan politics at the price of millions of livelihoods.
Unlike the 2008 financial crisis or any other burst bubble, the coronavirus is an outside force, a threat forcing the government to ask that all nonessential workers either work from home or forgo their paychecks. The nation has proved willing to take the immediate economic hit without any promises, but if the government wants to maintain the status quo for weeks or even months, workers and small businesses need immediate cash relief. This is a conclusion that has united the political spectrum from Mitt Romney to Bernie Sanders and manifested itself in the Senate Republicans’ imperfect but necessarily broad relief package.
But after a week of bipartisan discussions, congressional Democrats have tried to nuke the bill, denying direct cash payments to the overwhelming majority of the nation and small businesses. And now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is out with her own bill, a Trojan Horse of a socialist Christmas list disguised as an emergency aid package.
As businesses shutter around the country and workers struggle to make their final paycheck for the foreseeable future last long enough to feed their children, Pelosi produced her own crisis bill that would bail out the U.S. Postal Service, provide $10,000 student loan bailouts, and demand that companies accepting federal aid offer $15 minimum wage and permanent paid leave.
The entire thesis of the Biden campaign goes something as follows: Trump is a uniquely partisan president who engages in trollery and trickery unbecoming of the White House. Joe Biden, contrarily, is a respected statesman with a documented history of working across the aisle. If you want a president who doesn’t tank the stock market with vile tweets, or even one who doesn’t force the nation to obsess over the federal government, vote for Barack Obama’s (former) BFF.
Biden can sell that message, and as his primary proved, he does so effectively. But the rest of his caucus cannot. It’s one thing for Democrats to try and tank openly bipartisan bills like Trump’s criminal justice reform legislation or even impeach him during a time of peace and prosperity. It’s entirely another to sabotage a week of negotiations in the hopes of passing the discount Green New Deal while laid-off workers wonder how they’ll pay their water bill next month.
Joe Biden may value bipartisanship, and we already saw the Obama administration rise to the occasion and work with Republicans when crises arose. But the rest of the Democratic Party isn’t playing Uncle Joe’s game, and the voters who gave Democrats the House in 2018 are seeing the evidence in a horrifying, real-time display.
Washington Examiner · by Tiana Lowe · March 23, 2020