Putting the brakes on an impatient progressive faction
It’s no secret that some politicians are in a very big hurry to make government even bigger and more intrusive than it is today. The most forceful voices for the expansion are on the left, which traditionally has advocated for more government.
But what is often lost on those in a great big hurry to do something is the federal government was designed – and decades of rules and tradition have enshrined – to work slowly. The aim is simple: curtail the passions of factions and temporary majorities.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets the politics of acting now, while she and her fellow Democrats have the votes to do a lot (in the House, at least). But Ocasio-Cortez misses the larger point in these criticisms of Mr. Biden and his search for bipartisan agreement:
“During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock. It’s a hustle. We need to move now.”
Her comments come as progressives are increasingly impatient with President Biden and some centrist Democrats in the Senate who insist on reaching across the aisle on infrastructure and other legislative priorities.
“Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
It’s worth debating whether bipartisanship is a good thing (it’s usually not). But on the bigger issue, AOC’s rhetoric is exactly why the federal system is laced with checks, balances, rules, and procedures. Congress will pass legislation bearing the Biden imprint. But not everything Mr. Biden wants, or the progressive faction demands, will pass. That’s by design, and for the Republic’s long-term good. Beltway denizens of all partisan stripes and factions would be wise to remember that.