Joe Biden became the Democrats’ nominee by projecting a “milder” agenda than the balance of the Democratic primary field. His party barely squeaked out a victory against a President who failed to capitalize on the various policy successes of his term, imploded on a debate stage, and presented, down the critical home stretch, the Democrats with a basketful of gifts. Squeaked, despite massive assistance from the media and from the tech titans. Squeaked, in that his party lost seats in the House. Squeaked, because the only reason they took the Senate because of Trump’s disgraceful post-election antics.

A political prognosticator would read all this as tacit endorsement of at, the very least, a desire for moderate/centrist governance, and rejection of the aggressive agenda endorsed by the likes of Sanders and Warren. A representative of the American people would get a message: We don’t like Him-Who-Shall-No-Longer-Be-Named, but we don’t want to deviate too far from the policies of the past few years.

Message, ignored.

Biden has been running amok with executive orders advancing a far-left agenda that covers environmental matters, energy policy, social policy, labor policy, regulatory policy, and anything else his staff can think of. The Democrats are advancing legislation limiting liberties, growing government, and paying off every special interest group whose palm asked to be greased. Oh, and screwing with the electoral system in order to give them even more structural advantages.

All this has been abetted by the Capitol Hill riot debacle, the greatest possible parting gift the Democrats could have received, but I now suspect it wouldn’t matter if that protest didn’t even happen. This is a “try and stop us” government, cramming every leftist wish down the maw of the American populace.

From a cynic’s perspective, it’s likely to work. The best that the rest of us can hope for is that the Dems lose Congress in the mid-terms as a result of all this excess. But, even if that comes to be, all that they’ve done will remain in place, Biden will still be able to EO to his heart’s content, and nothing could be undone unless and until a Republican President wins in 2024. The only check on all this will be the judiciary, and even there the Democrats may be figuring that a combination of intimidation and packing (already, Schumer wants to add justices to the lower ranks to offset Trump and McConnell’s filling of many vacant seats) will offset some slap downs.

As for the “good of the country?” Very little of this agenda will do “the country” any good. Not the war on energy, not the regulatory frenzy, not the passel of anti-business initiatives, not the social-justice agenda, not the crazy spending, not the killing of the oil and gas industry, not the massive minimum wage hike, and certainly not what Reason refers to as the “slide toward elective monarchy”. The connected will do very well, the wealthy-woke will bask in endorphin-rush, and the Twitter loons will continue their savagery. The rest of the country, in the meantime, will chafe and seethe. They’ll be see past the blatant lie of “Biden the Unifier,” and the division and divisiveness that have been the reality of the nation for pretty much the entirety of the 21st century will only get worse.

Some progressives are waking up to the corrosive effects of this lunacy. Matt Taibbi, a bona-fide lefty, has been railing against cultural authoritarianism for some time, and former NYTimes editor Bari Weiss, who resigned therefrom with a scathing public critique, is now counseling us on how to resist the demands of the woke-mob. Unfortunately, I doubt they or any other big progressive voices will speak against this policy left-lurch, or against the anti-democratic behavior of the Democratic Party. Tribalism is self-reinforcing, and those who try to lead others from it are more apt to be dubbed heretics and apostates than as messiahs, and cast out rather than followed.

What happens next? Where do we go from here?

Where we should go is very different from where we will go.

A decade ago, liberal columnist Thomas Friedman wished that…

…we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment.”

Well, guess what? Friedman is getting his wish, and not just for a day. Biden is behaving more like a strongman, a la Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin, than president. He’s building on the “tradition” built by his predecessors. While Executive Orders have been part of governance since Washington, and their scope and “aggressiveness” have varied widely across the decades, their use has become more brazen and autocratic with each of the last few administrations. Congressional fecklessness has been a big driver of this phenomenon, with its abdication of actual legislating in favor of giant omnibus bills that invest ever more power and discretion into the bureaucracies.

Guess who sits at the top of those bureaucracies?

What should happen is Congress reclaiming its legislative authority, writing and voting on individual laws. What’s far more likely, instead, is that the President, whomever it happens to be, will continue running the nation via pen-and-phone, with the voters’ voices limited to a binary choice every four years.

And liberty will be the first casualty.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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