It’s a truism of American politics that, after milking your party base for every last vote during the election, you move to the center after winning to attract a broader base to serve as the basis for successful governing and to lay the groundwork for your re-election. That is exactly what the Republicans must block Biden from doing.
Biden may well want to adopt the strategy of triangulation, combining the best of each party and governing from the middle. But Republicans must echo the strategy that the Democrats forced Clinton to adopt in 1993-94 that cost them Congress and nearly cost Clinton a second term.
As he took office, Bill Clinton wanted to govern as a moderate. During his 199 campaign, he worked hard to establish that he was a “new Democrat” no longer following in the footsteps of Walter Mondale or Mike Dukakis. He criticized Sister Souljah, returned to Arkansas to preside over the execution of Rickey Ray Rector and deny his petitions for clemency, and he pledged to “end welfare as we know it.”
But, on talking office, the Democrats in Congress, led by Speaker Tip O’Neill made it clear that they expected him to govern as a liberal. They urged him to stay within the caucus and not even seek Republican votes. With a bi-cameral majority, they were like the football coach telling his quarterback to stay in the pocket, don’t scramble, and trust your offensive line to protect you.
I advised Clinton that the Democrats would not become his supporters as much as his jailers, making him their hostage. When Clinton proposed moderate programs like his anti-crime bill and economic stimulus, the liberals tacked on all sorts of leftist programs like funding midnight basketball courts in the inner city. They held up bills for increased and mandatory sentences to force the president to move further left on gun control.
After his defeat in 1994, costing him the majority in both Houses, Clinton began to see the error of his ways. “I had gotten so liberal, I didn’t recognize myself,” he said.
Only by deft maneuvering and incorporating large parts of the GOP agenda into his platform was he able to regain his posture as a moderate and win re-election.
That’s exactly what the Congressional Republicans must stop.
They should refuse to provide any votes to pass Biden programs. His thin House majority and the tied vote in the Senate will force him to move to appease the crazy left to get anything passed. No matter his initial inclination to moderation, ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter will force him to the left. The Congressional Black Caucus will echo their demands and, deprived of any Republican votes, he will be forced to do their bidding. Like Clinton, he will have to chase every minority and ultra liberal Democrat with a basket of goodies and leftist initiatives that will make him unacceptable to most Americans.
And he will lose Congress in 2022 and re-election in 2024 and the country will be able to pick up the Trump agenda where he had to leave it off.
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