The Squishy Sadness of the Last Moderate Republicans
It’s like they want a prize for not being Ted Cruz-level shitbirds. Guess what? You don’t get a prize for that, except to know in your heart that you’re not Ted Fucking Cruz.
You’d think that four years of rolling over for abuses of democracy might make the last moderate Republicans at least pretend to be a little sheepish about what they’re entitled to, but no. They’re triggered, so triggered that anonymous aides are making the rounds saying things like, “The administration roundly dismissed our effort as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy.”
Yes, Republicans are embracing bipartisanship now that they’ve lost the House, the Senate and the presidency. If Biden really cared about America, they’re whining, he’d give Republicans a few little wins like letting them chip away at the agenda that swept Democrats into power.
The senators who call themselves the G-10, elevating themselves to nation status, are real mad. That crew includes Lisa Murkowski, who voted with Trump 72.6 percent of the time and Mitt Romney, who voted with Trump 75 percent of the time. Rob Portman, who’s retiring, and Bill Cassidy, who did vote to impeach Trump after he led an armed insurrection at the Capitol so congratulations, I guess, for doing the bare minimum? And I guess the others—Shelley Moore Capito, Todd Young, Jerry Moran, Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Mike Rounds—consider themselves moderates because they didn’t try to overturn the election?
It’s like they want a prize for not being Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz-level shitbirds. Guess what? You don’t get a prize for not being Ted Cruz, except you get to know in your heart that you’re not Ted Fucking Cruz.
So these angry moderates don’t get points for not “tweeting it out” the way Trump and the mini-Trumps do and instead sending anonymous aides to whine on their behalf, like the one who told Vox, “Briefing senators on a fully baked package is not negotiating with them, it also doesn’t make what you’re pretending to sell them ‘bipartisan.’” She or he sounds very triggered.
“Everything they support is defined as either Covid relief or infrastructure, and everything they oppose is like… Jim Crow voter suppression and evil,” another or maybe the same aide whined to Politico. It’s just not fair that Democrats are messaging well on wildly popular infrastructure spending.
And, still another aide whined, it’s not fair of Biden to keep inviting these Republicans to the White House, the meanie. “When you go to the White House meeting you risk being used in a feigned attempt at bipartisanship. If you don’t go then it’s, ‘Oh, Republicans won’t even meet with me.’ It all pivots on whether it’s a genuine offer from the White House or just part of their messaging strategy.”
Here's the thing: Biden knows he can’t get 10 Republican votes, because there aren’t 10 sane Republican senators in a party that’s too broken and militantly partisan to have any interest in working for the American people in the first place, let alone doing so on behalf of a Democratic president. The idea that Capito of West Virginia, who voted with Trump 92.1 percent of the time, is going to sign on to Biden’s infrastructure bill is a fantasy. Put the other way, any bill that Capito would sign would be a disaster for Democrats.
And even if bipartisanship may be a nice idea in theory, if we learned anything from Obama’s eight years it’s that Republicans don’t want it. And Biden doesn’t need it, given that he’s got the House and (just barely) the Senate and is popular in a way Trump never was. Democrats like Biden (92 percent), independents do too (52 percent), and Republicans are too worried about the satanic sneakers and dumb culture war stuff to be a winnable group for Biden or anyone sane.
Past shoes, there's the new America First Caucus helmed by Marjorie “kicked off of her committee assignments” Taylor Greene, Paul “my siblings all hate me and campaign against me” Gosar and even Matt “the creep” Gaetz focused on “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and a return to an architectural style that “befits the progeny of European architecture.” They're not mad about the shoes, they’re mad about the buildings, and plain-old white supremacists who lack the courage to call that by its name. Or maybe even to start their caucus, which Greene started to walk away from less than 24 hours after Punchbowl News first reported on her plan.
If the G-10ers are OK being in the same party as this, maybe they aren't nearly as moderate, or as serious, as they like to pretend or have their aides whisper about on background.
As former Harry Reid staffer Adam Jentleson rweeted, “Republicans are unserious and there is simply no reason for Democrats to cut the bill by 60% or more. There’s a point where bipartisanship starts becoming entirely about vanity and posturing. Sacrificing results to bipartisan idolatry is that point.”
You can’t negotiate with a profoundly unserious party that was able to fit its entire platform on an index card. Bipartisanship is dead, and it was Republicans who killed it. The alleged GOP moderates whining about Biden might want to repair their own house first or consider finding a better one.