One of the more entertaining parts of the 2020 election was watching all the different factions within the Democratic Party proudly proclaim Joe Biden’s allegiance to them and their cause.
Yet, while Biden was happy to allow them all to think that he was on their side, and indeed he put out many conflicting talking points, it is almost impossible to say what he actually stands for. Indeed, if you asked 100 people what the president’s ideology is, you’d get 100 different answers.
This is in fairly sharp contrast to almost every single one of his predecessors.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you’d be hard pressed to say that Trump, Obama, Bush, or Clinton didn’t have firm ideologies. Despite breaking campaign promises and coming out with a few unexpected actions, it wasn’t a secret what each of those respective administrations wanted to accomplish. When viewed in that vein, most of their actions weren’t surprising at all.
So, while Obama might not have been as progressive as some would have liked, or Trump not as conservative, it’s hard to say that either of them seriously betrayed the principles they campaigned on.
Yet the case of the current White House occupant is much more difficult to assess.
Indeed, his campaign centered solely around the fact that he wasn’t Donald Trump rather than some central principles.
Take for example, his commitment to cancel student loan debt. That promise of big government action was made by the same person that so heavily backed a 2005 Wall Street bill which stripped students of bankruptcy protections, under the guise of “letting capitalism work”.
The was also the fact that he happily championed causes of social justice despite having a very questionable track record on race, something his current vice president even called him out for during the primary.
So, over the course of his career he has been both a racist and anti-racist. He has been both in the pocket of Wall Street and a crusader against them.
It’s then worth asking where his true loyalties lie.
Most of the outrage against President Biden since he took office has come from the left. Indeed, nearly every large promise he made in order to entice progressives to vote for him has already been broken. $2000 checks turned into $1400 (assuming they ever get passed). Immigrant children are still being separated from their families. And there is already military action in the Middle East.
Indeed, it would appear that it’s back to business as usual in America and who better to do it than the person that has made himself available to advance the interests of the oligopoly since the 1970s.
In 1994 he wrote a crime bill that significantly increased the number of incarcerated minorities. Then he spent the last decade denouncing the number of incarcerated minorities.
In 1995 he wrote the bill which became the Patriot Act. Then he spent a big chunk of his vice presidency decrying the domestic surveillance system he helped create.
He dedicated 2002 to advancing Bush’s agenda in Iraq only to denounce it in 2008 while running for president. Only to again support further intervention in the Middle East while vice president.
While the overarching theory that describes his actions is neoliberalism, he never presented himself as one in elections. In fact, his persona in elections borders on being progressive and he has been known to occasionally toss the progressives a bone.
At the end of the day though, his actions are indicative of a man who is only truly out to serve himself and his lust for power.
Seen in this light, the chatter from progressives thinking that they can push him to the left is absolutely laughable. Biden has a 50-year track record that suggests he is not someone to carefully consider a matter and make a judgement based on well hewn personal morals.
Rather, he is the type of person who will make the decision that best serves his own interests, which are typically intertwined with those of his financial backers or some other power source he needs to please at the time.
Now, while politicians being owned by special interests is nothing new, it is rare to find one who is such a faithful servant to so many of them yet also able to present himself as somehow a man of the people.
Indeed, contrasting with the fairly evident ideologies of his predecessors, it remains a mystery how Biden will behave going forward. Bush came into office as a blatant conservative. Meanwhile, no one was surprised when Obama pushed big government and social causes. Even Trump was reliably populist in most of his actions.
Yet, without knowing what the oligopoly position is on China, it’s hard to guess what Biden’s policy will be on that country, or if it will even remain the same throughout his presidency. Likewise, he has offered almost no guidance on even basic things relating to coronavirus.
Although this is all in keeping with the approach he’s has throughout his whole career. One of waiting until the last possible moment to see which way the winds of his donors are blowing before making a decision.
Thus, we can all sit back, relax, and wait to watch the show unfold. As for the progressives and their wishes to push him to the left, it would appear that their only prayer is to somehow come up with a ridiculous amount of money with which to entice him, otherwise they can say goodbye to all the hopes and dreams they pinned to him when they voted in 2020.
Would you be willing to bet money on the direction of Biden's policy towards eviction moratoriums?