President Biden’s first SOTU proves he hasn’t forgotten the moderate majority.
For Joe Biden and other hard-working Democrats like him, the Curse of the Moderates is alive and well and plaguing both houses of the U.S. government.
A really good moderate Democrat is always too conservative for the progressives in the party; too progressive for the conservatives. Doing a par job, even hitting one out of the park often leaves Democrats on both ends of the party spectrum grumbling darkly about turncoats, primary challenges and term limits.
That is to say nothing of appealing across the aisle.
Conservative Republicans aren’t likely to vote Democrat, no matter how many so-called “conservative” ideals are touted by sensible moderates like Biden. Some progressive Republicans- like Sens. Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney- may often cross the picket lines of bitter partisanship to support worthwhile Democratic Party endeavors.
Even moderate Republicans aren’t above working with Democrats on shared goals; happens all the time on Capitol Hill. Hardly anything gets done in Washington without some level of bipartisanship. That doesn’t mean everyone is exactly happy about it.
No one likes having to compromise.
Being a Democratic Party moderate means that you’re only really doing a good job when no one thinks you’re doing a good job.
When and the most vocal members of the party are condemning you to the rafters for betraying progressive principles and the Blue Dog Democrats are screaming about their purple districts, the unsung moderate mediator is almost half way there.
It’s the ultimate Catch-22; you can only win by losing. Moderates can only win by accepting the fact that, as a wise man once said: “You can accomplish anything as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”
This isn’t a popularity contest and good governance, including hammering out compromise between right and left, is more important than approval ratings.
Still, it isn’t exactly fair. And Democrats, thanks to their “allies” in the media, bear the brunt of it.
For Democrats, working with Republicans means incensing the hard-left progressive base, a never-slumbering giant always ready to spring to life and ignite a twitterstorm of bad PR. For Republicans, the same is true; compromising with Democrats means push-back from more conservative members of the party.
Now that the titans of Silicon Valley have seen fit to deprive the world of former-President Donald Trump’s Twitter megaphone- a favor for which a not insignificant number of Republicans are secretly grateful- moderate Republicans are shielded from the brunt force of the conservative base’s discontent. They are also now free of the unenviable position of having to defend Trump’s latest rude tweet in their home districts.
Controversial Republicans- Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Matt Gaetz, even Sen. Tom Cotton- can barely get any traction at all in the mainstream and are following Trump into oblivion. They have already been de-platformed, shadow-banned, slapped with warning labels, de-monetized, and relegated to niche conservative news networks to the point that most average voters don’t hear a word they say.
The Silicon Valley giants and media companies, in their infinite wisdom, think they aren’t doing Republicans a favor by keeping a lid on the Republican Party’s loose cannons, but these well-meaning media gatekeepers are wrong.
Since only progressive/moderate Republicans are getting any airtime in the mainstream these days- if that- the Republican Party is increasingly being perceived as moderate, united and sensible.
On the left, the opposite is true.
In the media’s haste to hand the most extreme members of the Democratic Party the largest microphones- out of a sense a loyalty to progressive ideals no doubt- it has created the illusion that the Democratic Party is dominated and controlled by the furthest left progressive elements.
This outsize perceived influence of hard-left progressives on the Democratic Party is a byproduct of the corporate media machine. Deprived of their primary ad revenue driver Donald Trump, networks love to platform the latest new cultural flashpoint like it’s a fashion craze.
Social security, medicare and American manufacturing jobs aren’t the kinds of storylines that sell newspapers.
Unfortunately for advertisers, media companies and ad-click journalism in general, those are exactly the types of kitchen-table issues Americans really care about. Boring things like jobs, the economy, energy prices, health care.
President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last night demonstrated his keen understanding of that reality. His speech was a much-needed dose of reality, an antidote to a worldview skewed by corporate media.
Republicans expected President Joe Biden to sound like AOC. When he didn’t- sounding more like Donald Trump at some points talking about border security, buying American and funding the police- it must have come as quite a surprise.
Progressive Democrats expected Joe Biden to impersonate AOC, too; they too were surprised.
For everyone else, the President delivered a mix of “conservative” and “progressive” ideals and action plans designed to address the most pressing immediate concerns of the vast, moderate majority of Americans.
Such a speech could never have satisfied either extreme. That’s actually a good thing. It was an address the rest of us normies can live with, even if neither political party agrees with everything the President said in his speech.
Joe Biden isn’t anyone’s fairy godmother; the U.S. has been through a tough period and we face more challenges yet. This is still a very dangerous world.
But Biden was right to remind Americans that this nation has survived worse than coronavirus. And he was right to remind both parties, and the media, of how strongly the middle still holds.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)