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Opinion Politics

Liberalism can't fail. It can only be failed


It’s an article of faith in left-wing circles that liberalism and liberal politicians cannot fail.

They can only be failed.

(Naturally, we saw the exact opposite for the entire duration of the Trump presidency, when the Republican chief executive was blamed for everything from
Hurricane Florence
to broken
 water pipes
in East Harlem, New York.)

Joe Biden
is unpopular. As of this writing, his disapproval rating rests at around 57.5%, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.

Inflation is the worst it has been in 40 years. Basic goods are in short supply. The cost of fuel and groceries has skyrocketed. Illegal
is out of control. Infant baby formula has become a rare commodity.

But don’t you dare blame Biden and his policies, say particularly obsequious members of the press. A Democratic president cannot fail. He can only be failed.

“Inflation is the thorn in President Joe Biden’s side that won’t go away,” Newsweek reported. “Over the last few months, the White House has been badgered with questions about how the president will provide relief to Americans struggling to fill up their gas tanks and feed hungry mouths. … And now, solving the economic problems plaguing his presidency leaves Biden with only bad options.”

“Just won’t go away.” “Badgered.” “Plaguing.”

Why won’t these things stop happening to the president? Also, don’t ask questions about the Biden administration’s policies.

CNN, for its part, reported it had spoken to “more than a dozen senior administration officials, lawmakers and congressional aides over the course of several weeks as the White House has grappled with a convergence of factors that has come to consume Biden’s second year in office.”

These “factors” just appeared out of nowhere!

“It’s not the first time Biden’s economic team has grappled with unexpected developments that one senior White House official categorized as ‘uncertainties that were very much unknown,’ and they point to a record of steady, if in their view underappreciated, success in confronting those challenges each step of the way,” the CNN report adds.

“Unexpected developments.” “Uncertainties.” “Unknown.”

Who could have foreseen the issues facing this administration? Who could have predicted these crises? Definitely not a Democratic president, that’s for sure! And why is the president’s “success in confronting [these] challenges” so “underappreciated”? Don’t the people realize the advocate they have in Joe Biden?

White House correspondent John Harwood authored an article bearing the risible headline, “Biden confronts a host of problems he can’t do much to solve.”

“[T] here’s just not much President Biden can do about it,” the reporter remarked later on social media, presumably with a straight face.

Said the Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, “Joe Biden hasn’t received the full credit he deserves for his statecraft during this crisis.”

At Vox, Democratic stenographer Aaron Rupar argued, “[A] big problem for Biden – and it’s not totally his fault – is that for the last year his administration has been forced to react to bad stuff, instead of proactively talking about good things he’s doing. It’s hard to get enthusiastic about a leader reeling from crisis to crisis.”

Wow, who knew that being a president could be so difficult? Not a former vice president, apparently.

Joe Biden can’t fail. He can only be failed.

Speaking of failures, Democrats and the liberal commentariat have handled recent
Supreme Court
rulings with as much grace and decorum as they handle all such “attacks” on their shared political agenda, which is to say “they haven’t handled it well at all.”

From overturning Roe v. Wade to ruling that a high school football coach has the right to pray on a football field, the current Supreme Court handed several victories this year to constitutionalists.

This week, in fact, the court issued yet another blow to progressives and Biden’s green energy agenda, with a 6-3 ruling limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. More specifically, the court ruled only Congress, not an unelected federal agency, has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants.

In other words, the Supreme Court told Congress to do its job. The court didn’t say the EPA isn’t allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It said only that its regulatory authority must be derived first from duly elected legislators, rather than from opaque federal agencies.

You’d think the supposedly pro-democracy crowd would cheer the decision. After all, the court merely directed Congress to do its job of legislating, as opposed to outsourcing its duties to unelected bureaucrats to rule by fiat. But you’d be very, very wrong. To Democrats and liberal commentators, the court’s EPA decision poses an existential threat to the entire world. In fact, certain Democrats argue, the ruling is further proof that the Supreme Court is an unjust and archaic institution, one must that be packed or done away with altogether.

It’s not that their agenda and preferred policies are unconstitutional, unlawful, or even unpopular. Remember, liberalism can only be failed.

“Run out of words to describe this court,” remarked MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, “but, among other things, it’s now a threat to the planet.”

This is just a wild-eyed way of saying the decision is a threat to the executive branch’s usurpation of Article I.

Said the Prospect’s Ryan Cooper, “The Supreme Court is a clear and present danger to all human life on Earth.”

“Minority rule in the United States is a threat to life on earth,” added the New Republic’s Kate Aronoff.

In left-wing political circles, it was more of the same.

“Catastrophic,” said Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. “A filibuster carve-out is not enough. We need to reform or do away with the whole thing, for the sake of the planet.”

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota added, “Congress can change the number of justices on the Supreme Court at any time, and has done so seven times throughout history. Since 1869, the last time the court was expanded, the U.S. population has grown by over 800%, yet the court has stayed stagnant at nine justices.”

Though some Democrats have voiced frustration with the president, urging him to be more aggressive, a not-insignificant number of left-wing politicians and commentators have called for Democratic institutions to be overhauled or scrapped entirely in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions. It’s all a little silly when one considers rulings such as the one regarding the EPA can be summed up as: You actually have to pass laws through the legislature. Indeed, it’s astonishing how the anger directed at the Supreme Court this term stems simply because it believes that, per the Constitution, it’s Congress’s duty to write and pass laws.

All this weeping and wailing because the Supreme Court returned some amount of power to the states and, therefore, the voters. Again, it’s all pretty silly.

Then again, when you’re a Democrat, blaming the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, or any number of Democratic institutions is better than blaming yourself. Remember: Liberalism can’t fail, it can only be failed.

Becket Adams is the program director of the National Journalism Center.

Washington Examiner

Political news and commentary about Congress, the president and the federal government from the Washington Examiner.

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