For the past two years, ever since he became the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden has been pushing a message of bipartisanship that grated on the ears of younger and more progressive Democrats. You could hear the grumbling: He’s too old, he has been in Washington too long, he doesn’t understand how the Republican Party has changed.
But Biden stubbornly insisted that he could pass bipartisan bills — and he did. He passed legislation to stimulate the economy, build infrastructure, fund semiconductor production, pay for veterans’ health programs, regulate gun sales, lower prescription drug prices and roll back greenhouse gas emissions. He hasn’t gotten everything he wanted, but from a legislative standpoint, this is one of the most successful presidencies in decades.
Now that Biden has gotten so much of his agenda enacted, and with the midterm elections looming, he has switched to a more combative mode. His Thursday speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia was billed as a salvo in the continuing battle for “the soul of the nation,” but it was really a well-justified expression of rage and despair about what the Republican Party has become. The president is finally telling Democrats what they want to hear: “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” This comes only a few days after he described the MAGA philosophy as “semi-fascism.”