Slouching Toward Bethlehem
As you sit here reading this, a hulking scrum of U.S. Senators is charging towards an underserved August recess, blundering out of Capital Hill exits to do even less work in luxury vacation homes, alpine escapes, and the sullied fundraising retreats of crypto bankers and oil barons. Having failed to pass significant legislation benefiting the American people this year, corporate representatives of both parties have have good reason to rest easy: across the bloodied playing field of the national mall lie the tattered and well-bruised remains of President Biden and his cabinet, a team not of rivals, but do gooders and no getters, struggling for relevance under the sepia-tinged banner of the musty Third Way, proudly proclaiming “We Can’t Govern!”
Much like his decades-long fleecing by friend, confidant, and honorary phthiraptera Mitch McConnell, Biden has found his latest debasement in the ashen embrace of Joe Manchin, who, with the full force of the domestic and international fossil fuel industry behind him, has upended the entirety of Biden’s legislative agenda. In light of the Commander in Chief’s incessantly ineffectual appeals to the very Senate which he has failed to woo with decades of alleged negotiating prowess, the federal cabinet has similarly found an icy pal over the West Wing from which history-altering directives were once promised to emerge.
At the Department of Transportation, Secretary of Transportation and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has waffled on addressing the single most universal irritation of the American family man: air travel. HHS secretary Xavier Becerra appears to have failed to unbind his hands, secured sometime in between Biden chewing him out and Susan Rice’s attempt to sabotage him from below. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm met with Manchin and International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol according to a Freedom of Information Act filed by the Revolving Door Project, a bad sign for anyone living near a coast, river, forest, plain or recognizable land feature. Meanwhile, The Department of Agriculture overseen by Tom Vilsack has forwarded its own economists to defend consolidation in the food industry at the same time that consumer goods prices continue to soar.
Gas prices have started to decline, but inflation continues to lurk above dimly lit dairy aisles and below the spasmodic day-glo blow ups waving over car dealerships from Ft. Worth to Ft. Lauderdale. Consumers have begun to sense the stale reek of a recession that Biden’s Fed Chair is deepening to further depress real wages, and all of this has merged with the foulness of a post Roe world and a climate deal foreclosed. If something is rotting in Denmark, the stench is worse here.
And If the issue of governing wasn’t hard enough, the rot at the heart of January Sixth has spread. The Secret Service seems to have successfully covered up their leg of the coup, deleting text messages from January Sixth, and prompting Rep. Jamie Raskin’s declaration “I smell a rat”. Whether or not the rodent in question is ferreted out, more important is whether or not charges are brought against Donald Trump for his role in inciting the attempted coup.
Charges against the former president will come down to the inclinations of Merrick Garland, whose tepid and seemingly irrelevant declaration to terrified abortion practitioners belied the same torpor gracing every other failed initiative and squandered opportunity spilling out of the highest law enforcement agency in the land.
The existential foot dragging comes on the heels of new reporting that suggests if re-elected, Trump will skin and gut the federal government, conducting mass purges of agencies well beyond the EPA and DOl, extending deep into the security state to include the FBI and Pentagon.
As the clock ticks down to congressional midterms when Republican’s will begin to lay the groundwork for their second coup in twice as many years, RDP’s Executive Director Jeff Hauser laid out for Politico what Biden should be doing now to prevent catastrophe.
““We need the White House and Dems to work in parallel rather than serially…That means negotiate with Manchin, fine, that makes sense, 50 votes is critical to all sorts of stuff. But do not pause any effort to either implement existing authority within the executive branch or the possibility of pushing single issue bills… just to reduce stimuli during a negotiation with Manchin.”
As Biden continues to heed the advice of incontinent advisors, RDP continues to point out their craven disregard for popular opinion, introductory economics, and human life. As Dorothy Slater and Toni Aguilar Rosenthal wrote,
“While we remain confident in the advantages, importance, and legality of a climate emergency declaration, there is room for legitimate debate between experts in the face of what could be a massive embrace of executive power from the president. The only problem? Many of the legal experts expressing skepticism about the legal future of the declaration have strong ties to the fossil fuel industry. It may be worth considering whether individuals with the future of the fossil fuel industry in mind should be allowed to thwart what other environmental law experts say could be a breakthrough in climate action.”
At the same time, the Boston Globe, the Harvard Crimson, and Axios picked up on the letter RDP sent to Harvard President Lawrence Bacow urging the overseer of the most prestigious university in the country to release long time Biden advisor Larry Summers’ financial records. In that letter RDP wrote,
“Professor Lawrence Summers is taking prominent, public positions on the Biden Administration’s antitrust enforcement actions and economic policies. Given that fact, and the well–documented reality that corporate interests often subsidize favorable views of their work and power, it is essential for the reputation of Harvard University, Bloomberg News, and The Washington Post that the public be fully informed about any funding Summers is taking from corporations he is explicitly or implicitly commenting on.”
Want more? Check out some of the pieces that we have published or contributed research or thoughts to in the last week: