Leftists Didn't Get Biden Wrong. They LIED About Him.

With Joe Biden running a near-flawless presidency that is capable, progressive, and popular, his leftist and socialist detractors, who spent an entire year hounding him as a milquetoast moderate, have a new strategy: claim, as Donald Trump did for the spread of COVID, that “no one could have predicted” that Biden would turn out to be a progressive president, that his lean-in economic progressivism is a surprise, and that they made him do it.

I, too, have a new message: they’re full of it.


I am old enough to remember a February morning in 2020 when the socialist writer Anand Giridharadas appeared on television with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, with the topic of conversation focusing on just what was turning so many Democrats to a populist socialist candidate like Bernie Sanders. Sanders, who was swimming in campaign cash, was riding high at the time from performing well in Iowa (where he still lost), New Hampshire, and Nevada, and his supporters were crowing about how quickly - not whether - he would clinch the Democratic nomination for president and make the rest of us "bend the knee".

A smug Giridharadas then declared that the “mass movement” Bernie Sanders was leading was so historic that it was messing up people’s ‘mental models’ as the ‘establishment’ - read Joe Biden and his allies - was in disarray in their desperate attempts to stop the renaissance man, Bernie Sanders.

Unfortunately for Sanders and Giridharadas, the thing that was happening then was much simpler than a mass movement taking the establishment by storm: Black voters hadn’t voted in significant numbers yet, and Bernie Sanders, ever the candidate of white grievance and low-participation elections, was doing well among ultra-white electorates and undemocratic caucuses. Additionally, the Democratic pragmatic majority was divided among too many candidates, while Bernie Sanders was taking advantage of a relatively unified ideologue wing.

Once the pragmatic middle coalesced around Biden after his huge win in South Carolina, though, the rest of the primary contest fell like dominos, and Sanders won fewer pledged delegates, earned fewer popular votes, and dropped out earlier in the cycle in 2020 than he had in 2016.

Many pro-Bernie leftists and their media allies then spent the rest of the year lamenting that Biden would lose to Trump because he was too timid and weak, in keeping with their primary-season mantra that “only Bernie” could defeat Trump. Former Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner even compared voting for Biden to eating a turd sandwich.

Biden would, however, go on to win the presidency by proudly brandishing his anti-socialist credentials, earning an unprecedented 81.2 million votes while he was at it. The fundamentalist left’s deep antipathy towards Kamala Harris could not keep her from becoming the first Black, Asian, and woman Vice President, either.

Even after Biden won the presidency, they kept up the naysaying and hounding during the transition, pummeling the then-President-elect for failing to nominate leftist sycophants to prominent positions in his upcoming administration.

Despite it all, now that President Biden is implementing the policies he laid out during the campaign and brocialists tried to claim he did not really believe in, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place: do they keep whipping up outrage among an increasingly small, fringe group of political activists against a president who enjoys a 95% approval rating among Democrats, or do they try to become relevant and somewhat mainstream? When you get this much wrong in this short a period of time, attempting to rebrand yourself as a surprised moose isn’t exactly… well, a surprise.


And so the same Giridharadas who tried to sell a national audience a little over a year ago that people are just fed up with traditional liberalism and a revolution of radical proportion was upon us has now penned a column in The Atlantic claiming that he and others on the socialist left simply got Joe Biden wrong, expressing astonishment at Biden’s forward-thinking presidency.

Giridharadas wasn’t the only personality to get the narrative of the 2020 election and the impending Biden presidency devastatingly wrong. In fairness, the vast majority of the mainstream press as well as the entire far-left intelligentsia was on the same boat. The New York Times recently ran an article in the same vein, claiming that Democrats did not fall in love with Biden until he became president and started acting like a popular liberal lion despite the fact that not only did Biden earn 81.2 million votes in the general election but that the 19 million votes he earned in the primary outpaced even President Obama and Hillary Clinton from their electrified 2008 primary.

None of the new narratives adds up.

As I have noted above, Joe Biden isn’t doing anything as president he hadn’t promised during his campaign. Anyone who bothered to listen to candidate Biden or read his detailed policy positions on his campaign website knew that Joe Biden was running, as he said, to be the most progressive president in history. He promised an ambitious climate agenda beginning with rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, an aggressive health care agenda to expand access and improve affordability by building on Obamacare, a committed plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, a swift turnaround in public health and COVID vaccination strategy, a resurgent, principled American foreign policy aimed at tackling the challenges of the future, and a relentless focus on equity for the underprivileged and the underserved.

Joe Biden’s policy agenda was always transformative.

But what about his past record, which leftist pundits say they based most of their very, very wrong predictions of a Biden presidency on?

If there was one thing the leftists misrepresented more than Joe Biden’s policy positions during the 2020 campaign, it was his record. Sure, Biden’s record as a Senator and Vice President wasn’t spotless, but it was deeply and widely progressive.

Giridharadas, defensive of his and his allies’ enmity toward Biden, begins with Biden’s supposed friendliness to credit card companies, his vote for the Iraq war, and his eulogizing of Strom Thurmond, who was at one point a segregationist. Giridharadas does not mention, however, that Thurmond's views would change in later years and he would become the first member of the South Carolina congressional delegation to appoint African Americans to his staff.

Giridharadas also does not mention that his preferred candidate and movement leader fails more progressive policy tests than any other politician of his national stature. Bernie Sanders spent most of his Congressional career as a friend of the National Rifle Association, voting against background checks and for special immunity for the gun industry. Sanders also appeared on Lou Dobbs’ television show in the mid-2000s to brandish his opposition to immigration reform on the ground that immigrants depress American wages, and he tried to dump Vermont’s nuclear waste near a predominantly Latino Texas town while his wife sat on the Board of the Texas authority responsible for clearing the dumping.

By contrast, Biden was a progressive's progressive.

While in the Senate, Joe Biden earned consistent high marks from organizations that support liberal causes and consistent low marks from right wing organizations. Biden was the architect of the Violence Against Women Act, a top leader in the fight against assault weapons during the Clinton administration, a key player in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act, and an enthusiastic champion of Clinton and Obama tax increases on the rich, of the Children’s Health Insurance Program led by Hillary Clinton, and of course, health care reform during the Obama administration.

Joe Biden wrote the first ever bill to address climate change, long before it became fashionable to hold “Green New Deal'' die-ins. Joe Biden has been an ally to organized labor his entire career. Joe Biden led President Obama himself when it came to declaring public support for marriage equality. Joe Biden’s leadership as Vice President culminated in one of the Obama administration’s crowning bipartisan achievements in Congress, the 21st Century Cures Act containing a cancer moonshot named after Biden’s late son, Beau.

For anyone who examined Biden’s past, observed his political progress, and poured over his plans as a candidate for president, President Biden’s governing posture as a competent, visionary, progressive leader should come as no shock. Joe Biden is not a different kind of president than who he was as a senator and vice president. He is exactly who he has been his entire political life.

As we can see, it is not the consistency of the President, then, that is in question, but rather, the consistency of his critics, especially those from the ideological left. In order to believe their feigned surprise is genuine, one would have to believe that they are either indomitably stupid or wholly ignorant, and neither fits.

People like Giridharadas appear capable of cherry picking things out of context from Biden’s record to a degree that requires sophisticated and intelligently devious parsing, so we can rest assured that neither a lack of intelligence or a lack of knowledge is the true reason they got Joe Biden so wrong.

Here’s a simpler and much more likely explanation: they lied. Simply lied. They knew who Biden had been, what positions he took during the campaign, and what kind of leader he would be should he become president, and they unapologetically lied about all of it.

They lied because it helped protect the lie that their Great White Knight, Bernie Sanders, was the man made for this moment. They lied because they refused to acknowledge then, as they do now, that the mainstream Democratic party - not the far-left antagonists that made Bernie Sanders their cause celeb - has been the only force in American politics to take up the cause of the underprivileged and underrepresented. They lied because it helped distract from their dear leader's dismal legislative record.

They lied because it fueled their own big lie: that the Democratic “establishment” undermined Sanders and pushed first Clinton and then Biden because they didn’t want any real change.

Leftists didn’t get Joe Biden wrong. They deliberately and cunningly LIED about him.

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