We hope you are well.
After being sworn in on Wednesday, President Joe Biden made unity the leitmotif of his inaugural address. The same theme was also echoed by former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama in a message wishing the new president well, which was soothing to see in such a polarized political atmosphere. Noble as the cause of national unity is, President Biden can keep good on his word only if he makes a good-faith effort to seek compromise and unlike President Obama, resist the urge to demonize his political opponents as bigots and liars, writes the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
Another editorial in the Wall Street Journal rightly notes that if President Biden really wants to lower the political temperature, then it would serve him well to push back against his party’s dominant left flank. However, in his column for Politico, Rich Lowry is sceptical, as behind all the lofty bipartisan rhetoric, Biden would actually be pursuing a progressive agenda, even if the Democrats cannot end the Senate filibuster. Also at Politico, Alex Thompson details the 36-year long relationship between Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The long history between the pair is a useful insight into how they could work together on key legislation.
All whilst pushing a message of unity, Democrats fail to let go of their unrelenting obsession with former President Donald Trump or the fabled Russian collusion. Hosting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her podcast, Hillary Clinton floated the idea of a “9/11 style commission” to investigate the Capitol riot and Trump’s supposed ties to Vladimir Putin—a sentiment with which Pelosi concurred. The 2016 Democratic nominee is still bitter about her defeat over four years ago, for which she incessantly blames everyone but herself. But we reckon that using Trump as a punching bag is a much more effective strategy for the Democrats than actually governing and making a case for their agenda, hence the urge to bitterly cling on. So much for lowering the temperature and moving on.
Niall Ferguson has some history lessons in his Bloomberg Opinion column for Joe Biden. History suggests that presidents who have come to office in times of national crises have reached peak popularity, but have still managed to be overwhelmed by events. Even with a smooth vaccine rollout and an acquiescent press willing to serve as the administration’s mouthpiece, the challenges posed by emboldened progressives, rising violence, and the new Cold War with China could be the undoing of the Biden presidency.
A “conservative civil war” is sure to attract plenty of media attention in the coming months, as the press would be more than happy to portray the Republicans being in disarray as a justification for progressive policies. It is true that the divisions amongst conservatives are deep, with Republican institutionalists being increasingly at odds with populist-minded conservatives. At Commentary, Noah Rothman postulates how these divisions would exacerbate and pose real electoral problems for the GOP. However, the lines of disagreement often become blurred, more so in the post-Trump era. Much of the purported infighting then will happen not within the ranks of the Republican Party, but between talking heads, pundits, and social media personalities, which would be exacerbated by the conservative media. All talk of a “conservative civil war” is thus premature, writes Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review. Nonetheless, the future of the right in the next four years would be defined by the ability of establishment and populist conservatives to seek common ground, and push for competent and effective leadership.
The Newsletter Team
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.