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I have enormous respect for Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff. But he wrote an article today which had several statements with which I disagree. Which is fine, except that these are examples of common mistakes made by conservatives today, in my opinion, so I’m using his article simply as a means of pointing out these recurring errors.
The first recurring error is not made by conservatives, but by the media. And I don’t think it’s an error, it’s just a common technique used to cover for Democrat mistakes. After discussing the significant drop in President Biden’s popularity only eight months into his presidency, the news website FiveThirtyEight listed these possible explanations for his dismal poll numbers: “the decline in Biden’s approval rating was never just about Afghanistan … it was also driven by the resurgent pandemic, dissatisfaction with the economy, or even natural post-honeymoon reversion to a mean that is more realistic in these polarized times.” Of course, when a Republican’s poll numbers drop, it’s because he’s an evil fool with destructive policies. But when a Democrat’s poll numbers drop, it’s, um, complicated.
Ok, fine. But then Mr. Mirengoff made a few points that I really think are common mistakes among conservatives. First of all, he hypothesizes that Mr. Biden won the presidential election by presenting himself as a moderate centrist. With the Democrat party’s surge to the left over the past 10-20 years, I find this unlikely. People know who Democrats are at this point. But regardless, Mr. Mirengoff then hypothesizes that as Mr. Biden continues to govern less like JFK and more like Vladimir Putin, he thinks that American citizens are likely to realize that they’ve made a horrible mistake, and will seek to fix it. When discussing Attorney General Merrick Garland’s infamous memo that told the FBI to view PTA mothers at school board meetings as domestic terrorists, Mr. Mirengoff even used the dreaded “straw that broke the camel’s back” metaphor:
And now, Biden wants federal law enforcement to come down on people who attend school board meetings to vigorously oppose his woke agenda. The Garland Justice Department, led by Biden’s signature “moderate,” wrote the memo ordering this crackdown on America’s parents.
Roger Kimball thinks the Garland memo might well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. He writes:
The reaction to Garland’s memo has been quick and furious. Will this episode be the turning point, the straw that broke the back of President Ice Cream? Coupled with Biden’s response to the harassment of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was followed into a public bathroom and filmed by shouting activists, maybe so.
I don’t understand the “straw that broke the camel’s back” argument. How many of those have we had in the past few decades? “That’s it!!! They crossed a line now! Nobody is going to put up with this!” But then nothing changes. Again. Until the next outrage. And then nothing changes. Again. And on and on and on…
Likewise, I don’t think people vote for Democrats expecting them to be centrists. They know who Democrats are, and they vote for them. Our voters are further left than they have been in the past. And that’s it.
Next, Mr. Mirengoff wrote:
Biden’s other core campaign pitch was that he would “restore” competent governance. It too has been exploded. The Afghanistan debacle played a major role in the explosion, to be sure. But Biden also undermines the claim of competence on almost a daily basis with his rambling inability to speak coherently, remember names, and take questions. If he had performed that way in the debates, he would have lost to Trump.
I see a lot of mistakes in this paragraph.
First of all, describing the Biden administration as incompetent makes sense only from a conservative perspective. From a leftist perspective, they have gotten a lot done. It’s never enough, of course. But it appears to me that The Biden Administration has been very competent at moving our country to the left as fast as possible. This cannot be a shock to those who voted for Biden. People elect Democrats to move our country to the left, and we are moving left very, very quickly.
Next, Mr. Mirengoff blames some of Mr. Biden’s problems on his dementia and even says that if his dementia had been more obvious in his debates with Mr. Trump, Biden would have lost the election. I really don’t think that’s true. I think that if Mr. Biden had died of a stroke three days before the election, he still would have received 81 million votes, or some reasonable number of votes more than whatever Trump got.
I don’t think Mr. Biden’s dementia is an issue. And I don’t think that the last election was about Biden anyway. Our government did not like being led by someone who was not one of them. So our government replaced that person with someone of their own choosing. The news media, the riots, the endless accusations of racism, the impeachments, social media, the FBI, the CDC, the educational establishment, Hollywood, maybe even actual voter fraud, and so on – the left did what it had to do to correct the error that the voters made in 2016. It didn’t matter if Biden was coherent, and it still doesn’t. The left wants a president who is a compliant Democrat – not a belligerent Republican. Now, it’s all better.
After that, Mr. Mirengoff pointed out that Bill Clinton lost popularity early on as well, but became more popular after he moved back to the center a bit. I hear this a lot, and I just can’t imagine Biden doing this. First of all, I don’t think he’s running anything anyway, and he couldn’t change course if he wanted to. Next, despite him planning his next campaign already, I’d be surprised if he ran again. Although he might, I suppose. But he is either a lame duck president right now, or his administration is being run by people other than him. Either way, I don’t think that the example of Bill Clinton is relevant here.
Furthermore, as I mentioned, the American electorate has moved left. Some of that move may be fraudulent, or perhaps it’s not. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s fraudulent or not. Biden won 81 million votes after not campaigning on no ideas, and he has no reason to suspect that his upcoming vote total will have anything to do with what he does or does not do. He thinks he can do whatever he wants. And he’s right.
Suppose he destroys Afghanistan, our economy, and our allies, and a bunch of other stuff – will the news media, Hollywood, the educational establishment, social media, and the government bureaucracies suddenly start to promote Republicans? Of course not. And as long as he has their support, he will win.
He is not going to lose their support, so he figures he can’t lose. He’s probably right.
My respect for Mr. Mirengoff remains unchanged – he’s a brilliant analyst. But I read these same ideas over and over, and I just don’t think there’s any reason to suspect that they might be true.
As I often say, I hope I’m wrong about this.
But I don’t think that President Biden is wrong. He’s correct – he can do whatever he wants. The polls don’t matter.
If the election was tomorrow, President Biden and his 44% approval rating would win 5 million more votes than whoever the Republicans nominate. It doesn’t matter. And he knows it.
Conservatives should recognize this fundamental truth. You can’t fix a problem that you refuse to acknowledge.
Joe Biden doesn’t matter, and neither does his dementia. Think about it – of the five men pictured in this article, which one had the least impact on the last presidential election? The answer is obvious.
Plus, there is nothing that President Biden can do to suddenly convince voters that he is a leftist – that’s what they voted for anyway. And if they didn’t vote for it, then their opinion doesn’t matter in any case. Biden won’t be tacking to the center, and he probably couldn’t even if he wanted to. Our government just replaced a president they didn’t like with one that they did – that is an earth-moving event, and an extraordinary precedent. That fundamentally changes the relationship between the American citizen and the American government.
That’s the position we find ourselves in. We need to find solutions.
Waiting for the mythical ‘moderate voter’ to wake up is not a solution. Waiting for the mythical ‘moderate Democrat politician’ to wake up is not a solution. Waiting for the mythical ‘nonpartisan government bureaucracies’ to wake up is not a solution.
I’m waiting for conservatives to wake up. I hope that’s a solution.
Or perhaps we won’t.Published in