But what about bipartisanship? As Biden might say, “C’mon, man.”
First of all, a party doesn’t get to demand bipartisanship when many of its representatives still won’t acknowledge that Biden won legitimately, and even those who eventually acknowledged the Biden victory spent weeks humoring baseless claims of a stolen election.
What should the Biden administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress prioritize?
- The Editorial Board writes that to improve relations with Canada after four years of Trump, Biden must “show that America is prepared to walk alongside its neighbor, rather than kick it around.”
- Nicholas Kristof, Opinion columnist, writes that the president needs a deft China policy: “The coming years represent the greatest risks since I began covering U.S.-China relations in the 1980s.”
- Michelle Goldberg, Opinion columnist, writes that in this unique moment, Biden “has the potential to be our first truly post-Reagan president.”
- Adam Finn and Richard Malley, physicians specializing in infectious disease, argue for a faster vaccination strategy: “The excess of caution is killing people.”
Complaints that it would be “divisive” for Democrats to pass a relief bill on a party-line vote, using reconciliation to bypass the filibuster, are also pretty rich coming from a party that did exactly that in 2017, when it enacted a large tax cut — legislation that, unlike pandemic relief, wasn’t a response to any obvious crisis, but was simply part of a conservative wish list.
Oh, and that tax cut was rammed through in the face of broad public opposition: Only 29 percent of Americans approved of the bill, while 56 percent disapproved. By contrast, the main provisions of the Biden plan are very popular: 79 percent of the public approve of new stimulus checks, and 69 percent approve of both expanded unemployment benefits and aid to state and local governments.
So when one party is trying to pursue policies with overwhelming public support while the other offers lock-step opposition, who, exactly, is being divisive?
Wait, there’s more.
Everyone knew that Republicans, who abruptly stopped caring about deficits when Donald Trump took office, would suddenly rediscover the horror of debt under Joe Biden. What even I didn’t expect was to see them complain that Biden’s plan gives too much help to relatively affluent families.
Again, consider the 2017 tax cut. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, that law gave 79 percent of its benefits to people making more than $100,000 a year. It gave more to Americans with million-dollar-plus incomes, just 0.4 percent of taxpayers, than the total tax break for those living on less than $75,000 a year, that is, a majority of the population. And now Republicans claim to care about equity?