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April 20th, 2021

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How Joe Biden Can Revive Liberalism

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published Dec. 10, 2020

How Joe Biden Can Revive Liberalism


Can Sleepy Joe Biden save liberalism?

As I have said repeatedly since 2011, when I released my prize-winning book, "The Death of Liberalism," liberalism is no more. Others seem to agree. So, perhaps the question should be, can Sleepy Joe Biden revive liberalism?

At first glance, it seems like an enormous undertaking for a 78-year-old man to contemplate. For months, while his youthful opponent barnstormed around the country, Joe stayed snug in his basement, and when he did leave his basement, his display of athleticism — taking little, birdlike steps to a waiting microphone — fooled no one.

Joe has never been a fitness buff, let alone a jock. He is an old 78-year-old, and the presidency is an onerous job. But I hope he will undertake it. Liberalism needs to be revived.

Reviving liberalism will give him something defensible to advocate. It could even be stirring. What he is saying now is jejune. It is dry, uninteresting and even confusing. Joe will say he is not a radical and he is not a progressive. So, what is he? It would be too daring to say that he is a moderate or a centrist. That would rouse the wrath of Crazy Bernie and Congressgirl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He should say that he is a liberal, as Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy were all liberals.

Well, possibly not JFK, but at least Bobby Kennedy was a liberal, and Teddy Kennedy, too, that last Kennedy being as tough on Judge Robert Bork as Joe was when he questioned Bork. Beating the daylights out of a Republican Supreme Court nominee is always good for a Democrat's credentials, especially a liberal Democrat. And that is what Joe is going to revive!

Of course, liberalism's great projects have all been tried, and frequently, they have failed. Social Security worked pretty well for a while, and many still call it a success, though they do so without looking into the comparative possibilities of private insurance. There have been a few successes with old New Deal projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Yet, starting with the War on Poverty, liberalism's pet projects have been pretty much failures. Anti-poverty initiatives cost the American people roughly $1 trillion this year, and the number of poor people living beneath the poverty level was still about 10.5% in 2019.

Another great endeavor of the liberals was taking on racism. They did pretty well with the struggle against racism in the 1960s, and the civil rights laws of 1964 and 1965 were both successes — bipartisan successes — though the liberals overreached, as they so often have. They began to adopt affirmative action and quotas. With those policies, racial discrimination was given a new life. Now one hopes that the days of affirmative action are about at an end and that the record employment rates attained by minorities during President Donald Trump's administration will continue.

So, the problem with reviving liberalism is that all the great projects of liberalism have been tried. They ran their course. Sometimes, they accomplished what they sought. Sometimes, they accomplished what they sought but went too far, for instance, with affirmative action. Now Joe Biden, the liberals' champion, has to find a new set of projects.


Well, Joe, you have come to the right place in search of a new problem for your neoliberalism to solve. It is a problem I have wrestled with for years: how to keep Joe Biden and other clueless liberals busy and out of trouble. What kind of catchy bumper stickers can be developed for the back end of their Priuses? What type of message for their audacious T-shirts? What single-issue campaign can they adopt to further paralyze the country?

How about working for a Bill of Rights Campaign for Household Pets, even goldfish, even ant colonies? Democrats did it for angry women. You succeeded for the transgendered. How about Spot the cocker spaniel? We know that there is an animal rights movement and that it has made amazing strides. Exploit it! Just the other day, I heard a woman — obviously a feminist — lecturing a dogwalker on some infraction regarding his — obviously a white male — dog's leash. The animal rights movement is a promising new constituency for Biden Democrats.

Now, Joe, I have suggested a cause for you: reviving liberalism. I have even suggested a constituency for you to attract: Animal Rights Fanatics (ARFs). It is time for you to invite me into the White House. You might even give me a desk. How about putting me in charge of The White House's Outreach for Stray Dogs?

Well, it is only a suggestion.

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