Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is, with good reason, optimistic about his chances of becoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the midterm elections this year. Like many Republicans, McConnell is already making plans for two years that will potentially be spent with a Republican Congress and a Democratic White House. He claims that he and his colleagues will be able to rein in President Joe Biden and force him to govern as a moderate. Can he really do it?
McConnell promises moderation
Speaking to anchor Dana Perino on “Fox News Sunday,” the minority leaders said that Biden ran as a moderate and he intends to ensure that he spends the last two years of his presidency acting like a moderate.
McConnell, who has known the president for many years, believes that he can use a Republican Senate to force Biden to abandon his leftist policies and return to what he campaigned on.
The problem with this belief is that Biden did not run as a moderate. Even during the campaign his policies were never compatible with that description, though he hoped to present himself as a centrist.
As McConnell knows, Biden flirted with court packing, reparations, and other far-left proposals during the campaign and he has never shown any intention of disavowing his social stances.
Biden cannot risk alienating his base by becoming a moderate president even if he wishes to be one, and there is no reason to believe that he has any interest in that.
In practice McConnell’s pledge amounts to a promise that a Republican Congress will do everything it can to ensure that the White House cannot accomplish any of its goals.
Liberals may feel no need to moderate
That kind of promise will be enough for most of the voters who are planning to support Republican candidates in November, but there will still be 2024 to think of.
The assumption that Democrats will seek to moderate their stances after a poor showing in the midterms might be overly optimistic for a party that has embraced an ideology in which moderation is unacceptable.
If anything, a moderate Biden administration and Democratic Party will make the far-left more palatable to voters by temporarily disguising some of the damage.
Liberalism in 2022 is very devoted to achieving its idea of progress at all costs. Pragmatic Republicans like McConnell lack the kind of unshakable self-confidence and devotion to the cause displayed by ideologically committed Democrats.
A Republican victory in November can only ever be a temporary setback in the eyes of the left, rather than a repudiation of their agenda.
Mitch McConnell may be able to block much of Biden’s legislation after 2022, but he will likely find that Democrats are as implacable as ever in pursuing their policy priorities regardless.