Earth to Biden: Abortion Extremism Isn’t Going to Unite the Country
Despite a month and a half heads-up, Joe Biden didn’t exactly snap to attention when his party’s greatest fears were realized. The end of Roe v. Wade inflamed the Democrats’ die-hards, who were immediately ready to burn down the Supreme Court with the conservative justices inside. While the Left suggested everything from impeaching Brett Kavanaugh to pitching abortion tents in Yellowstone, their slow-moving president seemed incapable of urgency. When he finally did suggest a solution — the November elections — Democrats were furious. “We can’t just tell people to … ‘vote your problems away,’” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) complained. As usual, democracy isn’t the party’s answer to anything. Blowing up the system is.
“People need help immediately,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) protested in an interview. And that “help,” Democrats insisted, isn’t telling people that “Roe is on the ballot this November.” That “isn’t fighting,” Bush fumed. Furious at Biden for publicly rebuffing their court-packing pleas, the party waited with increasing agitation for the White House to treat the end of late-term baby-killing as the emergency they think it is.
For days, Biden seemed to be in his own world, brushing off the criticism that he wasn’t doing enough on abortion. But somewhere between America and Europe, there was a reckoning, and the last 24 hours have been a non-stop geyser of abortion promises and threats — starting with Old Faithful: the death of the filibuster.
Abandoning his measured replies from the week before (the court isn’t “broken” he said), Biden took the polarizing turn that party strategists worried about. “We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” the president told a press gaggle from overseas. “And the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way — it’s like voting rights — [we should] provide an exception for this… for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
“Now we’re talking!” Democratic mouthpiece Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) cheered. She and her far-Left ideologues managed to talk Biden out of moderating his position — a step that White House officials are privately concerned will backfire. “Biden and officials are concerned that more radical moves would be politically polarizing ahead of November’s midterm elections [and] undermine public trust,” Politico’s Alex Thompson tweeted. But if the last year and a half have proven anything, it’s that the only constituency the president seems to care about is social extremists.
“Is the president more interested in passing a bill or placating Democratic interest groups?” Bloomberg’s Matthew Yglesias asked frankly. If Biden wants to throw his lot in with his party’s zealots, it might thrill the Squad, but in terms of a national election strategy, it’s not genius. “It’s not obvious that drawing the lines on abortion in this way is going to be a net win for Democratic candidates in the battleground Senate races this year,” Yglesias argued. “Over the past 15 years or so, America’s pro-choice advocacy groups have gotten much better at getting Democrats to do what they want — and worse at helping pro-choice politicians win elections and make policy.”
Once again, Biden is letting the Squad turn this debate into a war of extremes. Now, voters, who were already plenty motivated by $6 gas and inflation, see a party so desperate to abort children that it’s willing to gut our institutions to get there. It’s a far cry from public opinion, which is far more reluctant to destroy innocent life than the party climbing 130-foot cranes in D.C. to protest.
Asked about the Left’s filibuster push, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Erin Hawley told Tony Perkins, “I think it’s just outrageous.” On “Washington Watch,” ADF’s senior counsel reminded everyone, “What the Supreme Court did in Dobbs was to set the court back on the right path. As Justice Alito’s opinion in Dobbs said, Roe v. Wade was a raw exercise of judicial power. And the opinion there really makes the case that … the Constitution—nowhere in its text structure or history — [contains] a right to an abortion. … And because there’s no right to an abortion, it needs to go back to the states and the people. And so this ruling is very democracy-reinforcing.”
But democracy hasn’t been kind to the Democrats’ far-Left agenda. Now, without a court to sanction their wildly unpopular ideas, the party has two options: work within the system or destroy it. But working within the system would require compromise, civility, and middle ground — three things the modern Left abandoned long ago. “Biden and his party keep proposing this idea [of carving out part of the filibuster]: a carve-out for voting rights, a carve-out for abortion, a carve-out for gun control,” Charlie Cook wrote for NRO. It’s their way of avoiding the hard work of persuasive legislating. “What they mean, of course, is that they want a carve out for the Democratic Party. But this is never going to happen, because such a system would be unsustainable.”
Fortunately, two Democratic senators — Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) — continue to stand in the way of their party’s naked power grab. “Killing a rule that forces senators to compromise and work together doesn’t solve “the disease of division,” Sinema argued earlier this year. “Today marks the longest time in history that the Senate has been equally divided. The House of Representatives is nearly equally divided as well … Our mandate, it seems evident to me, [is to] work together and get stuff done for America.”
That’s not what the impatient mob wants to hear, but it may be what they need to hear if Democrats have any hope of salvaging their dumpster fire of a year. Staring down crises Biden can’t solve, voters he can’t convince, and a party he can’t satiate, it was always going to take more than a raging appeal to “reproductive health” to save them.
With few other prospects, maybe the president could return to the one thing voters asked of him. Americans “didn’t give President Biden a mandate for much,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pointed out, but they did give him a job he’s thus far ignored: uniting a hurt and divided country. Maybe now is the time to take that call seriously.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.