Dakota Hall is the head of something called the Alliance For Youth Action. As far as I can tell, the organization’s top priority is for taxpayers to pick up what college grads owe on their student debt. You know, the amount they owe on the educations that opened the door to their making twice as much as people who didn’t go to college. The debts they promised to repay in a contract they signed.
In a recent story in the New York Times, Hall expressed his frustration with the incrementalism of Joe Biden. He conceded that sometimes modest change is the best you can get, “But that is not the change that people went out and voted for. They want somebody who’s going to show their anger, to slam their fist onto the podium and say enough is enough. They don’t get that from Biden, right?”
Well, right, but I don’t want or expect that from Biden in the first place. Who are these people who wanted all this radical change or who expected it out of a president with the slimmest of Congressional majorities? I’m a person and this doesn’t include me. I didn’t vote for a podium slammer. Frankly, I’ve had enough of people getting angry and slamming fists and all that. I want calm. I want stability. I want reason. I want statesmanship. I most definitely do not want a revolution, political or otherwise. I don’t want Donald Trump back and I don’t want Ron DeSantis to replace him, but I also don’t want Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. I want to support centrists who know how to make steady, incremental progress and can do it without getting all hot and bothered about it. I don’t want my leaders to channel anger; I want them to calm the rough seas.
My criticisms of Biden aren’t about his incrementalism. My problems with Biden come when he tries to be somebody he’s not, when he tries to placate the hard-left, which, by the way, is impossible. For example, I thought he was off the mark when he went to Georgia on the eve of certain defeat for his voting rights bill to call the election laws that had been passed there “Jim Crow 2.0.” That charge was unsupported by facts and his effort at bluster fell flat with even the hard-left. As I’ve written before, there is no satisfying hard-left activists like Hall, so Biden should stop trying.
Part of the problem is that news outlets, like the Times, interview activists, who do not represent the bulk of average Americans or, for that matter, more than a fraction of a fraction of a minority. (The Times did find one 19-year old who is frustrated that Biden hasn’t paid off her student debts yet — even before she’s actually graduated.)
Biden’s problem is not that he doesn’t slam his fist into podiums around the country or even in the White House. His problem is a run of bad luck (if he’s responsible for inflation then how come Europe’s inflation rate is the same as ours?), a perception that he’s too old and frail (which might not be unjustified) and an activist sector that cuts him no slack. The prescriptions are to change his luck (gas prices are going down, which has as little to do with anything he’s done as their going up, but if you’re going to blame him for the one you have to credit him for the other), a concerted campaign to make him look and sound more vigorous (Reagan pulled that off) and a purge of the hard-left from his administration and from his consciousness. He should just ignore entitled whiners like Dakota Hall.
My sense of it is that most Americans are not looking for another flame thrower. They yearn for normalcy. If Biden dispenses with the hard-left and goes back to being himself he might yet stave off utter disaster this November (Democrats will still take a beating) and win a second term two years from now.
And as for Dakota Hall, he should heed the advice of another group of young men from long ago, who were wise beyond their years, and who eschewed anger. “But if you go around carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.”