On the perils of aspirationalism

The trouble with political aspirationalism: if you are, say, Joe Biden, you’ve spent decades climbing ever closer to the center of power. You have little incentive to question much less dismantle this ladder. You accept the assumptions because without those assumptions your ascension wouldn’t have happened. This phenomenon works doubly so for minorities.

Almost twenty-four hours after learning that President Biden would regard the Senate parliamentarian as a de facto chief of staff, I remembered whom I’d voted for, enthusiastically. I knew his flaws. This crumbly potato chip meant what he said: he would follow the rules ignored by an opposition party that at its annual convention affirmed its enthusiastic indifference to any policy in which taking selfies beside a golden statue of Baal Donald Trump doesn’t figure. These people hate rules. They hate children. They hate voters. They hate the Constitution.

Yet Joe Biden and Charles Schumer think rules matter, think voters care about parliamentary parlor tricks, think Robert’s Rules of Order legislative legerdemain signifies beyond POLITICO. They may be right. They may fit the minimum wage bill into the COVID relief bill after all. Broadly popular, the Democrats may present it as a separate bill and get the GOP on the record opposing it as a dandy 2022 midterm issue. The Dems have a rosier view of their political acumen than the figures deserve, 2018 and 2006 notwithstanding.

But time will not relent.

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