Middlebury College climate activist Bill McKibben gave some advice to President Biden last week, after West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin put an end to Biden’s $2 trillion dollar Christmas Tree spending bill.
McKibben says stop trying to placate Sen. Manchin: ”That need to appease is gone now, and not just on the climate. If you’re the President, there’s no need to prove to Manchin that you’re going to be “tough on spending,” so why not call off your plan to start collecting student debts again? Why not use every power still at your disposal to do what you can for the country while you’ve got some power? Acting boldly carries risks. With the Senate split fifty-fifty, if you give Manchin reason to switch parties you lose your ability to appoint more judges, for instance; the power that comes with even a tenuous majority is very real. But using executive authority—and boldly—may be the only way that Biden will get anything done, as long as Manchin… blocks effective legislative action, alongside a solid phalanx of fifty Republicans. [Let’s give] points to Biden for trying, but, at some point, even in Washington, no really does mean no, and you need to move on as best you can.”
McKibben is urging Biden advance every liberal cause using Executive authority to decree things that Congress won’t pass. This advice, from a liberal member of the party that’s always worrying about threats to democracy.
The author, a Kirby resident, is founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. To read all EAI news and commentary, go to www.ethanallen.org.