by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden promised to be the country’s most liberal chief executive since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and historians say he is keeping that campaign pledge.
Biden has welcomed comparisons between himself and Roosevelt, the country’s only four-term president who led people out of the Great Depression with his expansive New Deal programs.
But experts say a major problem for the 46th president is his seeming preoccupation with his own place in history while not heeding all the lessons of the past as Democrats brace for what likely will be tough 2022 and 2024 election cycles.
Biden has elbowed aside his centrist politics, espoused over almost half a century in public life, in favor of more liberal policy positions during his first 100 days in office, according to author and historian David Pietrusza.
“The great flow of history is sweeping Biden along, and in radically progressive times, he is keeping his promise to be the most progressive president in history,” Pietrusza told the Washington Examiner.
He and other historians base their argument on the passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending package. Supporters describe the measure, rammed through Congress this month without any Republican backing, as one of the largest anti-poverty pieces of legislation in a generation thanks to tax credits and direct cash payments. Critics contend the package is wasteful and not well targeted.
Others, such as Ronald Reagan biographer and Republican strategist Craig Shirley, define Biden’s liberalism more broadly by his “naive belief in government” and its ability “to solve all ills.”
“Reagan, of course, believed in the individual. Biden believes in the state, and FDR believed in the state,” Shirley said. “The pandemic is just a convenient excuse for government.”
But Biden is at the mercy of another historic tide: one that shows governing parties typically relinquishing control of the House, the Senate, or both after their first midterm elections cycle.