by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online wonders who is advising President Biden to take sensible steps that are bound to anger progressives within his political base.
First President Biden abandoned his past statements supporting “home rule” and stood with Republicans, opposing a District of Columbia criminal code overhaul that would have reduced sentences for carjackers.
Then President Biden opened the door to reviving the practice of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally.
Now Biden’s administration gave formal approval for a huge oil drilling project in Alaska known as Willow, enraging environmentalists. Greens are getting the consolation prize of the Bureau of Land Management “ substantially reducing the size of the project by denying two of the five drill sites proposed by ConocoPhillips, which is seeking to develop oil and gas leases it acquired beginning in the late 1990s.”
Environmental groups and Democratic members of Congress are not placated at all, judging by their statements today. The Sierra Club statement warns “the harmful effects of President Biden’s decision cannot be overstated. By allowing ConocoPhillips to move forward with this operation, he and his administration have made it almost impossible to achieve the climate goals they set for public lands.”
First, these are all signs that President Biden intends to move towards the center now that he’s expected to run for another term. But this also indicates that former White House chief of staff Ron Klain – nicknamed “the prime minister” in some circles for how central he was to Biden’s decision-making – was a force pushing Biden to the left. Klains’ successor Jeff Zients, who took over February 8, is either less instinctively liberal or less interested in fulfilling the progressive wish list in Biden’s third or fourth year in office.
When Zients took over, progressive groups scowled about his ascension. It looks like they knew with him running the show, they would get their way less often.