Liz Peek: Biden, Pelosi Cater to Progressive Left as Movement Loses Steam

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Like the grandma still posting on Facebook while the crowd has moved onto TikTok, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is clearly out of step. Even as she and President Joe Biden and other Democratic Party leaders cater ever more obsequiously to the Bernie Sanders Left, the progressive movement is losing steam.

That’s good news for our country.

The Speaker continues to insist that Democrats in the House pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the giant $3.5 trillion budget resolution simultaneously, because she knows the bigger package is in trouble. She reckons that only by tying it to the popular infrastructure measure can she get it approved.

Reinforcing her concerns, a group of six centrist Democrats has sent the Speaker a letter asking that she “bring this bipartisan infrastructure bill to the House floor for a standalone vote” as soon as it passes the Senate. They said they have “concerns about the specific components” of the giant $3.5 trillion budget bill that Democrats expect to pass with no GOP votes.

They wrote that House members should be able to review “a detailed scope of spending levels and revenue raisers,” noting that “These specifics are crucial, particularly given the combined threat of rising inflation, national debt, and the trillions recently, and appropriately, allocated to the COVID-19 emergency.” Good for them.

Bottom line: moderate Democrats smell trouble, and they are right. It’s not just about the spending proposals, either. It’s about the whole leftward lurch of their party and of Joe Biden’s White House.

Rising inflation, out-of-control crime, the chaos of one million people illegally crossing our southern border since the beginning of the year and worrisome deficits are causing Americans to question whether they want to put Bernie Sanders leftists in charge of our country.

That’s why in numerous elections recently, the establishment candidates have prevailed.

That happened even in the liberal stronghold of New York City, where former cop Eric Adams won the Democratic primary, beating out candidates advocating to defund the police and hike already sky-high taxes. Adams took the reasonable position that New Yorkers wanted safe streets and that pushing out top earners – the people who pay the bills — was bad for the city.

Repudiation of progressives also took place in Louisiana, where a special election pitted moderate Troy Carter against the more leftist Karen Carter Peterson. With the help of the Congressional Black Caucus, Carter prevailed and will run to fill the seat of former Representative Cedric Richmond.

In these and other recent contests, including in Ohio and Virginia, moderate Democrats have pushed aside progressive firebrands, reversing the trend of a couple of years ago.

The successful campaigns of upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shocked her party by defeating long-time incumbent Democrat Joseph Crowley in 2018, Jamaal Bowman who took down “establishment” Representative Eliot Engel in 2020 and a few other notable upsets, may soon appear as historical footnotes rather than harbingers of a shift in the nation’s essential centrist character.

Make no mistake, the George Soros-backed Justice Democrats will continue to spill millions trying to elect socialist candidates in their fervor to upend the traditions and values that have made the United States the beacon for freedom-loving people the world over. They will keep pushing to defund the police who keep our streets safe and attacking capitalism, which creates jobs and opportunities to everyone eager to provide for themselves and their families.

And, they will occasionally score a victory, especially against incumbents who take their positions for granted or who, like Crowley, are too lazy to campaign on their own behalf.

But, the heat of the movement appears to be cooling. It doesn’t help their cause that some of their candidates are untested and so clearly polarizing.

This past week Cori Bush, a freshman Justice Democrat-backed representative from Missouri, scored headlines by protesting the termination of the eviction moratorium. She staged a sit-in on the Capitol Steps, and won headlines for shaming Biden into extending the protections of people behind on their rents. He did so knowing it was against the law, but with her stunt, Bush had made inaction impossible.

Unhappily for Democrats, and for Bush, in a CBS interview meant to celebrate her achievement, Bush made a fool of herself. Reports had circulated that Bush had hypocritically spent $70,000 on her own private security even as she had touted defunding the police.

She responded by saying, “I’m going to make sure I have security because I know. I have had attempts on my life and I have too much work to do there, too many people that need help right now for me to allow that. So, if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend 10 more dollars on it — you know what? I get to be here to do the work. So suck it up and defunding the police has to happen, we need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets.”

Hmmm. In other words, Bush thinks her security is more important than the safety of others. Her life, it seems, is more special than yours and mine.

Polling has shown that more than two-thirds of Americans oppose defunding the police. As even CNN reported, Bush just handed the GOP potent campaign material for the battle in 2022. That clip will join comments from progressives praising Cuba’s Communist government, advocating for open borders and backing other unpopular notions. With luck, the progressive ascent will be no more.

Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden need to recognize that the moment for far-left policies has come and gone, and that their $3.5 trillion progressive boondoggle could still fail.

Far better to get ahead of events. Pass the infrastructure bill, declare victory, and revise the budget package so it meets the needs of the country, and not just the Bernie Sanders crowd.

Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.

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