“Biden side-steps the culture wars, and that’s good for America,” reads the headline of an article by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson. “Biden is rolling back the culture war. The country should thank him,” adds his Post colleague E.J. Dionne. “Biden wants no part of the culture war the G.O.P. loves,” according to New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall.
It’s an open question whether they really think this, or if they know better and are trying to gaslight us. Either way, it’s 180 degrees off the truth. The fact is, Biden has used his executive power to kick the culture war into overdrive.
A Hard Left Turn after Promising Moderation
How so? Let us count the ways.
Biden ordered the entire federal government to focus on “equity” (read: government-mandated racial inequality). He made “racial and ethnic disparities” the government’s first priority in responding to COVID-19. He created a task force to consider how leftists can use the pandemic to combat “systemic and structural racism.”
He ordered the entire government to extend the Supreme Court’s Bostock opinion to all federal laws and regulations, which means, among other things, that schools receiving federal funds must permit biological males to play on girls’ sports teams and use their bathrooms. He ordered the Department of Education to begin rolling back due process rules for college sexual assault cases.
He directed the State Department to fund nongovernmental organizations that provide or lobby for abortions abroad, and to consider eliminating “barriers” to the naturalization process like “civics and English language tests, and the oath of allegiance.”
All of that makes the narrative that Biden is ignoring the culture war curious. Even more curious is that the writers making that claim have themselves ignored all the facts contrary to that narrative.
For example, in early March, Politico reporters Christopher Cadelago and Meridith McGraw claimed that “Biden World” was uninterested in the culture wars. They based that conclusion on statements from a pollster and unnamed “Biden aides.” They cited none of the president’s actions.
A few days later, Dionne chimed in with his column about how Biden has allegedly managed to dial back the culture wars. To support that claim, he pointed to a pro-union speech that Biden gave and the president’s attention to the pandemic and economic issues. Like Cadelago and McGraw, however, Dionne ignored all of Biden’s dozens of executive actions.
Then Edsall joined the chorus. His evidence? The supposed grandeur of the administration’s spending plans, quotes from a few experts who said the country must come together, and a couple of strategically selected lines from President Biden’s public appearances. All words, no actions.
Noticing a Pattern?
One of the more galling takes was Michael Collins’s ostensibly pure news piece for USA Today. His claim that Biden was avoiding the culture wars was based entirely on two throwaway lines delivered not by Biden, but by White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki.
Biden is avoiding the culture war, Collins argued, because Psaki “punted” when asked about the Vatican’s position against same-sex marriage and a recent controversy over Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ decision to stop publishing several of the late author’s books. Like the others, Collins ignored everything Biden has actually done.
Next was Michael Gerson, who based his claim on a cherry-picked list of “Biden’s chosen issues” — vaccine distribution, social welfare programs, and infrastructure — that overlooked all the issues Biden has chosen for his executive actions. Tellingly, Gerson did not explain how the issues he listed could be Biden’s “chosen” when only a few of Biden’s record-breaking number of executive actions address them.
The corporate media really wants you to believe that Biden is on the sidelines of the culture wars. But the only way to reach that conclusion is to diligently ignore everything that Biden is doing. It’s a curious narrative because it’s not immediately obvious why so many establishment liberal writers (as contrasted to the more radical writers who are celebrating Biden’s aggressive cultural agenda) want to spin it.
Perhaps they’re just copycats without an original idea of their own. But even if so, why parrot this particular narrative?
The answer may lie in public opinion polling showing that Americans either disagree with far-left cultural policies or want the government to focus on other things. Perhaps mindful of this polling, these pundits are trying to hide what Biden is actually doing from the American public.
Take, for example, President Biden’s order that will effectively eliminate sex-specific school sports. A Politico and Morning Consult poll found that 53 percent of Americans support a ban on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. A Harvard Harris poll found that 55 percent of Americans oppose Biden’s executive order allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports at schools.
The Harvard poll also found that most Americans view the coronavirus, the economy, and healthcare as the most important issues facing the country, but only 13 percent think the same about racial issues. They might not be happy to know that race dominates Biden’s executive agenda.
Would Americans be happy to know that Biden has ordered the entire government to center its economic, health care, environmental, and scientific policies around divisive “racial equity” issues? Doubtful.
Perhaps that explains why these pundits are so determined to direct attention away from Biden’s actions and on to his speeches about spending and COVID-19. After all, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and journalists gotta spin, baby, spin.