Charles Lipson

Joe Biden’s terrible Easter

President Joe Biden address guests during the White House Easter Egg Roll (Credit: Getty Images)

Among the many political advantages of the presidency, surely one is the ability to extend warm wishes to Christians, Jews and Muslims on their holidays. It’s a golden opportunity to invite a few for pictures at the White House and explain how much the holiday has always meant to you. Easy-peasy. For a Catholic president such as Joe Biden, expressing solidarity with co-religionists on Easter ought to be a well-practiced routine. 

Which voter group does the White House think its exclusionary message appeals to? 

It took genuine incompetence and obtuseness for the Biden White House to muck up the chance to reach out to fellow Christians on the holiest day of their calendar. But that’s exactly what the White House did on Sunday – Easter Day – by stressing its strong backing for Transgender Day of Visibility. All they had to say was, ‘We love trans people and we will celebrate Visibility Day on Monday this year.’ But noooooooo. It’s hard to think of a more obvious train wreck a-comin’. But this White House ignored the flashing red lights, drove right onto the tracks and parked. 

Take the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. The West Wing’s Ralph Wiggins Brain Trust decided to prohibit any religious symbols on the eggs, even though the whole point of the holiday is to celebrate religious renewal, specifically Christian renewal, as symbolised by eggs. Which voter group does the White House think its exclusionary message appeals to? 

The answer to that Daily Double is ‘strongly ideological progressives.’ These days, they are the very heart of the Democratic Party. What is so striking is that this White House is perfectly willing to alienate moderate, centrist voters – the ones needed to win in November – to cosy up to that activist base. Republicans do the same thing when they adopt positions like the six-week ban on abortion, signed into law by Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Cater to the hardcore base. Risk alienating everyone else. 

Or take Biden’s decision to go to a fancy, high-profile fundraiser at the Rockefeller Center and skip any effort to comfort or even sympathise with the widow of a slain policeman and their young child, mourning after the officer was killed in cold blood while performing his duty. Even Al Sharpton criticised that obvious blunder. 

Most of these observations have drifted across the conservative media. They have been ignored by the mainstream, naturally, because they would harm the candidate they support. Such is what passes for reporting today. 

Still, there is one observation that even conservative critics have overlooked. It is the insular world from which these bad decisions emerge. That is the world in which White House staff and Beltway cognoscenti have been raised and educated. They continue to live in that house of mirrors, which is why they make such obvious blunders. They don’t notice them because, in their self-enclosed world, those aren’t blunders at all. 

The ‘New’ Democratic Party’s ignorance of ordinary voters’ views and feelings, indeed their sneering contempt for them, is a direct result of an educated elite that has been divorced from middle-income voters for their entire lives. They were raised in high-income postcodes, separated from the unwashed masses. They support those masses in principle – let them eat transfer payments – but that is simply their rigid, leftist ideology. They support the masses; it’s the actual people they don’t know. They just read polling data and focus group reports about them. 

The progressive brain trust at the heart of the Democratic Party is far removed from the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman or even Lyndon B. Johnson. Today’s party activists went to elite schools where diversity means the children of orthopaedic surgeons of different races, not students with diverse viewpoints or economic backgrounds. After college, they head to top law schools, where uniformity of thought reigns, and then into corporate law firms or hedge funds. The communications staff might have gone to journalism school, worked at a PR firm specialising in green energy and then a lobbying outfit with similar clients. At every stage, conformity of opinion is an absolute requirement for admission, hiring or friendship. 

When you recruit your White House staff, communications team and campaign advisors from this shallow pool, filled with Fiji Water, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they choose policies, symbols and PR strategies that only not only fail to connect with ordinary voters, but actually offend them. 

That is exactly what the White House has done repeatedly over the past few weeks. Joe Biden may constantly pitch himself as ‘Scranton Joe’, but his White House is Scarsdale and Stanford, not Scranton and Penn State. 

Their insularity shows. It is another roadblock on Biden’s rocky path to reelection. 

A version of this article was originally published on Spectator World

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