Former Vice President Joe Biden has set himself apart from many of his fellow Democratic presidential candidates by promising to restore bipartisanship in Washington — and he swears that once Trump is gone, Republicans themselves will jump at the chance to work with him. "These folks know better," he said at a recent campaign event. "They know this isn’t what they’re supposed to be doing."
It remains to be seen whether Biden truly believes this or he is simply calculating that voters want to hear it. And there is some polling evidence that many of them do — Quinnipiac finds Democratic voters prefer a candidate who will "work with" Republicans by a 13-point margin.
On the other hand, according to The Daily Beast, there is one group of people who certainly don't want to hear it: Biden's fellow alumni of President Barack Obama's administration.
"Right on. Mitch McConnell and Mark Meadows will rush to form the Woke Caucus. And Nelson Rockefeller will be revived from his grave," said former Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt sarcastically.
Another unnamed senior aide had a blunter response to Biden's vision: "Fuck no."
Biden's lengthy Senate career was full of bipartisan negotiation on major issues ranging from the budget to criminal justice. But it seems hard to imagine that Republicans would be chomping at the bit to work with him as a president, given that Obama spent eight years extending the GOP olive branches and Republicans spent eight years burning them.
While Biden was vice president, Republicans repeatedly stonewalled the most modest policy goals on health care, guns, and the environment; shut down the government; threatened to block the Treasury from paying the debt; and conducted years-long sideshow investigations of Benghazi and Hillary Clinton's emails. Perhaps most fresh in progressive activists' minds, they stole a Supreme Court seat from Obama — and falsely claimed that Biden himself had set the precedent to let them do it.
All of this was the norm before Trump took office, and it will almost certainly be the norm after — whether or not Biden is the next president.