Michael Moore, the liberal filmmaker, once quipped that Bill Clinton was one of the best Republican presidents of his lifetime.
Fast forward, and that comic insight easily applies to President Biden.
In his first three years in office, Biden’s moderate, pragmatic style of governing is close to that of traditional Republicans — from presidents Eisenhower to Reagan and the Bushes.
Looking at Biden from the left side of the political divide, the Democrat in the White House is clearly a long way from today’s most celebrated progressive politicians — Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Take a look at Biden’s record overseas, where he has fiercely asserted American might against Russian aggression. He is actually facing backlash from liberals for his steadfast support for the far-right Netanyahu government in Israel.
Protests against his unstinting support of Israel’s response to a terror attack — as an ever-rising number of Palestinians die — have come even from his own White House staff.
Washington Post columnist Max Boot recently called Biden “Israel’s best friend.”
Next, take a look at Biden’s domestic record, and ask yourself if the moderate tag fits.
First, U.S. oil production reached an all-time high last year under Biden. Second, he successfully backed big spending bills in Congress to prevent a post-COVID recession. His economic policies have produced job growth and generated investment.
Under Biden, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high last month.
Inflation is beyond cooling — it has been cut in half. Interest rates are coming down, consumer confidence has jumped by 13 percent in the last month, continuing an upward trend.
The latest jobs report showed unemployment at a near 50-year low of 3.7 percent.
Biden’s success has come without anything close to the radical right, regressive tax cuts for the rich enacted under Trump.
Ever the moderate, as Biden negotiates with House Republicans on a $79 billion tax bill that will expand the child tax credit, he is allowing for the bill to bring back some corporate tax breaks favored by Republicans as the cost of doing business.
Once again, these are the kinds of economic policies and trade-offs we traditionally associate with Republican presidents.
Third, Biden agreed to sign a tough immigration bill backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and border patrol agents to increase security at the southern border.
It allowed for faster handling of asylum claims and empowered him to shut down the border in case of an unmanageable surge.
Biden’s willingness to act on those conservative priorities alienated a lot of Democrats intent on dealing with “Dreamers,” children brought to the U.S. at a young age, and the 12 million immigrants already in the country with no legal status.
But even as he disappointed some in his party, Biden’s middle-of-the-road approach exposed Republicans — notably former President Trump — as more interested in blaming Biden for the border crisis than in fixing the tattered immigration system.
The GOP House majority had insisted on tying immigration reforms to aid for allies facing threats from dictators and terrorists. But when handed just the bill they loudly demanded, the House GOP balked.
All political signs indicate Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) opposed the bill because Trump and his followers in the House prefer to make immigration into an election-year issue than solve the problem.
“Republicans have to decide who do they serve: Donald Trump or the American people?” Biden said as the GOP defeated their own wish list on immigration.
“Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.
It is a matter of record that, although President Trump talked about “building a wall” and “having Mexico pay for it,” he accomplished neither. And there was never a bipartisan piece of legislation.
Biden’s focus on getting a deal for the best of the country on immigration has him sounding more like President Ronald Reagan, who did pass a bipartisan immigration bill.
Overseas, Biden again fits with traditional Republicans by consistently standing with American allies and democracies against radical Islamic terrorists like Hamas and expansionist regimes like Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Starting in March 2022, Biden took a tough stance against Russian aggression in Ukraine that made even the most conservative hawks nod in approval. There are no boots on the ground, but there’s also no question as to U.S. military weapons and leadership of an international coalition against Putin’s invasion.
Biden’s moderate policies at home and overseas give me hope that Democrats and fair-minded Republicans can do business and move beyond Trump. With Biden’s record, it is easy to imagine a parade of Republican stalwarts lined up on stage on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer, endorsing Biden.
Let’s start with President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney.
How about a parade of Republicans for Biden, featuring Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchison, David Jolly, Michael Steele, Cindy McCain and Christine Todd Wittman?
Just as the Reagan Democrats tipped the election for the Gipper in 1980, the Biden Republicans could do the same for Biden in 2024.
Juan Williams is an author and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.
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