I am not as concerned as some people are that the Biden administration has put so much effort into trying to find some bipartisan agreement on infrastructure spending. I know their long term plan is to win the public relations war after they pass something by being as visibly cooperative as they can be right now.
But in their own words, Biden administration officials are also asking a bigger question during talks with Republicans.
Will they ever agree to anything else if they even won't agree on roads?
Even before then, members of Biden’s administration were conceding that if the two sides couldn’t come together on something as seemingly non-ideological as building roads and repairing old bridges, then it would be exceedingly difficult to find common ground on other big policy issues.
“If it can’t be here, then where does that leave us?” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who is involved in negotiations with the GOP on infrastructure, asked in an interview last week.
Infrastructure spending may be "seemingly" non-ideological, but it isn't because it's a battle over the fundamental usefulness of taxing and spending by the government. It's a battle over government as a general good and the shared responsibility of all taxpayers, not just some of them.
These things are anathema to the Republican party. They don't believe in these things. They don't believe government is good even when they control it. But I suppose it actually isn't very good when it's under their control, is it? Will Republicans still be this way in another 30 years?
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats aren't just confronting the momentary opposition of a political party that only cares about the next election. The desire to do "big things" by raising taxes to rebuild the country is something Republicans have opposed for as long as I have been alive.
President Biden could be the best negotiator in the world and it wouldn't matter when dealing with a party that simply doesn't believe in governance anymore. There's no cure for Republicanism except defeating them in elections.