Will they look good losing?

B. Jay Cooper
3 min readOct 13, 2021

Back when I worked in the Reagan Administration, Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige, my boss, would say of the then-right wing of the Republican Party: “They like to look good losing.”

That’s because those folks would have rather died on the battlefield clinging to their most extreme beliefs rather than compromise with the moderates in the party, or the Democrats.

Today, the same can be said in the Democratic Party. Progressives are holding any compromise hostage while they cling, at least publicly, to their $3.5 trillion package of spending and programs to revamp American society. Every day we read about the “talks” within the Democratic Party to try to find a compromise on the package that would likely be anywhere from $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion. Republicans have opted out of negotiating at all because they want nothing to do in any way with “helping” Democrats. Their eyes are not on legislating but on winning next year’s elections.

Progressives in the Democratic Party were known as “liberals” in my day but changed the label, I guess, because “progressive” sounds more acceptable.

For those of us not inside the Democratic talks, we have no idea what’s really being discussed. We just know that the progressives spokesmen are clinging to $3.5 trillion awaiting on Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona to tell them what they really want to support the package.

You gotta believe both Manchin and Sinema have laid out their needs/wants clearly to at least the White House.

This eventually will get settled, I believe, partly to show that Democrats left on their own, can get things done. Especially before next year’s mid-term election when, at the moment, the odds are they will lose both majorities they hold in the House and the Senate.

What they are succeeding in doing now is helping in the collapse of belief in President Joe Biden to get anything done. He’s down to his lowest approval ratings since he’s been President (also attributable to the continuing too-high numbers of deaths and cases of COVID, a mucked up withdrawal from Afghanistan, a border issue that doesn’t appear to be getting better, etc).

If the Democrats don’t come up with a compromise that helps (1) the people, (2) their own continued majority aspirations and (3) to boost Biden’s numbers, get ready for the country to go Republican in next year’s mid-terms and…

B. Jay Cooper

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.