My first reaction upon learning that an obscure Senate parliamentarian named Elizabeth MacDonough had not only single-handedly nixed passage of a $15 minimum wage through the budget reconciliation process, but that Joe Biden "respected" her ruling, was one of absolute chagrin. Here I was, along with millions of others, so hopelessly addicted to binge-watching The Crown on Netflix, that we didn't even realize we'd had our very own Queen Elizabeth this whole time. She'd been discreetly presiding over the Sceptered Isle of the Senate for the entire past decade!
Granted, she has been pretty easy to miss, given that she only speaks publicly once a year, and that speech is to an arcane youth group. This is not fair. The least she could do is deliver an annual Christmas address to the nation, if not ink a Netflix deal or at bare minimum, go on The View.
So much for us vanquishing King George in the American Revolution. Admittedly, we in the United States have always craved a monarch, making Hollywood celebrities and rock stars our sloppy seconds. This inbred authoritarian longing also helps explain the fascination many of us in the Colonies have with vapid exiled multimillionaires Prince Harry and Meghan, who are set to regale royalty fans with their own two-hour Oprah tell-all next week.
But since Harry's granny, Elizabeth II, is only a constitutional monarch, a figurehead with no real power, I think it's high time that Her Majesty's subjects erupt in jealousy for our possession of an all-American monarch who has even more power than our semi-democratically elected president. This unelected and secretive and unaccountable official is able, with the dismissive wave of her little royal finger, to order millions of her subjects to survive - with a stiff upper lip, of course - on $7.25 an hour.
Joe Biden himself is such a stiff that he would never dream of demanding to know, along with millions of outraged minimum wage reform proponents, who just died and made her Queen.
Born-again self-proclaimed progressive, cosmetic/gender diversity booster, and good Catholic that he is, Biden has actually gone way beyond royalty deference and effectively elevated Elizabeth MacDonough to the status of Pope. Thanks to a Vatican ruling by one of the previous popes in Rome who declared himself infallible, every subsequent pope is deemed to be infallible. The Pope has a direct line to and from God himself. Nobody must ever question what the Pope says, no matter how bizarre or how cruel. When, for example, the Pope forbids Catholic women to use birth control and outlaws remarriage after divorce, and bans abortion even in cases of rape or incest, there are no grounds for appeal.
Catholics don't like it much, but what can they do besides leaving the church or opening themselves up to excommunication? Biden says he doesn't like Queen-Pope Elizabeth's decision either, but he views it as so infallible that he dare not try to reverse it.
For their own part, senior Democrats, including Kamala Harris, have also followed suit and pragmatically abandoned all hope for fear of entering the hell of party and donor retribution. Senators Ron Wyden and Bernie Sanders renounced their own workaround bill, which would have penalized major corporations for failure to pay employees at least $15 an hour, for the very plausible reason that major corporations would easily have found their own workarounds to the odious requirement of paying workers a decent wage.
Therefore, with Biden's abject surrender to Elizabeth of the Senate, not even the Supreme Court can be prevailed upon to overrule the Parliamentarian and declare her de facto unitary powers to be unconstitutional. Not that the Court ever would, of course, entertain such a thing. The reactionary majority would likely reimpose slavery if they could, guided by their own cynical reliance on the glorified pantheon of slave-holding "originalist" writers of the Constitution. This infallible document is either to be literally interpreted as a Bible, or conveniently ignored whenever the bottom line of capitalism is threatened, or twisted into a subversive parody of itself when, for example, assault rifle profiteers and sociopaths can legally define themselves as well-ordered militias.
Joe Biden, reactionary originalist stiff that he also is, claims that his hands are tied on the parliamentary minimum wage defeat. His overruling or firing of Pope-Queen Elizabeth would be a mortal sin, punishable by condemnation by his financial backers, who also own and control the Democratic Party.
So, although theoretically his hands are not tied - because both Catholic dogma and his own electoral mandate do acknowledge the concept of free will - Joe Biden is afraid of catching hell from the oligarchs he serves, the pantheon of demi-gods presiding at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable who adamantly oppose a $15 minimum wage - which, by the way, should not be confused with a living wage, now estimated to be about $24 an hour at the bare survival minimum.
He did promise these movers and shakers that "nothing would fundamentally change" when he became the figurehead president. The infallibility of capitalism will never be challenged by him, loyal courtier that he is.
As he goes about the business of having no power, it turns out that even with his hands tied, he is still capable of dropping bombs on Syria without the approval of anybody, not even the Pope-Queen herself. Congress, however, theoretically does have the power to stop the bomb-dropping. But once again, the rule of adhering maniacally to the Constitution whenever it's convenient and blandly ignoring it whenever it's not, especially applies when it comes to the unitary executive's power to wage war and kill people whenever the mood hits him, or whenever the de facto kings in the profit-driven "defense" industry (the Pentagon) order him to.
Biden press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, soothes that Biden will spend the next few days... or weeks (or months, or years) figuring out "the best path forward." Whenever people are being denied nice things, politicians can always fall back on evoking the Bible. Joe Biden, even with his hands tied by a tangle of silly string of his own making, is made to sound as though he is a saint, forever and always seeking the way, the truth and the light.
While Joe Biden is bound, the rest of us gag.