It all looked so promising for the left, with Donald Trump gone and Joe Biden teed up for almost certain success. A man striving for decades to be president, finally reaching the promised land, riding to the rescue of a nation reeling from a deadly pandemic – and worse still, the curse of Trump. He was lucky enough to win without even having to campaign and was then handed life-saving vaccines and a recovering economy on a silver platter. At a deeper level, he thought he could complete the work of his benefactor, Barack Obama, who as a candidate famously pronounced that his election would represent “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal …” Elite media had few qualms about their undying support for him – as the Trump antidote, if nothing else.
Problem is, no one thought much about his ability to actually serve as president. It was widely believed that he could succeed by governing the way he promised – as a unifier. And he made that the theme of his inaugural address, employing the words “unity,” “together,” and “as one” no less than 19 times – or almost once per minute. Then he took office and did the opposite, angrily attacking Republicans for his own deficiencies and failures, all the while believing himself to be Franklin D. Roosevelt when, in reality, he has proven little more than a pale shadow of Jimmy Carter.
It was always a certainty that Republicans would be sharply oppositional to this president – that, after all, is their political duty. But now Biden is being openly denounced by his own people. It has come to this: “Frustrated Democrats Express Alarm Over Biden’s Powerlessness.” That screaming headline in The Hill, the beltway bible, reveals that Democrats have gone from relief and elation at the election of Biden to skepticism, then anxiety, then worry, and now full-on panic over his performance in office. His fellow Dems are now convinced this president has become “powerless” to find his way out of the hole he continues to dig for himself.
Republican strategist Doug Heye observes that “[t]he base just wants somebody who can fight. You don’t have to have a plan to land the punch, win the round or knock down the opponent, you just need to be seen as fighting.” But that is exactly what his fellow Democrats are not witnessing in their president. “It’s infuriating,” says one top Democratic strategist. “Our house is on fire and it seems like they’re doing nothing to put the fire out. They’re just watching it with the rest of us.”
Among other things, not once has this old, addled president stepped up and made a hard choice – with the notable exception of his surrender in Afghanistan, now a deep and permanent stain on his presidency. His idea of leadership is abandoning his long-held, much-touted “moderate” beliefs and bending to the will of the loudest, most extreme and confrontational voices in his party – most famously, he had never called the country “systemically racist” until 2020. Backbone to Biden means simply finding new ways to separate taxpayers from their money, draining our Strategic Petroleum Reserve – while refusing to increase domestic production – signaling his empty “ain’t it awful” virtue on everything from abortion to fossil fuels to guns, and whistling past the political graveyard of inflation and soaring prices for gas and groceries.
In fact, he has failed at almost every turn since prematurely declaring victory over COVID-19 one year ago – and over 600,000 have died from the virus under his watch, compared to 400,000 under Trump. This, after he declared that the number of pandemic-related fatalities on Trump’s watch rendered him unfit to continue in office. Add in the inability to codify the abortion rights in Roe v. Wade following its reversal, a spate of mass shootings – even on the Fourth of July – plus a border overrun by illegals in record numbers, and an ongoing urban crime wave, and it’s no wonder Biden’s fellow Democrats find his situation all but hopeless. This president has even failed in his demagoguery – reducing his enemies to “ultra-MAGA” extremists has only led conservatives to treat that expression as a badge of honor.
On top of everything else, Biden’s performance has managed to reduce public confidence in the very institution of the presidency by a shocking 15% in a single year, according to a survey recently released by Gallup. Just 23% of Americans now express confidence in the office of the chief executive.
And so, Joe Biden stands as the most unpopular president of the modern era at just 18 months into his administration. Democrats who’ve seen his approval in free fall – down to 38% at present, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls – are indeed panicking to a degree we have not witnessed in many years, perhaps since their wipeout in the post-Obamacare 2010 midterms. In straining to find anything about which to praise Mr. Biden, allow this one personal observation: He has easily the best necktie collection of any president in memory. Unfortunately, though, when that is his only undeniable success, you will understand why Joe Biden has become a train wreck. Even his friends now view him as all but hopeless – even as he sits in the Oval Office with his own party in control of Congress, as powerless as any president could be.