AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
Nothing seems to be going right for Joe Biden.
On Thursday, the beleaguered President’s approval numbers slipped to one of the lowest points in modern history – a dismal 36%. As the Fourth of July holiday weekend arrives, the Biden administration’s much-derided tweet from last year bragging that the cost of a cookout was 16 cents lower than 2020 has resurfaced, as that same cookout now costs a whopping $10 more – reflecting just how much the price of everything from ground beef to used cars has skyrocketed under Biden. Many within Biden’s own party don’t even want him to run for reelection, and Democrats appear to be on the cusp of major losses in November’s midterm elections. At this point, it’s fair to ask, what, if anything, can Biden do to salvage what’s left of his presidency?
It’s important to remember just how far Biden has fallen in such a short time. He assumed office in 2021 with an average approval rating well above 50% – a good start for any president. As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine expanded during the early months of his tenure, his approval grew. The successful passage of the American Rescue Plan also helped sustain his early support. Even as inflation started to rise and the Delta Variant of COVID began to hobble American confidence that the end of the pandemic was near, his approval numbers remained solidly above water.
But that would all soon come to an end as an inability to halt the pandemic, growing economic challenges, a border disaster, Democratic infighting, multiple foreign policy fiascos, and social radicalism plagued his administration as the months went on.
By August of 2021 – just eight months after Biden assumed office – his approval numbers had truly crumpled, thanks in large part to the horrific collapse of Afghanistan and the death of 13 American servicemembers. But that incident seemed to awaken Americans to a broader range of Biden’s failures, as his approval on the border, economy, and COVID saw a sharp decline as well. By September 1 of last year, Biden was polling consistently underwater. Virtually no poll has had his approval above 50 percent since December, and things don’t look poised to improve anytime soon.
But it’s not just the more obvious external crises that are driving Biden’s approval through the floor. From day one, Biden has abandoned the pretext (albeit a thinly-veiled one) of moderation which characterized his campaign and embraced a far-left agenda more in line with Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Despite only controlling the Senate via a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, Biden pursued an aggressively far-left legislative agenda, openly proclaiming his desire to become a “transformational” president. This was most visible in his signature $3.5 trillion spending legislation known as the “Build Back Better” Act. These radical policies alienated even moderate Democrats . When the bill failed, it left Biden politically crippled. Today, Biden’s “transformational” legislative agenda sits in ruin.
Biden has also failed to take any accountability for the numerous crises Americans face. He continually asserts that high inflation and gas prices are not his fault but the fault of “Putin’s price hike,” “meat producers,” “gas corporations,” and even “gas station owners.” The problem with foisting these blames onto others is that it makes him look powerless or, worse, indifferent to people’s struggles. Former President Bill Clinton once said to his domestic policy advisor, William Galston, “You may not be able to fix the problem right away, but you have to be caught trying.” In this regard, President Biden has yet to be caught trying.
Yet, despite how bad things look now, there are still some actions Biden could take to try to salvage his presidency no matter who controls Congress after November. In short, Biden could reverse almost every one of his executive decisions from the first half of his term, renewing oil and gas leases to increase the energy supply, restarting the Keystone Pipeline project, cutting federal spending, and ending the federal government’s embrace of progressive identity politics. None of these solutions would completely erase the failures of his first term, but would be a start toward resolving the harm his policies have caused. Just as importantly, it would show the American people that he is trying, and that he cares more about bettering their lives than adhering to an ideological agenda.
Yet thus far, Biden has shown no indication that he is even willing to accept that things are going poorly. Whether his advisors are shielding him from the negative headlines or he simply can’t fathom that his presidency has been a complete bust, the leader of the free world appears wholly out of touch with the struggles of ordinary American families. It may then be that the best way to begin healing the wounds inflicted by Joe Biden is for Republicans to win back Congress this fall, and for voters to send Biden packing in 2024.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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