AMAC Exclusive – By Pat Conroy
After only 8 short months, the honeymoon period for Joe Biden’s presidency is officially over. Crises on multiple fronts turned President Biden’s “summer of freedom” into a summer from hell. The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that left 13 American service members dead, anemic economic numbers, and the reemergence of Covid have sunk President Biden’s job approval numbers to the lowest of his presidency. In the RealClearPolitics average, nearly half of all Americans (49.7%) disapprove of Biden’s job performance while only 45.2% approve.
Despite projections of confidence in public by the White House, it appears there is increasing anxiety inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue about the future of the Biden presidency. According to new reporting from Politico, the situation has devolved so much that Biden’s staff can’t even bear to watch or listen to their boss when he speaks at events. “When Biden gives public remarks, some White House staffers will either mute him or turn off his remarks,” Politico reports. “It’s not that they’re indifferent to what their boss has to say. Indeed, their livelihoods are directly invested in it. Rather, they’re filled with anxiety that he’s going to take questions from the press and veer off the West Wing’s carefully orchestrated messaging.”
Regardless of the White House’s spin, it is a damning indictment of the President when his own staff does not trust him to speak to an overwhelmingly left-wing press corps. Biden’s political career has long been plagued by gaffes, dating back to his first failed presidential campaign in 1988, which went down in flames after an embarrassing plagiarism scandal in which he falsified his own family history.
During his 2020 campaign, however, Biden’s staff – with a major assist from the mainstream media and Big Tech – was able to coddle and cajole their candidate into the White House by having him appear as little as possible in public under the guise of “COVID precautions.” Biden instead opted for virtual and very small in-person events that were heavily choreographed by his staff. Now that he is in office, the American people expect a much higher level of transparency and are growing skeptical of Biden’s ability to do the job seeing as he can’t even face questions from friendly reporters without embarrassing himself.
In a poll released at the height of the Afghanistan calamity, a majority of Americans (52%) said they are not confident that Biden is physically or mentally “up to the job of being president of the United States,” compared to only 46% who said they were confident. Not without reason, Americans are starting to speculate whether it’s Biden’s staff who is controlling the decision-making rather than the Commander-in-Chief. According to findings in the same poll, only 39% of Americans think Biden is “doing the job of president,” while a staggering 51% believe “others are making decisions” for him.
Democrats in Congress, aware of the potential political fallout from the President’s collapsing poll numbers, are beginning to distance themselves from the leader of their party. In some cases, they are even outright challenging him in public.
Recently, Senator Joe Manchin explicitly announced his opposition to the $3.5 trillion socialist spending blueprint for Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Manchin bucked his party, writing that “some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.” According to reporting, Manchin has told the White House he will support as little as $1 trillion of the package.
The White House would have voters believe Joe Manchin is an outlier in the Democrat Party and not indicative of any larger trend of eroding support, but he’s not the only Senator directly challenging President Biden.
Multiple Democrat Senators had sharp criticisms of Biden over his catastrophic Afghanistan pullout. Most surprising was the rebuke from the president’s loyal old colleague, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. In a press release, Blumenthal eviscerated the Biden administration for leaving American citizens behind in their evacuation efforts. “I have been deeply frustrated, even furious, at our government’s delay & inaction,” the statement reads. “I expect the White House & State Department to do everything in their power—absolutely everything—to make this happen. These are Americans citizens & Afghans who risked everything for our country. We cannot leave them behind.”
Blumenthal’s significant break with the administration suggests that even the staunchest supporters of President Biden are growing concerned about the position of their party after a summer of failure by the Biden White House. After the Trump administration handed Biden a strong foundation for a speedy economic recovery, relative peace in the Middle East, and three COVID vaccines produced in record time, Biden has squandered all of it in a matter of months. With polling showing that the American people are quickly losing patience with such ineptitude, and with Democratic lawmakers now openly criticizing the President, Biden’s political standing may be in terminal decline.
Pat Conroy is the pen name of a Washington, D.C.-based political strategist.