It Took Biden 48 Years to Be President and 8 Months To Fuck It Up
His legislative agenda is collapsing, his foreign policy’s a disaster, the border’s a mess, the virus is lingering, and the French are furious. Other than that, things are great.
It’s starting to feel like the wheels are coming off for Joe Biden at the job he’s been dreaming of since he first arrived in the Senate in 1973.
Let’s start with his legislative agenda, where progressives’ most ambitious hopes rest on a $3.5 trillion social policy plan that Democrats intend to ram through via reconciliation, which means they can’t afford to lose a single vote in the Senate.
In a precarious ploy to appease the two wings of his party, Democrats pledged to pass this sweeping progressive wish list and a more modest bipartisan infrastructure bill currently scheduled for a September 27 vote in the House at the same time. But progressives say they won’t vote for the bipartisan bill unless the $3.5 trillion social spending package passes first, while West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly thinks the $3.5 trillion bill should wait until 2022 (and, according to Politico, Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema says she will not back it if the bipartisan bill is delayed or fails.)
On top of all of this, the Senate parliamentarian delivered another “crushing blow” to Democrats, declaring that immigration reform (including a pathway to citizenship) cannot be included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation measure.
It’s starting to look like Democrats are playing a high-stakes internecine game of chicken where a head-on collision would spell the end of Biden’s domestic agenda.
But Biden’s problems don’t end in Washington. In a scene so discomfiting the FAA had to shut down FOX’s ability to collect aerial drone footage of it, some 12,000 Haitian migrants are currently camped under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. is reportedly in the process of deporting and/or relocating them, but Biden’s rhetoric (and policies) were the magnet that drew them there.
At least one of the migrants has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, which brings us to the issue that has plagued Biden since the onset of the Delta variant: the fact that we still can’t declare “independence” from the virus. Unfortunately for Biden, the issue continues to cause political embarrassment. Last week, in what The New York Times described as “a blow to Biden,” a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel stymied Biden’s plans by voting against making COVID booster shots available to most vaccinated Americans over the age of 16.
While COVID’s resilience softened Biden’s approval numbers this summer, it was his disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal that finally caused Biden’s ratings to crater. And instead of receding as a news story, the war ended up back on the front pages after a series of reports showed that a U.S. drone strike targeting ISIS-K fighters was in fact a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 innocent people, including an aid worker and seven children.
Two days after that deadly drone mistake, but well before the Pentagon acknowledged it, Biden declared, “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground—or very few, if needed.”
If this is starting to sound like a comedy of errors, the extent of Biden’s summer slump can be summed up by the fact that France has recalled its ambassador to the U.S. That’s right, France. This is the first time since 1778 that our nation’s first ally has taken this step. And it’s all happening on Joe Biden’s watch.
What happened to the notion that the adults were back?
I’ve written again and again about how Trump’s childish approach to governing was problematic, but it turns out that dunking on him and signifying responsibility without actually achieving better results isn’t nearly enough.
With a losing streak that is entering Arizona Wildcats territory, Biden is experiencing what one country music song called a “good run of bad luck.” It is a remarkable turn of events for a man who spent four decades vying for the presidency, eight years as the president’s understudy, and who, until recently, had gotten his presidency off to a strong start.
It’s not over yet for Biden, yet, but there isn’t much on the horizon to look forward to. And it could get a lot worse before it gets any better.