Some very ugly numbers for Democrats are, like our current inflation problems, probably not “transitory.” Given that President Joe Biden, as muddled as his thoughts are, must know the numbers, why does he persist in pushing his “transformational” agenda when Americans elected him to be a back-to-normal moderate?
Biden’s approval numbers continue to crater, as reported by USA Today: “A year before the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans hold a clear lead on the congressional ballot as President Joe Biden’s approval rating sinks to a new low of 38%. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, taken Wednesday through Friday, found that Biden’s support cratered among the independent voters who delivered his margin of victory over President Donald Trump one year ago.”
Joe Biden wants a legacy. A legacy bigger than Obama’s. Bigger than Bill Clinton’s. Even bigger than LBJ’s.
The Biden team, the president himself, Prime Minister Ron Klain – they all know this. So why are they still going down this radical road? They may hold out hope of being rewarded by voters once Democrats pass their latest monstrosities so that we can find out what’s in them. After all, Obamacare was unpopular until it eventually was popular-ish, and Barack Obama was reelected when the GOP nominated a weak opponent.
But I suspect that what is really going on was laid bare by this Axios story from March: “Inside Biden’s private chat with historians” about his FDR mentality.
Joe Biden is, at least publicly, a modest man. More accurately he is, to borrow Winston Churchill’s description of Clement Attlee, a modest man with a great deal to be modest about. Privately, what he wants is to outshine the community-organizing, unaccomplished, less-than-one-term senator who rose up to win the American presidency in 2008, taking down not only Hillary Clinton but also Joe Biden, who, after making crime lord Corn Pop tremble in his pomade, showed that same fearlessness in decades in the U.S. Senate only to be passed over by this upstart, who then used him as cover when the “bright and clean” candidate needed a veep who supposedly had some foreign policy chops.
As if that wasn’t galling enough, Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize for a good deed to be named later and then, in the 2020 presidential campaign, as a reward for Joe’s service, was quoted as saying, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.” We know, Barack. We know.
So Joe Biden wants a legacy. A legacy bigger than Obama’s. Bigger than Bill Clinton’s. Even bigger than LBJ’s. He wants to be thought of and talked about alongside FDR.
You can’t make that with a modest back-to-normalcy caretaker-for-the-interim administration, which is what most Biden supporters were voting for. You can only do so with huge, and, I repeat, “transformational” policies that don’t just dance around the edges of American political economy but rather change it into — as every such transformation does — something that is further from the visions of the Founders, further from reliance on individual liberty, and closer to a European social welfare state with income redistribution and vote-buying on a massive scale.
One reason very few people voted for that is that Biden did not campaign on it. Most people would have thought of candidate Biden as among the most moderate of the Democratic field. Indeed, while he campaigned on some of the Left’s typical big-government platitudes, including their cultish disdain of fossil fuels, he said, “I don’t support the Green New Deal.” But the potential fake-infrastructure bill that started at a fake $3.5 trillion and is currently pegged at a fake $1.85 trillion is substantially that very same bad new deal.
Because what matters now is the legacy. Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t become a popular, even iconic, president by being cautious, right? Yes, FDR was just as much of an economoron as Biden is, but the lesson Biden will take from history is that economorons win reelection. (For more on this, I recommend Amity Shlaes’ book The Forgotten Man.) Like Biden, FDR was initially popular primarily because the alternative was unpopular (although you can only take the Hoover–Trump comparison so far).
It’s worth remembering, not that Biden could, that President Roosevelt had huge majorities in Congress for his entire presidency, including, for most of it, a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate. At least Roosevelt had a plausible claim for an electoral mandate for his policies. As envious as Joe “You know the thing” Biden might be, he has no such popular support.
Joe Biden is overreaching. The voters know it. They expressed how they feel about that and other things last Tuesday. They are expressing how they feel about it in multiple polls, such as the Suffolk poll noted above, in which 64 percent of respondents, including more than a quarter of Democrats, do not want Joe Biden to run for reelection. (RELATED: A Conservative Thank-You Note to the Democrats)
Biden isn’t the only one who cares about this. After all, the former mistress of then-Speaker of the California House of Representatives Willie Brown is now our vice president. You’d think she might be secretly rejoicing at some of this bad news for Biden. But Kamala Harris shouldn’t take comfort: her 28 percent approval rating is so pathetic that even media in San Francisco call it “comically low,” noting that “Harris is more unpopular than Mike Pence, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore were at this point in their respective vice presidencies.”
When the San Francisco Chronicle calls out a Democratic VP from California for being less popular than Dick Cheney, that’s saying something. The deliciousness aside, it does leave one wondering why more people aren’t tying Joe Biden’s terrible judgment in picking a running mate to his terrible judgment with everything else, including the willful creation of a catastrophe on our southern border — another reason to try to change the subject with truly radical economic policy.
Just like the poker player down to his last few chips in the tournament, the further that Biden gets from reelectability (if he really is thinking of running for reelection), the more he’ll have to go all in on the inside-straight-flush draw that is selling socialism, inflation, and unaffordable gasoline, natural gas, and electricity to an American public who wanted (and still want) nothing more than a president who avoids chaos and mean tweets.
Joe Biden has probably missed the opportunity to govern as the president he was elected to be. His refuge will not be found in governing as the president he was never elected to be. But his desire to be remembered as a man he was never capable of being will propel him down the radical path which he now finds too narrow and too hemmed in by the thorns of his own historic ambition to be able to turn around.