Imagine you have just emerged from a 20-year coma and decide to catch up on current affairs by perusing the news stories offered by the major media. You could easily conclude that the nation’s most urgent problem is saving something called “Biden’s agenda.” You would find countless headlines such as the following from NBC News: “White House plots public reset as Biden’s agenda flails.” Or this from CNN: “Democrats at a loss over path to enact Biden agenda.” Yet when your family appears at your bedside to congratulate you on your recovery, they will respond to your questions about this crisis with puzzled expressions and questions about your medication.
Unlike the media, the voters couldn’t care less about Biden’s agenda, except to the extent that it affects the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. And, for most of the electorate, the first year of Biden’s presidency has been disastrous. He has made no measurable progress on his pledge to get the pandemic under control, he is in denial about the state of the economy — including his administration’s role in exacerbating inflation — and he refuses to acknowledge the adverse effects of his ill-conceived immigration policy. Indeed, Biden genuinely seems to believe that his administration has “outperformed” expectations. The most recent IBD/TIPP poll underscores just how delusional he is on this point:
The share of Americans who give him an A or B [on handling coronavirus] has fallen from 56% in April to 41% in January.… President Biden’s handling of the economy gets good grades only from 34% of Americans.… President Biden gets good grades from only 28% on the immigration issue.… Only 36% of those who took part in the survey give him good grades for his overall performance.
This survey is no outlier. The RealClearPolitics average shows Biden’s job approval rating at 40.5% at the time of this writing. Nonetheless, he insisted during his recent press conference, “The fact of the matter is we’re in a situation where we have made enormous progress.” This suggests that the man is completely out of touch with the electorate — or worse. This would explain why “Biden’s agenda” bears so little resemblance to that which he outlined, albeit in semi-coherent terms, during his strange 2020 presidential campaign. Having run as a moderate unifier, he has attempted to govern as a far left ideologue with no respect for the Constitution and a marked proclivity toward divisive rhetoric.
The resultant failures should not have surprised any reasonable observer of American politics. The irresponsible Build Back Better Act died in the Senate, as did the attempted federal takeover of the nation’s election system. Biden’s imperial edicts — including his vaccine mandate for private businesses, his attempt to extend the eviction moratorium, and his attempt to kill the “Remain in Mexico” policy — have been rejected by the Supreme Court. On Friday, a federal court added to Biden’s losses by enjoining his vaccination mandate for federal employees. During his recent press conference, he inevitably blamed his failures on the Republicans, but even the far left Guardian declined to buy that line:
Biden insisted he hadn’t a clue that he’d face this kind of nonsense and opposition from the right. Believing him does no credit to his intelligence. This was another lie, one uttered to advance the strategy Democrats generally turn to when they’re down — projecting indignation over Republican obstruction while hoping, in this case, that voters don’t notice the Democratic Party controls government.
The voters have already noticed that inconvenient fact, however, as Biden’s consistently awful approval numbers demonstrate. Yet neither Biden nor his apparently fire-proof staff show any sign that the “Biden agenda” will change. They seem to believe they have a messaging problem rather than a policy problem, that their misguided priorities will somehow become more palatable to the electorate if they are rebranded and peddled with new slogans. The Biden administration is evidently incapable of executing the kind of course correction that is obviously called for. This intransigence will almost certainly cause a voter revolt in November that returns the GOP to majorities in the House and Senate.
For the electorate, this is not an abstract ideological exercise. The voters are not interested in grandiose promises to transform America. They want to return to normal, and they know what normal looks like. It’s a place where they don’t have to wear a mask to go out in public, or worry about losing their jobs if they refuse a medical treatment. It’s a place where the shelves in the grocery store are full of reasonably priced food. It’s a place where the cost of gas doesn’t cause anxiety attacks. It’s a place where educators show up at school and don’t try to brainwash the children. It’s a place where criminals are in jail rather than on the street. It’s a place where the President has a clue rather than an agenda.