Maybe now, Joe Biden in 2021 knows how it felt to be Donald Trump in 2020.
As the election year began to unfold, Trump was sitting atop an enviable record of peace and prosperity, suggesting a clear path to a second term. By the time a pandemic and a breakdown of law and order had wrought a path of destruction across the land and opened up unprecedented political opportunities for craven Democrats willing to exploit a season of tragedy, he was finished.
Now, the beneficiary of Trump’s historic run of bad fortune, the placeholder who landed in the Oval Office by default simply by virtue of not being Trump, is faced with a swelling portfolio of mostly self-imposed crises that threaten to all but collapse his presidency before it even hits stride. Like his predecessor a year ago, Biden must wonder what hit him.
The critical difference, of course, is that both the pandemic and killing of George Floyd, which sparked widespread lawlessness, had nothing to do with Trump. The present crises have everything to do with Biden.
And much like the inevitably dreadful aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the political damage for Biden and his party figures to run wide and deep. A disgraced leader of the free world will embolden our enemies and weaken our allies. It will short-circuit the Democrats’ impossibly ambitious and dubiously popular tax-and-spend domestic agenda and lead to midterm elections that promise to wipe out their paper-thin majorities in the House and Senate.
Biden cannot be blamed for a natural disaster that threatens to leave parts of Louisiana uninhabitable for weeks or months, and he can at least sidestep further political damage with a competent response from FEMA. He can try to claim the federal government has gained control of the Delta variant while dismissing the recent forecast affirmed by the sainted Dr. Anthony Fauci that 100,000 more could die from COVID by year’s end. And he can do his best to downplay rising inflation and blame it on forces beyond his control — and Trump, of course.
But when it comes to his shockingly incompetent surrender in Afghanistan, on the heels of the metastasizing self-imposed crisis on our southern border, he has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It’s all on him. The basement that sheltered him from the storm of a presidential campaign can no longer protect him.
When infamous Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 16 years ago, George W. Bush had just begun his second term, and whether it was mischaracterized by Bush-hating media or not, his response all but neutered him politically for the remaining three years of his term and left a permanent stain on his legacy. The present hurricane comes at the worst time for this administration, straight on the heels of the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan, the fresh rise of COVID, the border breakdown, the ugly specter of inflation that impacts every single American, and the rising crime that threatens the stability of urban America. And as if things were not bad enough, Biden scored a woeful 39% approval for his handling of the economy in the latest polling. Hurricane Ida is a remarkably apt metaphor for the self-imposed calamity surrounding this president.
For evidence of Biden’s rapid fall from grace, the express train he is riding to political Armageddon, one need look no further than the elite media. This invaluable asset in Biden’s presidential campaign has shockingly turned on a dime and heaped condemnation upon the man they dragged across the finish line just months ago. Did you ever think you would see this sampling of headlines from reliably liberal establishment news outlets, just seven months into Biden’s term?
“Biden’s Place in History Is in Jeopardy” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Crises Push Biden’s Presidency to Its Limits” – CNN
“Biden on His Way to Being a 1-Term President” – The Hill
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette focused on the crumbling of Biden’s warm, cuddly image: “the president has displayed a remarkable, almost shocking, lack of emotional intelligence, making him seem more like the coldly analytical engineer Jimmy Carter than the mushy man from Delaware.”
CNN sounds frightened of what’s to come: “Biden is confronting an extraordinary confluence of intensifying crises that are pushing a White House already mired in extreme challenges to the limit” and refers to “the White House’s frenetic and ill-planned retreat from America’s longest war.”
The Hill sees an incredible shrinking president from appearances alone: “Biden is saying that the U.S. is negotiating with one group of terrorists to try to protect American lives threatened by an even more virulent group of terrorists. The optics alone are incredibly damaging to Biden’s presidency — and possibly even to perceptions of the United States in the international community.”
About the only thing the 46th president has going for him right now is time. Midterm elections are still more than 14 months away, the equivalent of several eternities in the world of politics, and Republicans have been known to look a gift horse in the mouth. Political fortunes rise and fall. Anything, of course, is possible. But exactly how would Biden’s shrinking number of apologists answer the most vital question in the here and now about this feckless president and his sinking ship in the White House: What realistic hope do we have that things will get better?