Joe Biden’s failing first crisis: Goodwin

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How bad are things for Joe Biden? So bad that even The New York Times is getting restless. 

“Democrats scramble to save the federal eviction freeze as frustration with Biden mounts,” declared a Friday headline. The article said Biden waited until Thursday to ask Congress to act by Saturday, when the freeze expires, a move the Times said “took Democratic leadership by surprise.” 

Here’s a question for the Gray Lady and Dems: What took you so long? 

It’s difficult to find many Americans who aren’t frustrated with Biden. A solid majority, 55 percent, told pollsters from ABC News they are pessimistic about the direction of the country in the next 12 months, with only 45 percent saying they are optimistic. The survey represented a dramatic swing of 20 points since May, when two-thirds said they were optimistic. 

The findings are stunning given that much of the media, especially the Times, has treated Biden with kid gloves for the first six months of his presidency. But the protection racket can’t hide what people see with their own eyes. 

The inflation tax at the checkout line and gas station is inescapable, as is the two-year crime and murder surge around the nation. 

On those two bedrock issues and so many others, the White House seems either incompetent or impotent. 

The southern border remains open to tides of illegal migrants, and recent reports show many are being relocated to American towns and cities even though they are infected with COVID-19. Most are no-shows for court appearances. 

Meanwhile, the same administration that welcomes those migrants missed its vaccination targets and fumbles its ever-changing positions on whether to mask or not to mask. There was even a suggestion by Biden media handlers that economic and school shutdowns could return, an alarming idea the administration quickly walked back. 

Chalk that up as just one more confusing signal about how the government plans to deal with the rising caseload of the Delta variant. The sloppiness also serves to undercut confidence in the vaccines and may make the vax holdouts even more determined. 

Part of the problem is that the pledge to “follow the science” seems to be optional. The public backup for the new mask guidance comes from an informational presentation to Centers for Disease Control officials initially leaked to The Washington Post. It cited rising infections on Cape Cod and elsewhere among the vaccinated, but the paper said the presentation cautioned that the data was preliminary and subject to change. 

The confluence of policy failures, repeated miscommunications and the spread of the stubborn virus is presenting Biden with his first real crisis as president. His personal approval rating is down to 50 percent and the growing grumbles from all quarters is creating a hinge point for his presidency. 

If he can right the ship, the grumbling will be forgotten. But if he can’t, the fears among some Dems about next year’s midterms will be prophetic. 

Biden can claim one victory, assuming the bipartisan Senate deal on infrastructure spending crosses the finish line. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi is throwing cold water on it, saying she won’t allow a House vote until a separate $3.5 trillion boondoggle is passed. 

The fate of that bill is iffy at best, even though Dems could pass it on a straight party-line vote under budget reconciliation. The problem is that not all 50 Senate Dems have signed on, making it possible both bills will falter in the short term. 

These hurdles were always there, with Dems facing deep divisions in their own ranks while controlling both chambers by squeaky-tight margins. 

The mystery is why Biden began his presidency by dancing to the tunes of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Giving too much power to the far left meant that sooner or later, he was doomed to get to where he is now — few results for his presidency and falling public approval as problems mount. 

The move left also contradicted Biden’s inaugural promise to unite the nation and robs him of potential good will among those who didn’t vote for him. His choice to racialize and radicalize every instrument of government undercuts any reason to hope he will change course. 

I also believe the public’s growing pessimism stems in part from the administration’s dark view of America. The notion that we’re all racists, nothing is any good and everything must be changed is at heart a message of gloom and doom. Jimmy Carter learned the hard way that presidents get fired for scolding and talking down to voters. 

While each Biden misstep is important in its own right, together they take on greater significance as evidence he is not up to the job. His frailty and mannerisms hardly inspire confidence, and the obvious attempts to hide him from extended questioning fuels more doubts about his fitness. 

No president in modern times has talked so frequently about “being in trouble” with his staff if he dares take another question from the press, even though Biden has been far less available for such questions than any of his recent predecessors. 

Something similar is going on with Vice President Kamala Harris. She, too, hides from the media and ducked a substantive role in the border mess and doesn’t seem to have a major role in any other policy. What does she do all day? One clue could be in the various reports that Biden’s team doesn’t trust her. 

It’s a guarantee that none of this has gone unnoticed by China, Russia and Iran. If they conclude both Biden and Harris are unable to lead America during an international crisis, you can bet they will take advantage of the vacuum. 

Then what? 

Socialist ‘war’ on Adams

That was quick. 

Eric Adams hasn’t been elected mayor but already erstwhile allies are declaring war on him. Under the headline “Class Warfare Has Begun,” city Democratic Socialists issued a fund-raising appeal accusing Adams of preparing to “wage a scorched-earth campaign against New York’s working class.” 

Adams, the Democrats’ nominee for mayor, told an audience he was “running against socialists . . . to regain control of our cities.” His point was about reducing crime and blocking the left’s “defund the police” efforts. Those positions are shared by the vast majority of New Yorkers, including the working class. 

For the socialists to go after Adams on his remarks is a fool’s errand. Thankfully, even in New York, there aren’t many ­pro-crime voters. 

Hypocritical $pace cadets 

Reader Bob Pezzuti, noting the accolades showered on Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson for their space flights, writes: “Now that all the climate alarmists are OK with billionaire space cowboys emitting 336,552 Kg of carbon for a little joyride, I can continue to drive my Silverado 2500 guilt free.”

Disney princess 

More proof there’s no honor among thieves: Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney because she was paid $20 million for starring in “Black Widow,” instead of the $70 million she claims she deserves.

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