You expect presidents to find accomplishments where others might see a vanity mirror shrouded in fog. And to be fair, it probably takes a certain level of ego to run for the highest office in the land. But what do you say about a president who brashly asserts at the end of their first year that his accomplishments are “bigger than any president has ever gotten in the first year.”
That president isn’t Donald Trump, and you could be forgiven for thinking that. Those are the utterances of the current man in the office, President Joe Biden. And it’s hard to figure out what on earth he could be praising. The American public certainly wouldn’t give Biden those marks.
Biden’s job approval polling numbers define new levels of low every single month. The RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden entering his second year at all-time lows in approval. Biden’s disapproval numbers are approaching 55% in the averages. To say these numbers are bad understates the matter. Elections Analyst Sean Trende is already warning Democrats that they face dire straits heading into 2022.
NBC News called Biden’s polling numbers “bleak, discouraging,” and “Biden begins his second year as president, majorities of Americans give him low marks for uniting the country, being competent and having the ability to handle a crisis.” Forget talking about accomplishments — Americans do not believe Joe Biden is even competent. We’re talking the lowest bar of all, sheer competence. Americans don’t even hand out satisfactory marks for that.
It’s not just Republicans or Independent voters shifting how they view Biden’s performance; Democrats aren’t happy either. “After sliding to 37% support among independents in Gallup’s tracking poll by October, Biden began to see a notable dip from Democrats for the first time. After holding more than 90% approval among Democrats polled by Gallup through his first year in office, Biden fell to 78% by December as the Omicron variant began stretching the nation’s testing capacity to its limits.”
If Americans handed out report cards to the Biden administration, they wouldn’t hand out high marks. Americans are not pointing to “big accomplishments.” Americans are experiencing reality, and the Biden administration has refused to acknowledge anything close to reality.
Democrats like pointing to things like infrastructure legislation or COVID-19 relief passing Congress. Those things are like handing out participation trophies and claiming victory. To rely on a cliche, Democrats talk about Congress while ignoring the kitchen table.
An everyday American citizen can forget what happens in Congress, and maybe campaign ads remind them of Congressional accomplishment. What Americans can’t ignore is a weekly grocery bill. When you go to a grocery store and put individual items in a shopping cart, you see the price hikes; you see inflation on an item-by-item basis. As you’re walking through the store, you’re going to see the empty shelves, shortages of products, and in some stores, you can find rationing.
Inflation and shortages are impossible to ignore. Going to a gas pump and seeing the increasing cost to fill up a car is impossible to ignore. A recent economic report on consumer spending showed decreased spending in December, the month of Christmas, while “Consumers paid more for everything from groceries to cars in 2021 as companies passed along the costs of pricier raw materials and supply chain delays.”
All of these pieces are happening against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic, which Biden has given up trying to solve. Biden entered office casting himself as an FDR or LBJ. Right now, Biden is fighting off comparisons to Jimmy Carter, which could be unfair to Carter!
Looking ahead, we know the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates in an attempt to squeeze inflation and shrink that threat to the economy. When the Federal Reserve did the same thing at the end of the Carter administration, it triggered a double-dip recession across the economy. Ronald Reagan entered office in the middle of a recession, and a second was initiated soon after.
It’s entirely possible that on top of everything happening now, the Federal Reserve triggers a recession in an attempt to curtail inflation. Biden will meet new lows if they do that as Americans experience even more economic turmoil.
Biden has no major accomplishment. If he did, Americans would give him credit as they have in the past. In a single year, Biden has a failed Presidency on his hands. People have compared him to Bill Clinton at the end of his first year. The problem there is that Bill Clinton was an imaginative politician who pivoted to the center to increase his popularity. Biden has shown no such skill and, in fact, does the opposite.
But perhaps the biggest indictment of all on Biden is that his announcement of massive accomplishments came in the middle of a press conference where his White House team thought it necessary to reset his administration. A successful president doesn’t need a reset, they build off accomplishments. Biden has nothing to build on; his car sits in the lot with a dead battery.
If Biden’s reset works and his administration finally gets off the ground, that would be his first accomplishment.