In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.
The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.
- Rising anger among Black activists: Members of some civil-rights group refused to appear with Biden for his voting speech in Atlanta. New York Times columnist Charles Blow piled on: “Biden has been dillydallying on getting rid of the filibuster to protect voting rights for essentially his whole administration, until this week.”
- Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, distanced himself from some of Biden’s rhetoric in Atlanta, where he invoked the Confederacy and Bull Connor. “Perhaps the President went a little too far,” Durbin told CNN.
- Most polls put Biden around 42-43% approval, with over 50% disapproval. In a Quinnipiac poll this week, Biden had a 33% approval. The White House calls that an “outlier.”
- The Supreme Court yesterday blocked Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
- The Afghanistan pullout played out about as poorly as it could have.
- Russia is messing with him: Biden’s warnings haven’t deterred Vladimir Putin from continuing to build toward a Ukraine invasion.
- Inflation is soaring: It’s the worst in 39 years.
- Empty grocery shelves get network-news coverage. It’s partly the weather, partly COVID, partly the supply chain — but makes a handy visual shorthand for national pessimism.
The bottom line: Build Back Better was supposed to be Biden’s FDR moment. Voting rights could have been his LBJ moment. Instead, he’s likely to end Year 1 with neither.