Why is Joe Biden smiling? History is on his side


Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  17 comments

Why is Joe Biden smiling? History is on his side
“As the president heads into his second year,” Hedrick Smith wrote in The New York Times Magazine in January 1982, “a lot of the magic is gone and the politics of optimism has fallen on hard times. Recession has hit with a force totally unexpected in the euphoric high tide of Reaganism last summer.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Why is Joe Biden smiling? History is on his side


Presidents are kind of like NFL quarterbacks: They get too much credit when their team wins and too much blame when they lose. Rightly or wrongly, U.S. presidents tend to be the face of whatever’s happening in the country over a given snapshot of time.

It was a rough summer for Joe Biden, and his problems have persisted well into the fall.   According to FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregator , Biden’s approval rating went underwater at the end of August and has slid ever since, recently plateauing in the 42-43% range. (Which is still fully four points higher than Donald Trump polled at this point in his presidency.)

The reasons for this dip are pretty obvious. The Afghanistan pullout was shaky, to put it mildly, and Biden became the face of that debacle—even though one could plausibly argue that the   seeds of the travesty were actually planted by neocon fuckheads and the   barking mad yam salad known as  Donald Trump .

In addition to that setback, the delta variant surged just as it began to look like we were turning a corner on the pandemic, Biden’s ambitious economic agenda appeared to stall as a result of Democratic infighting, and post-pandemic supply chain glitches made inflation a palpable issue for the first time in decades. So, naturally, Biden’s presidency is over, right?

Well, not so fast. A little historical perspective is in order, tout de suite.

Exhibit 1: Bill Clinton. Faced with the rough-and-tumble of national politics for the first time, Clinton’s honeymoon period was short, and by day 133 of his presidency, his polling average had plunged to a dismal 36.8%. In June 1993,   Time   magazine famously dismissed Clinton as   “The Incredible Shrinking President” —before he went on to win a second term in a landslide.

But perhaps a more relevant comparison is Ronald Reagan’s presidency. I would argue that Reagan laid the groundwork for the current fraught era in American history. Decades of plutocrat-coddling policies, including a blind devotion to trickle-down economics, steadily hollowed out the middle class and left many working-class Americans behind. Unfortunately, millions of voters have misdiagnosed the problem—which can essentially be boiled down to the rich being given free rein to screw everyone else with impunity for the past 40 years—and have pointed to the feverish rantings of a con man as their lodestar.

Biden is trying to reverse—finally and forcefully—the predictable inequality that has resulted from Reagan’s approach. And—so far, anyway—he doesn’t seem to be getting much credit for it. Because what people are seeing right now are high gas prices and a Thanksgiving dinner that’s more expensive than it used to be.

Biden is meeting the moment by doing what he can to   relieve bottlenecks   and   tamp   down   the price of gas, but what will likely make the biggest difference in price inflation is   time . Assuming we don’t experience another big coronavirus-related economic setback, things should (hopefully!)  settle down on the inflation front sometime next year . And if they do, look out, because Biden did in 10 months what Trump couldn’t in four years—i.e., pass a   $1.2 trillion hard infrastructure plan —and is on the verge of passing his sweeping Build Back Better agenda. Those investments should prove to be rocket fuel for the economy going forward and, even better, the benefits will be broadly enjoyed by the American people.

If this all sounds like wishful thinking,   consider this dicey scenario from   New York Times   columnist Jamelle Bouie :

As his first year in office comes to a close, an ambitious new president is on the decline. His legislative agenda has stalled in a fractious Congress. Voters are angry over inflation and other economic concerns, and he is struggling to find his footing on the world stage.
Allies and critics say the president and his party have made a major misstep, mistaking their successful defeat of an incumbent president for a decisive mandate in favor of their program. The results have been a flagging approval rating, a disenchanted public and an opposition party with the wind at its back. If elections for Congress were held today, there’s no question that the president would lose out to the mounting backlash against his administration.

Oh, crap. Biden and the Democrats are really screwed, huh? Bouie continues:

What year is this? Not 2021, but 1981, and the president is Ronald Reagan, who at the end of his first year in office was described in exactly these terms. “As the president heads into his second year,” Hedrick Smith wrote in The New York Times Magazine  in January 1982 , “a lot of the magic is gone and the politics of optimism has fallen on hard times. Recession has hit with a force totally unexpected in the euphoric high tide of Reaganism last summer.” Reagan’s “present headaches,” Smith continued, “reflect the life-cycle of the modern American presidency — flashy freshman beginnings, followed by a sophomore slump, with some third-year recovery or dazzling achievement.”  

Of course, in 1984, with a strong economic wind at his back, Reagan blew Democratic challenger Walter Mondale out of the water, winning 49 out of 50 states. Inflation had been a lingering problem before Reagan assumed office, but a   forced recession early in his first term   got that bugbear under control, and with the   help of deficit spending  and tax cuts, the economy soared. That was pretty much all the public needed to see.

But the economy isn’t the only issue, right? Well, when it comes right down to it, it kind of is—at least when you look outside each party’s respective base to independent voters, who are far less plugged in to the daily donnybrook that is U.S. politics. Think Biden’s chances will be affected by the   13 service members lost during the Afghanistan pullout ? Well, Reagan lost 241 U.S. military personnel during the   Beirut suicide bombing   in October 1983, and a little more than a year later he won … 49 states.

Of course, Biden won’t win by that kind of margin if he runs for reelection in 2024—or anything remotely close to it. Our nation’s currently splintered politics will see to that. But he can—and likely will—win reelection. No one can predict the future, of course, but history tells us that his chances are good.

The midterms will be a heavier lift, but if BBB passes, Biden’s veto pen will be around to protect its widely shared benefits for at least another three years, and possibly eight—and by that time people will be so used to universal pre-K, paid family leave, child care benefits, health care enhancements, etc., that it will be all but impossible for Republicans to reverse those policies without getting hammered at the ballot box. (Think Obamacare’s preexisting conditions protections and the 2018 midterms. Or, better yet, think about how little appetite there is these days for bowdlerizing Social Security and Medicare.)

I know it’s human nature to panic and think that what’s happening now is what will be happening a month, a year, or even three years from now, but nothing could be further from the truth. Biden is doing a great job with the wheelbarrow of fermented squirrel shit Donald Trump trundled up to his doorstep (even better than Obama did in a similar situation 12 years ago), but it’s reasonable—and human—to be impatient when a crisis is still very much at hand.

Biden hasn’t had enough time to turn the Titanic around, but he’s working on it. And I truly believe we’ll miss the iceberg and encounter smoother sailing ahead— assuming democracy can survive the GOP, that is .


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

The tide is starting to turn. 

Professor Principal
2  JBB    2 weeks ago

Joe is two steps ahead of the media and the gop...

Everything is on the upside from here on out now!

Greg Jones
PhD Expert
2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago

If you say so.  jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

Professor Principal
2.2  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago
Joe is two steps ahead of the media and the gop...

Joe is 3 steps behind, while his handlers are 2 steps behind.

Greg Jones
PhD Expert
3  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

It is?  Please tell us what evidence there is to show that 

It appears that Rosie Scenario is having an overly optimistic and exuberant mindgasm spasm.


Professor Principal
4  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

www.nytimes.com   /2021/11/18/opinion/biden-infrastructure-stimulus-bill.html

Joe Biden Is Succeeding

Nov. 18, 2021

merlin_197976621_97bce421-5e9d-4f01-a105-5f916048b265-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscalehttps://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/11/18/opinion/18brooks-2/merlin_197976621_97bce421-5e9d-4f01-a105-5f916048b265-jumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp 1024w, 2048w" sizes="((min-width: 600px) and (max-width: 1004px)) 84vw, (min-width: 1005px) 80vw, 100vw" width="600" height="400" >
Credit...Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Joe Biden came to the White House at a pivotal moment in American history. We had become a country dividing into two nations, one highly educated and affluent and the other left behind. The economic gaps further inflamed cultural and social gaps, creating an atmosphere of intense polarization, cultural hostility, alienation, bitterness and resentment.

As president, Biden had mostly economic levers to try to bridge this cold civil war. He championed three gigantic pieces of legislation to create a more equal, more just and more united society: the Covid stimulus bill, the infrastructure bill and what became Build Back Better, to invest in human infrastructure.

All of these bills were written to funnel money to the parts of the country that were less educated, less affluent, left behind. Adam Hersh, a visiting economist at the Economic Policy Institute,   projects   that more than 80 percent of the new jobs created by the infrastructure plan will not require a college degree.

These gigantic proposals were bold endeavors. Some thought them too bold. Economist Larry Summers thought the stimulus package, for example, was too big. It could overstimulate the economy and lead to inflation.

Larry is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known and someone I really admire. If I were an economist, I might have agreed with him. But I’m a journalist with a sociological bent. For over a decade I have been covering a country that was economically, socially and morally coming apart. I figured one way to reverse that was to turbocharge the economy and create white-hot labor markets that would lift wages at the bottom. If inflation was a byproduct, so be it. The trade-off is worth it to prevent a national rupture.

The Biden $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed and has been tremendously successful. It heated the overall economy. The Conference Board   projects   that real G.D.P. growth will be about 5 percent this quarter. The unemployment rate is falling. Retail sales are surging. About   two-thirds   of Americans feel their household’s financial situation is good.

But the best part is that the benefits are flowing to those down the educational and income ladder. In just the first month of payments, the expanded child tax credit piece of the stimulus bill kept three million American children out of poverty. Pay for hourly workers in the leisure and hospitality sector jumped   13 percent   in August compared to the previous year. By June, there were more nonfarm job openings than there had been at any other time in American history. Workers have tremendous power these days.

The infrastructure bill Biden just signed will boost American productivity for years to come. As Ellen Zentner of Morgan Stanley   told   The Economist recently, it’s a rule of thumb that an extra $100 billion in annual infrastructure spending could increase growth by roughly a tenth of a percentage point — which is significant in an economy the size of ours. Federal infrastructure spending will be almost as large a share of annual GDP as the average level during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

But Summers was right. The stimulus — along with all the supply chain and labor shortage disruptions that are inevitable when coming out of a pandemic — has boosted inflation. In addition, Americans are exhausted by a pandemic that seems to never end.

And they are taking it out on Democrats. A recent   ABC News/Washington Post poll   revealed that voters now prefer Republican congressional candidates in their own districts by 51 percent to 41 percent. That’s the largest G.O.P. lead since this poll started asking the question, 40 years ago.

If presidencies were judged by short-term popularity, the Biden effort would look pretty bad. But that’s a terrible measure. First-term presidents almost always see their party get hammered in the midterm after their inauguration. That’s especially true if the president achieved big things. Michigan State political scientist Matt Grossmann looked at   House popular vote trends   since 1953. Often when presidents succeeded in passing major legislation — Republicans as well as Democrats — voters swung against the president’s party. Look, just to take a recent example, at how Obamacare preceded a Democratic shellacking in 2010. People distrust change. Success mobilizes opposition. It’s often only in retrospect that these policies become popular and even sacred.

Presidents are judged by history, not the distraction and exhaustion of the moment. Did the person in the Oval Office address the core problem of the moment? The Biden administration passes that test. Sure, there have been failures — the shameful Afghanistan withdrawal, failing to renounce the excesses of the cultural left. But this administration will be judged by whether it reduced inequality, spread opportunity, created the material basis for greater national unity.

It is doing that.

My fear is not that Democrats lose the midterms — it will have totally been worth it. My fear is that Democrats in Congress will make fantastic policies like the expanded child tax credit temporary to make budget numbers look good. If they do that the coming Republican majorities will simply let these policies expire.

If that happens then all this will have been in vain. The Democrats will have squandered what has truly been a set of historic accomplishments. Voters may judge Democrats harshly next November, but if they act with strength, history will judge them well.

Professor Principal
5  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

www.usnews.com   /news/economy/articles/2021-11-24/the-economy-delivers-some-good-news-ahead-of-thanksgiving

The Economy Delivers Some Good News Ahead of Thanksgiving

U.S. News StaffJuly 6, 2021 4-4 minutes   11/24/2021

The nation’s gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the third quarter, slightly above the prior estimate of 2%, according to the second reading from the Bureau of Economic Analysis released Wednesday.

Coupled with a report showing the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment fell dramatically to 199,000 last week – a number not seen since November, 1969 – the news is likely to cheer markets and the White House, which is battling negative perceptions on the economy, driven largely by rising inflation and shortages of key goods and materials.

Meanwhile, a measure of inflation closing followed by the Federal Reserve was unchanged in the second estimate issued Wednesday.

The economy continues to register a strong performance in the fourth quarter following a slowdown in the third quarter brought on by the stubbornness of the delta variant of the coronavirus, worries over inflation and shortages of labor and key materials. Some of those pressures appear to be easing, while consumers have continued spending even while saying they are more pessimistic about the economy.

President Joe Biden cited the improving economy in remarks Tuesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We’re experiencing the strongest economic recovery in the world,” Biden said. “Even after accounting for inflation, our economy is bigger and our families have more money in their pockets than they did before the pandemic. America is the only major economy in the world that can say that.”

PhD Quiet
6  Ronin2    2 weeks ago

So the southern border is closed. Millions of illegal immigrants are not entering the US during a pandemic. Infection and deaths from Covid are down. All of those open jobs are filled; and unemployment is low. There is no inflation and gas prices are falling. All US citizens, Green Card holders, and Special VISA holders are out of Afghanistan. China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are all behaving themselves. OPEC and Russia are increasing oil production at Biden's request. Violent crime is down. There are no more far leftist lootings or riots across the US. 

If you believe any of that you live in Brandon's world. You are Brandon. So to all of the Brandons out there "Lets go Brandon".

Midterms cannot come quick enough. Time to bring the left back to reality.

Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
6.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ronin2 @6    2 weeks ago

ime to bring the left back to reality.

There's an old Simpson's episode where Bart goes to Krusty the clown's summer camp which is  run by crooks and bullies and is an absolute disaster with Krusty's name slapped on it. As the camp descends into utter chaos, Bart,  who is Krusty's most devoted fan, is left sitting in the corner, shaking, holding a Krusty doll mindlessly repeating "Krusty is coming" as he awaits his hero.

Reading this post reminds me of Bart mindlessly holding his doll, ignoring reality, relying on his blind faith in an absent fool who has no idea what's wrong, or how to fix it.

Professor Principal
7  TᵢG    2 weeks ago

The spirit of this piece is, IMO, spot on.   That is, I have no idea how the balance of Biden's presidency will go, but I am confident that it will unfold under its own volition and not substantially because of actions that Biden himself takes.   Biden certainly can act in ways that will improve / harm his presidency but mostly it is the socio-economic / political environment (domestic as a function of the world) that will determine his presidency.   

The Titantic analogy is decent in that it places Biden as the caption of a ship at sea (any ship).   Biden as captain can control the operations of the ship but at any point in time, nature can help or harm the ship.    For the most part, basic competence with normal luck (nature being stable) will allow the ship to have a successful journey.   But nature can speed up or slow down the journey and can ruin the journey with massive waves, wind, icebergs, etc. regardless of the actions of the captain.

In all, I expect Biden to finish his term and retire.

Greg Jones
PhD Expert
7.1  Greg Jones  replied to  TᵢG @7    2 weeks ago

Biden is not really in command of the USS Disaster

Professor Principal
7.1.1  TᵢG  replied to  Greg Jones @7.1    2 weeks ago

What, specifically, is your point?    Your comment is an abstraction on an analogy.   Are you suggesting that the less than stellar state of our nation is because Biden does not have control over the complex dynamics of our socio-economic / political system?

Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
8  Sean Treacy    one week ago

Joe Biden is underwater in 48 of 50 states. 

If he's smiling, it's because someone remembered to give him pudding before putting him to bed at 7:00 PM

Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
9  Jeremy Retired in NC    one week ago
It was a rough summer for Joe Biden

Rough?  It has been a disaster. 

He left hundreds of US Citizens and allies to die in Afghanistan during Biden's retreat. 

He left military equipment in Afghansitand during the retreat

The border is still wide open bringing illegals and Covid into the country. 

Biden's vaccine mandate has, in essence been shut, down as unconstitutional.

Gas prices are soaring

Biden hasn’t had enough time to turn the Titanic around, but he’s working on it.

He's not turning it around.  He piloted straight into the iceberg.

Professor Principal
9.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @9    one week ago

Why does Donald trump have to lie so much? 

www.cnn.com   /2021/11/24/politics/fact-check-trump-gas-prices/index.html

Fact check: Gas prices when Trump left office were much higher than he now claims

Daniel Dale, CNN 5-6 minutes   11/24/2021

Washington (CNN) Former President Donald Trump has been attacking President Joe Biden over this year's increase in gas prices -- and greatly exaggerating the size of that increase.

In a Fox News interview that aired on Sunday, Trump   said , "Look, when I left, gasoline was $1.87. That was a year ago. And now, it's I guess just hit $7.50 in California, the rest to follow..."

In   another Fox News interview   that aired on Tuesday, Trump claimed the increase was even bigger: "Gas was at -- gasoline, $1.83 or $1.86 when I left, a gallon. And now it's at $7.70 in California, in different places in California, and it's heading that way everywhere."

Facts First :   Both of Trump's claims about gas prices at the time he left office were off by more than 50 cents per gallon. The national average for regular gas on his last day in office, January 20, was $2.393 per gallon, not $1.83, $1.86 or $1.87, according to data provided to CNN by the American Automobile Association. And while there is a   remote   California station   where gas prices have exceeded $7.50 this fall, it's misleading to cite any one station as the figure for "California," as Trump appeared to do on Sunday -- especially because this station has been   known for years   as one of the most expensive in the country. The average gas price in California was $4.704 on Sunday and $4.705 on Tuesday, according to AAA data. That was the highest average for any state, but it was far from Trump's claims of $7.50 and $7.70.

In the interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said that gas was selling for $1.87 both "when I left" and "a year ago." In context, the "a year ago" very much seemed to still be referring to prices at the time he left office, which was actually 10 months ago. But for the record, he would have been incorrect even if he was talking about prices a full year prior to the interview's air date. The national average gas price was $2.113 per gallon on November 21, 2020, according to AAA.

A big increase, but smaller than Trump claims

There's no doubt that   gas prices have spiked   internationally, nationally and in California in 2021. The increases have been driven by a complex array of   global economic factors ,   notably including   increases in the price of crude oil.

California gas prices have hit a   series of record highs   in November, most recently on Monday. National gas prices -- an average of $3.403 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA -- are currently the highest since 2014 overall and the   highest since 2012 for a Thanksgiving holiday period , AAA spokesperson Ellen Edmonds told CNN on Wednesday.

So drivers have felt real pain during the Biden era. Still, the starting prices Trump used for Biden's term -- $1.83, $1.86 and $1.87 -- were all at least 52 cents per gallon too low.

And it's obviously invalid to compare any previous national average price to the recent price at a single station, particularly an   infamously prohibitive one   like the coastal California station that received media and social media attention over its October prices of $7.599 per gallon for regular and $8.499 per gallon for premium. (The man who answered the phone at the station on Wednesday afternoon said the current price was $6.80 for regular.)   Patrick De Haan , head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN on Wednesday that pricing at this station in the community of Gorda "likely is the highest in the country."

It's also worth noting that prices at the Gorda station at least sometimes exceeded $6.50 per gallon for regular under Trump. That happened in   May 2019 , according to a local news report at the time, and in June 2020 and October 2020, according to De Haan on Wednesday.

Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
9.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JohnRussell @9.1    one week ago
Why does Donald trump have to lie so much?

Then you provide information from an outlet that has been proven to push lies and fiction as truth.  You're going to have to do better than that.

Professor Principal
9.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @9.1    one week ago
Why does Donald trump have to lie so much? 

It is his modus operandi.   I have known a few people who were pathological liars.   They do not even realize the level of their lying.   It is just natural to them to operate as if the reality (favorable to them) they created in their minds is actually the truth.


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