Who says America can’t find its way to a national consensus? Republicans have considered Joe Biden intellectually bankrupt for decades. According to the latest complaints making their way to Politico, Democrat governors have just figured that out — and now worry that the clock’s about to run out on Biden and their midterm hopes:
They’ve prodded officials for more details of how the administration was going to communicate its wins and improve its messaging around the economy. They have also wanted to see a clear demonstration of new actions from the White House. Don’t just tell us what you’ve done, is how a person familiar with the meetings characterized the feeling among governors, because what you’ve done isn’t exactly working.
Through it all, there’s been a general and growing dissatisfaction with the White House’s response. That budding frustration, relayed by three party officials familiar with the meetings’ contents, has morphed into outright worry. And it’s surfaced elsewhere in recent weeks.
Underlying it all is a concern that Biden and his team are not just out of fresh ideas, but increasingly out of time to turn around their flagging poll numbers before the midterms.
I’d quibble with the idea that Biden is out of “fresh ideas.” Biden hasn’t had a fresh idea since the 1970s. Biden’s entire agenda is a rehash of the progressive wish list that’s percolated around Washington DC for at least two decades. His energy policies hearken back to the Carter era. Biden’s only a few months away from asking Americans to wear more sweaters, and that’s only because it’s July rather than November.
And that’s to the extent that Biden has ideas at all. His economic strategy was to rehash two earlier relief/stimulus bills in March 2021 with the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The ARP was completely unnecessary in terms of economic recovery, but it provided a grand opportunity to give Biden what Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill contained — a way to buy votes and pay off blue states by covering their budget shortfalls. It was a rehash of a rehash that ended up making hash out of the recovery and of the buying power of middle- and working-class American households.
When it came time to deal with the inflation that the ARP catalyzed, Biden’s ideas came right out of hoary PR playbook of the Left. Biden first pretended inflation didn’t exist, then claimed inflation was really just super-fabulous growth, then insisted it would be “transitory.” When none of that worked, Biden latched onto “corporate greed” as an excuse for both inflation overall and for high gas prices, and recently extended that particularly mindless demagoguery to gas station owners — most of whom own only one or two stations and who survive on higher-margin items from their connected convenience stores. Biden still insists on rejecting the best way to deal with this inflationary wave — providing long-term incentives and reduced obstacles to American oil production and refining — because he’s married to progressive wishcasting on energy and climate change.
So what ideas has Biden contributed that are in any way original, let alone effective? Biden spent forty years as a Beltway carbuncle accumulating bad policy choices and even worse arguments for them before becoming a vice president mainly known for getting policy decisions wrong. What exactly did Democrat governors expect when the party made Biden its presidential nominee after nearly fifty years of intellectual dim-wittedness, anyway?
Apparently, they just hoped the problems that Biden largely created through his incompetence would go away on their own. No, really:
But last month, a similar, more tension-filled gathering took place on Capitol Hill in a meeting between senior administration officials and members of the House. There, lawmakers were expecting to receive guidance on matters as concrete as how to counter Republicans who are handing out free gas cards and baby formula to court irate voters in their districts. Instead, they were met with now familiar talking points about the White House’s legislative successes and the resonance of the message Biden carried in 2020.
With the 2022 elections four months away, Democrats both inside and outside of the White House acknowledge there is no silver bullet to slay a host of political problems, including surging inflation, high gas prices, a series of stunning Supreme Court decisions and a sense of voter resignation that the party in power built up their expectations only to let them down. But whereas earlier in the year, there was hope that some of those problems would abate, there is diminishing confidence in that now.
Not only do Democrat governors see no new ideas, they don’t even see any recognition of the political disaster coming their way. To them, it appears that the Biden administration thinks what they’re doing is working:
White House aides, from their vantage point, do not appear to be in enough of a hurry. Rather than abruptly changing strategy, Biden’s team has doubled down on what it believes is an effective two-pronged approach: First, to make steady — if at times slow — progress on the challenges it faces, or at least demonstrate to voters the president is fighting an intractable problem; and second, to highlight contrasts with Republicans to paint them as a party beholden to its extremists and doing little to help struggling Americans.
Small wonder, then, that Democrats have given up on the White House and have started turning to the media to vent. This time it’s the turn of Democrat governors to run to Politico to talk about how incompetent and unresponsive Biden and his team continue to be, but we’ve seen plenty of similar leaks and even on-the-record accusations against Biden from Capitol Hill Democrats over the past couple of weeks.
Not that they have much choice in the matter. They’re only complaining to the media because Biden’s incompetence has grown so obvious to voters that it’s impossible to defend. The only strategy left to Democrats in and out of the Beltway is to distance themselves from the stench of the candidate they foisted on Americans in the first place. Good luck with that.