The last two times Democrats won the presidency and majorities in Congress, they misinterpreted their victory for a mandate. Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden proceeded to make fundamental changes to how America functions politically and economically. Obama’s 2008 win was sweeping, earning a supermajority in the Senate, so perhaps he had a reason to believe this. However, the coalition of the ascendant collapsed quickly, and it does not appear that Team Obama, now staffing the Biden administration, learned their lesson.
During Obama’s eight years in office, Democrats lost over 1,000 seats nationwide. These losses severely impaired the party’s bench, as demonstrated by the choices in the 2020 primary. It appeared the winner would be one of two senior citizens out of a field of more than a dozen younger candidates. An open socialist was not going to win a national election. So, we got a cognitively impaired alleged moderate who then set about, in his press secretary’s words, “fundamentally transforming our economy.”
Biden is attempting to accomplish this transformation with the thinnest congressional majorities and a fair number of purple district members looking furtively over their shoulder. The campaign for Terry McAuliffe did not even ask President Biden to make an appearance in what has turned into a very competitive Virginia gubernatorial race. Reports blame Biden’s low approval ratings in the state. The RealClearPolitics average provides support for that assumption.
Now, Biden’s unpopularity is rubbing off on his appointees. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that a plurality of voters, 47%, have an unfavorable view of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He came under scrutiny for taking two months of paternity leave following the adoption of twins amid a supply chain crisis. The White House could not run adequate cover for him.
The pollster asked respondents if they agreed with a statement from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). She said, “We’re in the middle of a transportation crisis, and Pete Buttigieg is sitting at home. Meanwhile, cargo boats are unable to dock, and shelves are sitting empty. Pete needs to either get back to work or leave the Department of Transportation. It’s time to put American families first.” Sixty-five percent agreed with her sentiment.
Likewise, Attorney General Merrick Garland is under fire. A recent directive to U.S. attorneys and FBI special agents to investigate parents protesting local school boards set off a firestorm. Again, the White House was not effective in spinning it. According to Rasmussen:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 30% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable impression of Garland, including 14% who have a Very Favorable view of him. Thirty-nine percent (39%) view Garland unfavorably, including 29% who have a Very Unfavorable impression of the former federal judge. Thirty-two percent (32%) say they’re not sure.
Twenty percent (20%) of voters say Garland is doing a better job than most previous attorney generals, but more than twice as many (42%) say Garland is doing a worse job than most of his predecessors. Twenty-three percent (23%) say Garland’s performance is about the same as most previous attorney generals, while 14% are not sure.
Biden’s entire agenda is underwater, with 64% of Americans believing the country is headed in the wrong direction. During the same period in 2020 when parts of the country were still in lockdown and there were no vaccines available, 6% fewer Americans felt this way. Despite a +2% plurality agreeing with a “whole of government approach” to climate change, it never polls as a top priority. Continued inflation in energy prices is likely to diminish that slight edge. Continue to increase the price of a burger based on climate change, and it will really tank.
Only 34% approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, perhaps because 66% of Americans expect to be paying more for groceries a year from now and 53% report changing their eating habits already. Rasmussen reports the fifth month of decline in their Consumer Confidence Index. It hit a high of 147.8 in January of 2020. It is now 96.6.
Biden is determined to pass a bloated budget reconciliation bill that most voters do not understand. What they do understand, they aren’t fond of. Almost 70% do not want the IRS monitoring bank transactions or the justification provided by Democrats. Despite Biden’s protestations, 63% do not believe that only the wealthy will see a tax increase. When the green provisions of the bill kick in, the effective energy tax on all Americans will be felt most acutely by the middle and upper-middle class.
Despite all of the available feedback, the Biden administration is proceeding ahead at full steam. It is not clear whether even a loss in Virginia will give them pause. Perhaps the disaster of the first full year will ensure the rejection of the progressive project for at least as long as it was dormant after President Jimmy Carter.