The fallout from Joe Biden’s Afghanistan debacle will be severe and lasting. His presidential credibility has been destroyed by his flights from reality, which have given people the impression that he can’t be believed or trusted.
Biden’s lies have been unraveling almost as fast as he can tell them. At a press conference last Friday, he claimed that al-Qaeda was gone from Afghanistan. A few hours later, a spokesman for the Defense Department had to contradict him by admitting this was false.
Biden claimed that no one was being prevented from getting to the Kabul airport. The press in Afghanistan made the president out to be a liar on that. “It is extremely difficult, and it is dangerous,” reported CNN’s Clarissa Ward, for Americans to attempt a trip to the airport.
Time and again, Biden’s lies were contradicted — even by a friendly media that have apparently turned on the president. The sharks are in the water and they smell blood.
Biden’s false statements and empty promises are undermining him on every other issue. A recent CBS poll found Biden’s overall approval rating had fallen 8 points since April to an even 50%-50% split. But the percentage of respondents who described Biden as “competent” fell from 56% to 49%, the percentage who described him as “focused” fell from 56% to 48%, and the percentage who described their leader as “effective” fell from 55% to 47%.
An Echelon Insights poll found that Biden’s approval rating had also fallen on every issue tested, including COVID, the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. Worse for Biden, the latest Reuters poll found he had the first negative overall approval rating (46% approve/49% disapprove) of his presidency. Meanwhile, the share who believe the country is heading in the wrong direction rose to 59%.
Biden knows it’s only going to get worse as the extent of the disaster fully sinks in among the voters. And with Biden setting a hard and fast date of August 31 for U.S. citizens and troops to leave, the prospect of total unmitigated disaster looms large in the White House.
Whom will Biden blame? With his credibility shot and his political enemies sharpening their knives to carve him up, Biden will need to invent a scapegoat or two that he can throw to the wolves to help take the pressure off of him.
Donald Trump is an obvious choice. Biden has already tried to blame Trump for his mismanaged withdrawal and Trump was president when the final pullout was planned.
But it’s doubtful that Trump would have allowed the Taliban to sweep across Afghanistan unmolested by U.S. airpower. Trump wouldn’t have been dumb enough to hand the Taliban a massive propaganda victory at the expense of his own credibility.
There are, indeed, actions that Biden could have taken — like announcing a delay in the withdrawal — that might have encouraged the Taliban to negotiate an end to the conflict and not try to achieve a military victory. Anything to forestall this betrayal of the Afghans.
Biden will attempt to raise up other villains having little to do with Afghanistan. He will blame Americans for not getting vaccinated. He will blame Republicans for blocking his agenda. He will point the finger at everyone except the one person most responsible for his loss of credibility.
Biden is a lame duck already. Whether he makes it to the end of his term is an open question.