Opinions

No Course Correction for Joe Biden


President Joe Biden holds a formal news conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19.



Photo:

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

President Biden took questions from the press for nearly two hours Wednesday, his 364th day in office, which would have been an opportune moment to announce a change in strategy or agenda. In one poll this week, 37% of voters graded his first year as an F, and another 12% gave it a D.

Instead Mr. Biden offered more of the same. No, he said, he didn’t overpromise the public about what he could accomplish. He believes he has “outperformed” and delivered “enormous progress.” Americans simply don’t know the details of his successes. He had “no apologies” for the debacle in Afghanistan.

The inflation Americans are seeing at their grocery stores and gas stations “has everything to do with the supply chain,” not any poor policies in Washington.

Is he satisfied with the government’s response to Covid-19? “Yeah, I am satisfied. I think we’ve done remarkably well,” he said. He acknowledged that on testing the White House could “have moved a month earlier,” but “with everything else that was going on, I don’t view that as somehow a mark of incompetence.” No bucks stop here.

As for the coming year, Mr. Biden is still pitching his Build Back Better plan. The only concession to political reality is that he will have to break it up as he tries to bully it through the Senate. He still wants a big tax increase, and he is still pushing the fiction that BBB won’t add to the federal deficit.

Most dispiriting is that Mr. Biden remains hostage to his fantasy narrative on voter suppression. He even refused to say November’s elections will be legitimate, which is not unlike his predecessor, and he continues to say Republicans don’t want minorities to vote. If Americans were offended by his rhetoric last week in Georgia, comparing his opponents to

Jefferson Davis

and

Bull Connor,

well, Mr. Biden said, the fault is with those who misunderstood what he meant.

It was good to see President Biden meet the press, and he said he’s going to take his political show on the road more than he did in his first year. Whether that will help or not, however, will depend on what he is selling. And on that score he seemed unreflective. He won’t change his advisers, despite his low standing in the polls, and he doesn’t think he has tried to govern too far to the left.

“Can you think of any other President that’s done as much in one year?” Mr. Biden asked. “Name one for me. I’m serious.”

Ronald Reagan,

for one. But it looks like it will take an election to change Mr. Biden’s mind.

Potomac Watch: One year after his inaugural address calling for ‘unity,’ Joe Biden has stirred up division with a voting rights speech Mitch McConnell called ‘incoherent, incorrect and beneath his office.’ So why has the President’s rhetoric become so harsh? Images: AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Appeared in the January 20, 2022, print edition.



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