Biden's words come back to haunt him
During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden launched a blistering attack on (then) President Trump alleging that he was responsible for more than "200,000" deaths in the first wave of the COVID epidemic, never thinking that number would be dwarfed on his watch.
Those people were dead, Biden alleged, because the president failed to perceive the danger of the virus. He didn't "take it seriously." In a well-rehearsed line, Biden looked into the camera in a presidential debate and asked the viewers: "How many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the table because someone died of COVID-19?"
He's no longer asking such pointed questions. None of these searing indictments has come back to haunt Biden in the mainstream media, but he may soon find himself confronting a blizzard of criticism as the nation heads into the 2022 election. Voting cycles are an excellent time for political pundits to capitalize on the winds of change — especially the tsunami of bad news overtaking the Biden administration.
President Biden entered the Oval Office full of bluster and promised to "shut down the virus" or vaccinate all 330 million Americans. Would anyone at CNN ask the president whether he held himself accountable — or did he feel personally responsible — for the 433,691 COVID-related deaths, and now omicron, occurring on his watch? Perhaps the administration could take some comfort in knowing that a mere 33 percent of Americans want the government to prioritize COVID-19, which reflects a 20-point drop from last year, according to a recent Associated Press–NORC poll.
Could such a drop in the fear factor foretell good news for the administration? Jennifer Psaki, the White House press secretary, might interpret such a statistic as an opportunity to sweep under the political rug the unprecedented hundreds of thousands of omicron infections spreading per day, terrifying a nation already exhausted from previous waves of COVID-19. Biden had no way of knowing that one year into his presidency, he would be confronting such a human catastrophe.
It was easy for Biden to hurl insults at Trump during the 2020 presidential campaign, and the strategy appeared to be effective. Now he's confronting a different political bombshell of his own making. The same Associated Press–NORC poll revealed that 68 percent of Americans said the economy — with the worst inflation since 1982 — should be prioritized by the Biden administration.
Americans are no longer buying the "Build Back Better" campaign, extolling progress on the employment front, and a minuscule drop in fuel prices. There isn't any escaping the mounting inflationary cycle every time a voter checks out groceries or opens mounting utility bills.
The most telling sign that Biden is navigating a sinking ship appeared in the form of a headline in the Wall Street Journal. "Time for Harris to Cut Biden Loose," suggested James Freeman, recommending the vice president could "start leading the country right now and become America's 47th president in 2025." Freeman suggests that a golden opportunity awaits Harris provided she recognize her power "to move Washington lawmaking toward the center."
Many voters — who qualify as centrists — are left underwhelmed by the vice president's role to date. She was assigned the formidable task of controlling the nation's border, at a time when tens of thousands of migrants were pouring over the Southern border monthly. At the peak of the crisis, Harris was spotted in Paris taking advantage of the tremendous shopping opportunities. She had yet to visit the border.
The closest Harris may come to the office of president might hearken back to one of Biden's more memorable verbal flubs when he referred to her as "President Harris." Apparently, Biden failed to notice his mistake and didn't bother correcting himself while delivering a speech about voting rights to students at the Atlanta University Center Consortium on the Campus of Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College.
Harris's supporters might be thinking Biden may be offering a prophetic social gaffe, but to most Americans, that is as close as Harris will ever come to retaining the most important role of leadership in the free world.
Image: Gage Skidmore.