You Lousy Ingrates Don't Deserve Joe Biden!

The Washington Post/ABC News dropped a new poll this week, and a whopping 62 percent of Americans say Biden hasn't achieved much during his first two years in office. Only 36 percent of those surveyed said Biden had accomplished “a great deal” or even “a good amount.”

Yes, a majority of Americans considers Biden no better than a common Calvin Coolidge, who boasted a tremendous talent for literally doing nothing. However, this poll reminds me of John Oliver's hypothetical survey of whether owls exist. A majority of people believing something false doesn't actually make it true. Biden has had an incredibly productive presidency. This is objective fact. You can oppose major infrastructure investments, modest gun safety legislation, and a major climate-and-health bill, if you're that kind of creep, but you can't deny their existence. These owls are real.


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Russell Berman at The Atlantic points out that 2021's American Rescue Plan — Biden's COVID-19 relief bill that passed without any Republican support — "was about the size of Barack Obama’s two biggest legislative achievements — his initial economic stimulus package and the 2010 Affordable Care Act — combined. The legislation sent $1,400 checks to Americans across the country, nearly doubled the child tax credit, shored up state budget accounts, and funded testing, treatment, and vaccines to fight the pandemic."

The Affordable Care Act didn't launch in full until 2014, well into Obama's second term. Republicans spent years shouting about "death panels" and Soviet-style bread lines at the doctor's office. Biden gave you fools cash money during his first year! And you still went Janet Jackson on him.

This poll would rightly annoy a president with Biden's record who'd entered office under relatively normal circumstances, but Biden is more like the first president after a zombie apocalypse. It's a couple years later. Life has mostly returned to normal — no fungus face freaks are breaking down your door — but the president still can't crack 50 percent approval. What will satisfy you people?

Let's wind the clocks back to the 2020 presidential campaign. A global pandemic was killing an increasing number of people each day. We were mostly confined to our homes. Businesses were shuttered. That Christmas, extended families exchanged presents over Zoom. It's not as if Republicans have memory-holed how awful the pandemic's first year was. They won't shut up about it while wanting Dr. Anthony Fauci prosecuted for, I guess, being president at the time.

It was under Biden's watch that almost 80 percent of the US population received at least one dose of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine. Yes, Republicans predictably embraced an anti-vax position once it was obvious that Donald Trump would have to vacate the White House and couldn't claim credit for the modern medical miracle that kept millions out of the hospital and their local cemetery.

It was under Biden's watch that schools fully reopened, but rightwingers quickly transitioned to complaining about critical race theory. It was also under Biden's watch that restaurants and bars resumed mostly normal operation, but rightwingers complained about drag queens performing at brunch.

Republicans are awful, of course, and we should expect no less from them. But 52 percent of American voters chose Biden in 2020 because they believed he'd return the country to normal after years of Trump's malignant dysfunction and chaos. As Ezra Klein wrote in 2019, after Biden's official campaign announcement, "Joe Biden isn’t promising a political revolution. He’s not promising to drain the swamp, restructure the Senate, remake capitalism, or usher in socialism. What Biden is promising is a return to normalcy."

He clearly delivered on that promise, even after COVID-19 made "normal" seem like an oasis in the desert.

It's disappointing that Biden hasn't at least maintained the support from those who sensibly elected him. I'm reminded of the old joke about the guy who goes to a doctor with crushed legs. The doctor repairs the damage so he can walk again, but the guy complains that he can no longer dance like Fred Astaire. "Could you before?" the doctor asked. "No," the guy admits, "but why didn't you fix that too?"

[Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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