FiveThirtyEight notices that Joe Biden’s approval number isn’t “bouncing back” after the Afghanistan fiasco. Its pundits had suggested that the number might well bounce back as news of that debacle faded. But, they acknowledge, “we’re now more than a month removed from Biden’s difficult August, and there have been no signs of a rebound in his approval rating.”
Why? The FiveThirtyEight crew now says “the decline in Biden’s approval rating was never just about Afghanistan.” Rather, “it was also driven by the resurgent pandemic, dissatisfaction with the economy, or even natural post-honeymoon reversion to a mean that is more realistic in these polarized times.”
I don’t want to discount any of these factors. However, I suggest there is something more fundamental going on.
I suspect that the electorate feels deceived and betrayed by Joe Biden. He ran as a centrist — center-left at most — who would heal America.
This was always a hoax, but many people believed it. Maybe they were fooled because Biden once was a non-leftist. Maybe they just wanted to believe his pitch because they hated Donald Trump. I know people who bought it for that reason.
But now, the view of Biden as a moderate, as opposed to a captive of the left, is untenable. He wanted to spend almost $5 trillion — a sum disfavored by moderates in his own party. He has unleashed a surge of illegal immigration and shown no intention of curbing it.
He wants to impose leftist indoctrination on America’s school children. He wants people to be able to use the restroom of their choice, not of their gender. And so forth.
And now, Biden wants federal law enforcement to come down on people who attend school board meetings to vigorously oppose his woke agenda. The Garland Justice Department, led by Biden’s signature “moderate,” wrote the memo ordering this crackdown on America’s parents.
Roger Kimball thinks the Garland memo might well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. He writes:
The reaction to Garland’s memo has been quick and furious. Will this episode be the turning point, the straw that broke the back of President Ice Cream? Coupled with Biden’s response to the harassment of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was followed into a public bathroom and filmed by shouting activists, maybe so.
That, Biden said, was ‘part of the process’. But parents opposing the insinuation of Marxoid ideas into school curricula: that must be met by nationalizing the police power of the state and stomping down on any resistance as if it were an instance of ‘domestic terrorism’.
Biden’s other core campaign pitch was that he would “restore” competent governance. It too has been exploded. The Afghanistan debacle played a major role in the explosion, to be sure. But Biden also undermines the claim of competence on almost a daily basis with his rambling inability to speak coherently, remember names, and take questions. If he had performed that way in the debates, he would have lost to Trump.
If I’m right that Biden’s woes are due in significant part to America’s sense that he defrauded us, it’s unlikely that he will “bounce back.” Americans can forgive policy errors. They are less willing to forgive blatant fraud.
I’m not saying for sure that Biden won’t bounce back, though. Things almost as strange have happened.
Bill Clinton similarly defrauded the electorate in 1992, not with his claims of competence but with claims of centrism. He bounced back after the 1994 election, but only because he moved decidedly towards the center.
I don’t expect Biden single-mindedly to follow this course and, in any event it may be too late. Clinton never veered as far left as Biden has. Nor can Biden reverse his obvious mental decline. If anything, that will get worse.
But maybe someone should give Biden Dick Morris’ phone number, just in case.