Biden goes to Ohio and other irrelevance, by Susan Estrich
The headlines on the polls are right, of course. President Joe Biden’s approval rating is in the toilet, out there with presidents who stumble into wars, hostage crises, gas shortages and other calamities. Or worse.
Biden didn’t do either of those things, thankfully.
We came out of a war, not just one. Fewer troops are in danger. The economy, while certainly not as strong as the administration’s cheerleaders relentlessly claim, is by no means collapsing like it was when inflation and unemployment were in double digits, not to mention America held hostage.
Yes, the president has been seen turning a blind eye at inappropriate times. And, more seriously, the administration has come to be viewed as unreliable in the face of the pandemic, evidence of which is the growing rift between governors and the public, on the one hand, and the administration, on the other. . It’s one thing to have governors against you; the public is another matter.
But the underlying reason we may even think about getting rid of our masks is that the pandemic has become more manageable in the year since Biden became president. No, it didn’t cure it, and it didn’t stop it, but enough people have been vaccinated that our hospitals no longer face the prospect of turning people away – “rationing care” being the understatement – which terrified us so much for two years.
A year ago, it took perseverance and more to get a vaccine even if you were in one of the early levels. I remember the feeling of vital relief when my family was vaccinated. These appointments were like gold. Today, all it takes is a call to your local CVS and they’ll get you there the same day. Vaccines are available for all comers. Antiviral treatments are finally available. Home tests are free.
What more should Biden have done?
The meat is too expensive. The same goes for gas, especially in California, where stations literally advertise $6 for gas. There are obvious issues with the supply chain, whatever that entails. The cost of housing, especially in California, is absurd, and the prospects for young people to buy their first home are an affront to the old definition of the American dream.
Nevertheless. The right job can still be hard to find, for young and old alike, but a job right now has never been easier to find and the pay has never been better. The complaints you hear these days are more likely to come from employers trying to fill shifts than from employees trying to fill them.
But does anyone give Biden credit for a full-employment economy?
Do people say “Thank you, Joe” when they cash their paycheque?
You can be sure we would blame him for unemployment, if there was any.
And do we say “Thank you, Joe” when we take off our masks? With the anti-vax movement and all the snafus, most Americans have been fully vaccinated. Do we give credit to the administration? Imagine the hell there would be to pay if it were otherwise.
We may be doing well, but how many people feel secure for the future? There is the catch.
Former President Donald Trump – and look, I don’t envy him – was in our faces, the whole time. He was many, many things, mostly bad for democracy, but he was relevant, on an hourly and daily basis.
Biden is relevant inside the Beltway, I have no doubt. It’s just outside the peripheral where it fades. It is not in our faces. But neither is it in our future.
Oh, he’s making the necessary trip to Ohio to tout his infrastructure bill, the kind of trip Democrats take for such things. Is it really worthwhile? Are we already racing in Ohio?
Political communication has changed. A trip to Ohio won’t be enough. The Beltway view does not sell. Insignificance easily becomes disapproval. Biden needs to engage people about what matters, about their lives and their insecurities, and until he does, those insecurities will continue to escalate at his expense. After all, who else is there to blame?
To learn more about Susan Estrich and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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