Opinion: Biden racks up wins but doesn’t like it

After a number of painful defeats, including high-profile setbacks on his Build Back Better bill, the Biden presidency appears to have turned the tide. On Thursday, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced she would support the Cut Inflation Act, while ensuring the landmark climate, health care and tax proposal will pass the Senate 50- 50. Hours later, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that shows the national economy is still going strong, regaining more than half a million jobs in July. Unemployment has now fallen to just 3.5%, matching the half-century low last seen in February 2020.

And yet, there is no indication that the president’s position has improved significantly. Biden is winning battles, but he’s not getting much love. Is it only a matter of time before Biden’s polls catch up with the new wave of achievement?

It is difficult to redraw an image after it has been engraved in the public’s mind. Right-wing efforts to portray the 79-year-old as senile and unable to meet the demands of his office have been largely successful, certainly among Republicans. And many Democrats, especially younger ones, have turned away from the president, disappointed with the pace and scope of what his administration has been able to accomplish.

Now, after months of legislative gridlock, however, Biden’s agenda isn’t just moving forward, it’s moving forward at a gallop.

When it comes to foreign policy, Biden has had a great week, despite simmering tensions with China. US forces killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took control of al-Qaeda after the killing of Osama bin Landen. Biden was deeply involved in the decision to launch the precision drone attack that led to his death in Kabul, making sure to avoid civilian deaths that have marred other counterterrorism operations.
But the most historic moment came on Wednesday, when the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a resolution to ratify Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership – only Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri voted. voted against while GOP Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky voted present. . It was arguably the alliance’s biggest expansion in decades and a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. More than five months after launching his war, Putin’s efforts to control Ukraine and split NATO have failed largely because Biden has kept the alliance together, even helping Europe deal with the militarization of gas exports by Putin.
But it was on the home front that Biden once seemed to struggle the most.
After promising bipartisanship as a candidate, Biden couldn’t even get all 50 Senate Democrats to support key elements of his platform. Now, despite the alarming radicalization of the GOP and the many setbacks caused by Democratic sensei Joe Manchin and Sinema (not to mention the Supreme Court), Congress is passing several important pieces of legislation.
Last week, Congress approved the CHIPS Act by a wide margin, which will increase semiconductor production and make the United States more competitive with China.
It came shortly after Biden signed the first major gun safety law in decades. While falling short of what Biden and his party advocated, his passage in the current political environment is a remarkable achievement.
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Speaking of bipartisanship, 47 Republicans joined House Democrats in passing the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill, a preventative measure following Justice Clarence Thomas’s call to reconsider the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the federal right to same-sex marriage, not only protects same-sex marriage, but also interracial marriages and protects against d other forms of discrimination. Senate approval is still uncertain.
Then there was the real shock. The senses. Manchin and Chuck Schumer reached a deal that revived key elements of Biden’s agenda in a bill called the Cut Inflation Act of 2022.
Now that Sinema has signed on, the law is set to become the “BFD” that Biden and his supporters were hoping for. If passed, it would be the biggest climate investment in US history. The bill will also institute a minimum tax on giant corporations that get away with paying little or nothing and make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Americans.
Despite its $433 billion price tag, the bill actually reduces the deficit. A review by Moody’s Analytics concluded that it would control inflation, reduce the deficit and stimulate the economy while tackling climate change.

The bill’s two main thrusts — the economy and the environment — have the power to move the electoral needle. For all the disappointment with Biden, which may stem in part from his lackluster rhetorical prowess, Americans are also concerned about wallet issues.

And there are definitely positives on that front. Gas prices have now been falling for over 50 days. Fears that the Fed’s efforts to control inflation could drag the economy into a deep recession appear to be easing. At least many investors appear to have changed their minds — the S&P 500 is up about 13% from its mid-June low, and the Nasdaq is up about 16% over the same period. It’s a new bull market, some say.
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Adding to the good news for Democrats, Kansas voters – Kansas! — turned out in droves this week to defend abortion rights, suggesting a way to avert a much-anticipated disaster in November’s midterm elections.
Democrats are getting ahead of the public’s preference for party control over Congress. According to a recent Monmouth University poll released this week, 38% of Americans say they want Democrats in control, with a further 12% saying they are party-leaning, compared to 34% who prefer Republican control. and another 9% to the GOP. .
Biden’s numbers, on the other hand, haven’t budged much. At least not yet. According to the Monmouth poll, Biden had an approval rating of 38% – up 2% from June, but still a far cry from July 2021 – the last time he held a net positive rating (with 48% approving, versus 44% disapproving.)

But if the Manchin-Schumer compromise passes, as seems likely, Biden’s standing with Democrats — especially younger voters — could be strengthened. And if gas prices continue to fall, inflation begins to decline, and the stock market doesn’t crash again, most of the country — many of whom aren’t obsessed with politics — could start to feel more optimistic, helping Biden’s endorsement gain traction. .

As long as he is president, Biden will face the headwinds of shameless right-wing agent distortion, and he will suffer from not being the most charismatic and eloquent president at a time when the country’s very democracy is under threat.

At this point in his presidency, however, he can rejoice in a winning streak and hope he has turned the tide.

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