From fireworks to fizzle…that about sums up the difference a year can make when you talking about the last year under President Joe Biden.
Last Fourth of July, Biden had hundreds of people on the White House grounds. They thought there was finally victory over the pandemic and they ate hamburgers and watched fireworks over the National Mall.
Biden boasted, “We’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.” All around the nation, the indoor mask requirements were being lifted and infections were declining and deaths were almost non-existent.
But the experts started saying that Biden’s boasting was premature.
And soon the delta variant started infecting people who had been vaccinated. Back came the masks and even more polarizing mask mandates. It wasn’t long before the omicron variant raised its head and became even more contagious creating havoc during the holiday season.
The number of people who died from COVID-19 doubled reaching over a million over the past year.
As it turned out, that rose-colored speech last Fourth of July was a crossroads for Biden. He spoke like the pandemic was coming to a close, the economy was booming, inflation was steady and his approval rating was solid.
But the fireworks turned to fizzle. This year’s celebration of the Fourth was quite different. The pandemic came back with a vengeance, the White House administration botched the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban took over with lightning speed, and Biden’s domestic agenda collapsed from within.
And then, Russia boldly flexed its muscles with a war in Ukraine, gas prices rose out of this world, inflation reached a 40-year high, and the Supreme Court struck down a liberal icon with Roe v. Wade.
Biden has been left holding the bag with limited resources to do anything much at all to counter the bad news.
According to the latest poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the president’s approval rating has locked in at 39%, which is the lowest since he took office.
That’s quite a difference from this time last year when he had a rating of 59%. There are only 14% of Americans believe the country is heading in the right direction.
Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian said, “He was trying to deliver good news but it didn’t pan out for him. Suddenly, Biden lost a lot of goodwill.”
Chris Meagher, a spokesperson for Biden, is trying to pick up the pieces. He said, “Fighting inflation and lowering prices is the president’s number one economic priority, and he’s laser-focused on doing everything he can to make sure the economy is working for the American people. And we’re in a strong position to transition from our historic jobs recovery to stable and steady growth. Because of the work we’ve done to bring the pandemic under control, COVID is not the disruptive factor it has been for so long.”
Plop, plop, fizz, fizz…It doesn’t seem like anyone is listening to the responses from the White House.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, was an adviser to Biden and thought the president’s bravado was premature. He is now reluctant to say what the future holds with this pandemic.
“I want answers too. But I don’t know what the variants are going to bring us. I don’t know what human immunity is going to look like,” Osterholm said.
The next major wave of bad news for Biden is likely to come in November. The few resources he has to solve problems now will be non-existent when the Democrats lose the House in the mid-terms.